Let me begin by quoting a great American, Gordon Gekko. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”. At some point, the Blues must adhere to these words of wisdom and take the advice of this Wall Street felon. Note to Blues ownership, get greedy and obsess about winning a Stanley Cup.
But first, let’s dive into some of the real issues the Bluenote are experiencing. Anybody with half a hockey brain is fully aware of the injuries which have plagued the team so far this season. They have been without three of their top forwards for much of the campaign. So until they see the shining faces of T.J Oshie (broken ankle, expected back near the All-Star break), David Perron (concussion, no timetable set for his return) and Andy McDonald (see David Perron), this squad will continue to struggle lighting the lamp. The power play is a bigger joke than the United States Government. Try to digest some of these numbers. The team ranks 26th in the league at a 14.9% success rate. Only Edmonton, New Jersey, Columbus and Florida are weaker. To put into better perspective, Vancouver leads the league at 25%. For those of you who did not finish grade school, that’s 10% better than the Blues. Here’s some more disturbing facts. The Blues have earned the fifth most power play opportunities at home. Great news right? Try again. It’s only good if you can take advantage of the reward. They have converted only 14 goals in those 91 attempts. On the road, the numbers are much worse. The Blues own the second fewest power play opportunities away from the Scottrade Center. They have scored just eight goals with the man advantage in 57 attempts. They are clearly not nearly aggressive enough on the road since they have been awarded 34 fewer power play attempts.
So what can be done about this element with the current players they have in place? What is the strategy coach? If I’m Davis Payne (and I’m glad I’m not because he is bald with glasses and that’s not a look I want for myself), I go with four forwards and see if that makes a difference. There’s no doubt the Blues do have some defensemen who can fire the puck from the blueline. But it’s obviously not working right now. First unit power play can be David Backes, Brad Winchester and Brad Boyes up front. Let’s have Alex Steen and Erik Johnson on the blueline. Then the second unit can showcase Patrik Berglund, Matt D’Agostini and Vladimir Sobotka. You can then go back to two defenseman manning the points, Alex Pietrangelo and Carlo Colaiacovo. This of course will change when Oshie returns, but it will at least give the Blues another option at improving an area to their game that is costing them valuable points in the standings. Right now, the power play is predictable and failing miserably. This needs to change immediately.
Now let’s get back to Mr. Gekko and his philosophy on money. There are a number of unrestricted free agents for the Blues to zero in on after this season. Some potential names are Brad Richards, Joe Thornton, Alexander Semin and Patrice Bergeron. Others include Brooks Laich, Ville Leino and Milan Hejduk. We are just discussing forwards here. The Blues have no need to target more defensemen at this time. The above names, particularly the first four, are all highly skilled players who can make a major impact on the Blues offense. So suits, go ahead and get greedy. Real greedy. Improve this team by prying open that stubborn wallet and making an intelligent decision. Gordon Gekko will be proud of you.
About the Author
Written by Dave Frederick
Dave has spent more than 20 years covering the NHL for a variety of different media outlets. Most notably ESPN, Fox Sports and the National Hockey League.