“The status quo is not good enough. We have to get better.”
So says GM Doug Armstrong.
And he is doing what he can to make the Blues better.
We’ve talked about Brewer leaving, which was better than having to go through negotiations with him at the end of this year. We’ve talked about EJ and JMac, and about the huge benefit that CGDS and Shatty have brought to the team. We very briefly last night touched on the sending of Brad Boyes to Buffalo. Today we learned that Ty Conklin cleared waivers, and then the news broke about Brad Winchester leaving for Anaheim.
Those are some big names. And some of those big names have caused some big uproars.
The general feeling I get is that the Brewer and Boyes trades, well, they’re no big deal. In fact, they’re almost celebrated, given the money Brewer might be asking for and the money Boyes is making and not earning.The EJ/Silent Jay trade had a hugely negative effect, until we saw what CGDS could do. And then Winchester.
I’m not going to lie, I was kind of surprised at the outbursts today. Half the time, I kind of forget that he’s in the lineup. Is that bad? I mean, he’s physically a BIG GUY, tallest on the team before Bish came up. But his numbers? Far from spectacular. And he can be quiet on the ice, excepting his occasional outbursts that have had him spend 86 minutes in the box this year. He tended to hang out on that third line with Frank and whoever else is around that day (some days Boyes, some days D’Ags). But then again, let’s remember that our third line can sometimes be, well, mediocre at best, which I know sounds harsh, but what else would you call them?
Here’s how I see it. The only trades that had anything to do with money were Brewer’s and Boyes’. The Blues aren’t anywhere close to the cap (actually, they’re now not too far above the cap floor), but there were contracts that were either already not worth the money in terms of production, or not worth what they would turn into.
Winchester was not a salary dump. EJ and JMac weren’t either.
This seems to be a GM focused on the future. He has so many draft picks over the next couple years, and though draft picks are great as is for building a farm system, they’re also good in trade value, which could potentially bring in someone that could undeniably boost the lineup. The payroll left is going to be available to tie up a few of the UFAs and RFAs that are coming up at the end of the season, names that, if word came that they were traded, would turn certain Blues fans against the team. There is the capability now to build a team around a strong, young, capable core of players who, as they grow and develop with each other, could become major contenders.
And as much as some may disagree with me, I do think Armstrong has started looking past this season. No, it’s not over, and there is still a chance, however slight, that the guys being called up from Peoria could step up in a very big way, or that someone already here could step up, and get us into the playoffs. But honestly, Armstrong has done all that he probably could for this lineup. And no, I don’t think he expects this team to be playoff contenders. Now the young AHLers have the opportunity to come up and show management what they’re capable of, what could be in store for them next season. Again, focusing on the future.
All this, however, does not mean that I will stop cheering my heart out for this team, however different the lineup may look to that of two weeks ago. It does not mean that I will stop believing in that ever present glimmer of hope. It does not mean that even if it comes to a point that the Blues are mathematically incapable of obtaining a playoff spot that I will stop supporting, stop cheering for this team from the very tips of my toes.
It’s going to be ok, Blues fans. We are going to be ok.