“The enigma that is the Blues season rolls on as the Note dropped another close game, losing Monday night to the Avalanche, 4-3.
I can’t help but think that this game is indicative of the Blues season thus far. Jaroslav Halak let in a soft goal to Brandon Yipp, and the Blues bail him out with a goal from the 18-game quiet Jay McClemment. The goal was setup by none other than Brad Boyes, who made a nifty pass to Jay Mac. Then, wonder of wonders, the Blues tallied another goal, taking the lead 2-1 on a goal by the captain, Eric Brewer on another nifty pass from number 22. The Blues went up 2-1, and I cannot help but wonder if they thought they were up 5-1, because they sat back, and the Avalanche pounced, scoring three unanswered goals.
Some of the blame can be laid at the skates of Halak, however, his defense left him out to dry on two of those goals. You cannot win in today’s NHL if your defense is going to disappear for long stretches of the game. Down 4-2, the Blues tried to find another gear, and pulled Halak with two minutes to go. On yet another fancy pass from Mr. Boyes, Patrick Berglund (who now has a long point streak going…. Finally.), was able to direct the puck on net, and David Backes pounced on the rebound. It was the 16th goal for the first time all-star.
But it wasn’t enough, as the Avalanche squeaked out a 4-3 win of the Blues.
It’s frustrating for the fans of this team to sit back and watch night after night, knowing full well that this team needs help, and not seeing much from the front office. General Manager Doug Armstrong and Team President John Davidson have to be feeling some panic now. There is no telling when, if at all, Andy McDonald and David Perron will be back this year. They cannot sit by and hope those two return to try and salvage some offensive flair for this team.
There is no doubt now that the Blues are going to have to look for help outside the organization. Put aside pipe dreams (no, the Blues won’t be able to get Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos), or once realistic dreams (Brad Richards, Zach Parise). The Blues must be realistic here. There are players that can help this team get better offensively. The Blues have the young talent necessary to pull of a trade for a higher priced veteran with some skill.
There are a few names that I think are viable targets for the Blues. Players with strong offensive skills that would not break the bank. The first is Mikhail Grabovski. Grabovski currently has 20 goals for a listless Toronto Maple Leafs team, and is on pace for 35 goals. That is the type of punch the Blues could use. Another Maple Leaf that has raised speculation is Phil Kessel. There is no doubt this guy has game breaking skill. He is fast, has a quick release, and incredibly soft hands. He also has been known to disappear on a fairly regular basis, and some have questioned his heart.
I originally had Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres at the top of my list, but with Derek Roy out for the season, the Sabres are even more offensively challenged than the woeful Blues. That brings us to the guy I think should be at the top of the list for the Blues. Martin Havlat. That’s right, that Martin Havlat of the Minnesota Wild. He is currently on pace for better than 70 points. He is insanely skilled, and can finish a play. If you are the rebuilding Wild, can you really hang up on Doug Armstrong if he rings you up and offers you, say a first rounder and two top level prospects for Mr. Havlat, and say, a third round pick? The Blues could package their pick in either this year or next year’s draft, as well as one of their upper end defensive prospects (Jonas Junland comes to mind) and a forward (Jaden Schwartz? Phillip McCrae?) for one of the more talented players in the league. For the cost-conscious Wild, this would have to be an enticing offer. Three pieces to help rebuild the core of your team around Miko Koivu and Niklas Bacstrom? I would have to at least listen.
The Blues cannot let games like tonight’s continually slip through their fingers. If they aren’t careful, they will finds themselves sellers instead of buyers come the trade deadline. Then, some familiar faces will vanish from the halls of ScotTrade Center. The time is now for the front office to prove they want to win. Actions speak louder than words. Blues fans are hoping the front office cranks their actions to 11. “