Monday, July 03, 2006

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.


At 12:12 a.m., July 04, 2006, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I have to think the weak spot of the Blues will be in net. Unless they make a move for Nabokov or Giguere (who I have to think is on the move with Pronger's salary on those books), they'll start with, who, Curtis Sandford? Yikes.

He'll make Thibault in Pittsburgh look like Ken Dryden in the 70's.

At 9:21 a.m., July 04, 2006, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

*sigh*, I really wish people would look a little deeper before barking about Sanford. Compare his stats the the rest of the league and adjust for the fact that he played behind a crappy team and you realize he did pretty damn good. I'm a lot more worried about the fact that Pleau is still the GM and wasting money just to lose a few less games.

At 12:27 p.m., July 04, 2006, Blogger Jeff J said...

Is this an effort to actually get better, or are they signing these guys just to get up the the minimum payroll of ~$28M?

At 1:29 p.m., July 04, 2006, Anonymous Chris DeGroat said...

James... I understand the comparison, but I don't think what the two organizations are doing is all that similar.

The Blues don't have any grand illusions of winning the Cup in 2007. They're just in a situation where their forward prospects are still a year plus away and they only had 2 top 6 forwards on their entire roster. Plus they had to spend $14M just to get to the floor.

It's also important to point out that the only long term deal they gave out was to a 28-year-old.

Jes... thanks for covering the goaltending. I've just about had it when it comes to defending Sanford. Anyone who describes him as "Yikes" didn't see him play much last season.

At 1:43 p.m., July 04, 2006, Blogger Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

I'm skeptical. not so much as The Blues spending money, but the ppl they spend their money on.

Am I supposed to be happy when I read that Tkachuk thinks it's great because Guerin is a buddy of his and Weight?

From what I've gathered Tkachuk & Weight aren't the best of leaders in the lockerroom. Am I wrong?

Adding Guerin could create some sort of cliq..maybe. I'm just speculating on that but I would not want to get my leadership from those three.

Also, Thanks for the great liveblog from The Draft. That was great reading. I tried the live-blogging thing on July 1st and I was exhausted.


At 2:46 p.m., July 04, 2006, Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Yep, trying to get to the salary floor I believe. All of these guys are long past due except McKee.

They'll be in the lottery again.

Young guys to replace these old guys.

At 3:52 p.m., July 06, 2006, Blogger Shiro said...

Interesting comparison. When Pittsburgh was signing Palffy, Recchi, and the rest of the free agents, they were signing to be contenders. The players the Blues signed other than McKee are signed for a year or two, so the Blues talent in Peoria can develop.

The Blues very well might be in the lottery, but they won't be last place. They'll be an 8th seed playoff team at best, or a 10th pick in the lottery at worst.

And this is Sanford's year to prove himself. He has shown he has the tools, as he was .500 with the atrocious team last year. The Blues were going after Gerber, but he turned down the offer to play for less money in Ottawa. The Blues could very well get Giguere though.

Nice entry though. :)


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