The St. Louis Penguins
I think this just about clinches it: The St. Louis Blues are this year's Pittsburgh Penguins.
You know, the team with ownership problems that finished near the bottom of the standings only to load up in free-agency in the hopes of one more fill-the-seats sort of run.
The problem being, in both the Penguins of '06 and Blues of '07 cases, is that this approach doesn't work. I'd said the same last September, when everyone was crowing about Pittsburgh's soon-to-be revival:
I'm just as interested as anyone to follow the Penguins this season, as Patrick has assembled an intriguing array of talent. I can't help but think, however, that his 'team building' strategy strangely resembles that of Glen Sather and the New York Rangers, circa the last 10 years.Stangely, this off-season the Penguins have been completely silent (aside from adding fringe defenceman Mark Eaton earlier today) while it has been the Blues making a splash with the signings of Jay McKee, Doug Weight, Dan Hinote and, now, Bill Guerin.
Even if Guerin opted for only a modest salary — let's say $3-million per season — that still leaves the Blues dumping $10.5-million on the three big-ticket veterans. How much of an improvement that'll mean, however, is certainly up for debate. Unrestricted free agency is much more a solid way to complement an existing roster than a method to employ when building from scratch — a phrase that aptly describes the task for the last-place Blues.
Let's just say I'm skeptical.