Let me sum up what could easily be the most boring deadline day ever: Rick Nash is still a Blue Jacket, Nashville paid too much for Gaustad, and sports writers across country (especially Canada) just wasted 12 hours of their lives.
The Blues lone deal from Saturday, Ben Bishop to the Senators for a 2nd Round Draft Pick, is fine. Bishop needs to get more NHL experience, and the goaltending situation in Ottawa lends well to that. But what’s important to the fans, the team and the organization is where we’ll be come April 10.
Currently, the Blues sit in the 4th spot of the West; just two points shy of division leader Detroit and four points ahead of 5th place Nashville. With 20 games left, including three bouts with Chicago and one with Detroit, the Blues have their work cut out for them. Key injuries to Alex Steen (concussion), Matt D’Agostini (concussion) and Jamie Langenbrunner (foot), as well as the recent loss of Kris Russell (concussion) continue to haunt the team. But are we OK with the healthy guys? Let’s break it down line by line.
Backes – Oshie – Perron
This trio can do some damage. Between the grit and grind of David Backes (18 G, 25 A) and the skilled paws of David Perron (12 G, 17 A), this isn’t the line goaltenders want to see. Plus, TJ Oshie (15 G, 26 A) has been in the zone this season, following a disappointing (and embarrassing) 2010-2011.
Sobotka – Berglund – McDonald
I’m going to call this the honey badger line. Unfairly maybe, because I have a minor obsession with Vladdy Sobotka (4 G, 14 A) and his agression, but Andy McDonald (3 G, 4 A) is not someone you can catch up to quickly. The biggest concern on this line lies with Patrik Berglund (13 G, 15 A). Not that his numbers are extremely disappointing, but for a guy of his size and skill, I expect more.
Porter – Arnott – Stewart
Another surprise for me this season has been Chris Porter (4 G, 3 A). This kid goes hard game after game, and has definitely earned his spot on the NHL Roster. Veteran Jason Arnott (13 G, 14 A) has been a strong force on and off the ice, while Chris Stewart (13 G, 11 A) still seems to be finding his place in the Blue Note uniform. Get this line to produce consistently and you’ll see a much higher goal differential.
Crombeen – Nichol – Reaves
Everyone has a tough line, but not everyone has a tough line who can move the puck. BJ Crombeen, Scott Nichol and Ryan Reaves have a combined 5 goals, 6 assists, and 180 penalty minutes. Not too shabby for a fourth line with an average TOI of nearly 8 minutes.
Onto the Defense…
Colaiacovo – Pietrangelo
Yes, Carlo Colaiacovo (2 G, 13 A) breaks easier than cheap glass, but Alex Pietrangelo (10 G, 24 A) is such a fabulous forward-minded defenseman that this pair is key.
Jackman – Shattenkirk
Barrett Jackman (1 G, 9 A) has taken Eric Brewer’s place as the season troll. How many times has he been the lone cause of a goal? Too many to count. But Kevin Shattenkirk (7 G, 20 A) is much stronger than his traded counterpart. (Sorry EJ fans.)
Cole – Polak
With Russell hurt, Ian Cole (1 G, 4 A) has stepped in at the point. I like the kid, but he clearly has some growing to do. Roman Polak (0 G, 11 A) however, is a BEAST. No wonder that guy wins the strength contest each year.
The goaltending story is one of honor and respect – the Jaroslav Halak – Brian Elliot team have come together for 12 shut outs and a goals against of .930. This is KEY – especially if the 4 – 5 matchup of St. Louis and Nashville occurs, considering the low-scoring of the past 6 match ups.
No, the Blues did not make moves at the deadline, but if the current, healthy team continues down their current path, the city of St. Louis may have more to watch then Baseball come mid-April and early May.