Critics, fans, and writers all across Blues nation have been ranting and raving about the great job that Doug Armstrong did in acquiring Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk from the Colorado Avalanche on February 19 in exchange for Jay McClement, Eric Johnson, and a conditional first round pick. For the time being, this trade looks great for St. Louis. They receive a good 22-year-old puck moving defenseman and a young power forward that shows all indications of becoming the 30 goal scorer that the Blues have not had in years.
Looking at the pick that swapped hands in this trade, if the Blues pick in the top ten at this year’s draft (they sit at 22nd in the NHL at the moment), they keep their first round pick and Colorado gets the 2012 first rounder. Alex Steen just went down for the season last night with a high ankle sprain, so it’s safe to assume that the Blues will keep their first round pick for this summer and are picking somewhere in the top 10. By all indications, the Blues will have a new owner this summer, they will sign a free agent scorer (or two), and/or will trade for the scoring help. Barring another freakish series of injuries, the Blues will be one of the most improved teams heading into the 11-12 season.
“Silent” Jay McClement has barely been mentioned in all of the trade talk the past few weeks. He’ll be remembered as the forgotten player in this blockbuster trade. I sat next to one of his best friends at a Leafs/Ranger game in NYC a few months ago and he swore (just as many teammates have) that Jay is one of the best guys in the hockey world. This goes a long way for a crew of guys that are together about 150 days of the year, especially in the locker room with a young team like the Avalanche. Never mind the fact that he is one of the best penalty killing, defensive, face off specialists when he’s at the top of his game. The Avalanche may have come away with a Selke winner in this trade.
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Written by Patrick McLellan