First off, can we talk about how strange it is for a trade to be announced moments after a team’s 6th consecutive victory in early November. Weird. Conspiracy theorists may see the trade and assume that the injury to Alexander Steen in last night’s game is more serious. I don’t buy that. I think Doug Armstrong pulled off a trade that helps out both the Blues and Robby Fabbri, here’s why.
The Blues need more competition in their line-up. With or without Alexander Steen this trade presents an internal competition between two power forwards that can flourish under Craig Berube. Zach Sanford who is already getting his shot in the top-6 and Jacob De La Rose who was acquired from the Red Wings, who checks in at 6”1 and around 200 lbs. Remind you of a St. Louisan who made an impact last season?
Robby Fabbri was going to have a difficult time trying to crack the line-up for the Blues due to the success of Sammy Blais and Mackenzie MacEachern. All three play a similar style of hockey and Sammy Blais is flourishing on whatever line he plays with and MacEachern has earned a shut-down title on the 4th line for Craig Berube. So where does Fabbri fit in all this?
The trade makes sense for Robby to continue his career in the NHL. Fabbri is a guy that everyone in St. Louis was rooting for, including myself, due to him storming onto the scene in 2015 and making an impact immediately. Two ACL injuries later and he just never could instill that same presence into the line-up for, then, Mike Yeo or Craig Berube. Detroit is a team that is searching for a new identity and going through a rebuild with Steve Yzerman at the helm. Fabbri provides experience, speed and a scoring touch to the top-9 that Detroit may be searching for. And he will always be apart of Cup Championship team in St. Louis.
In the case of De La Rose, don’t view him as a player who’s career high is 12 points in a season. That’s not what the Blues are acquiring. They’re acquiring a player who is a power forward, a grinder and a player that could flourish under Craig Berube. The Blues success comes from the team working as a system, not trying to find elite snipers on every line. Inserting a De La Rose to a third line with Bozak and Blais could provide a different look to offense
If you don’t believe that a player can evolve under a new system, look no further than Oskar Sundqvist’s numbers before St. Louis. Oskar scored 1 goal in 28 games while with the Penguins, he joins the Blues and evolves into a dependable player in big situations and posts 14 goals in a season. Or maybe a Brayden Schenn who never seemed to live up the standards of a 5th overall pick, until he joined the Blues and worked in the system under Berube. Now he sits 5 goals behind the league leader, David Pastrnak.
Finally you have the call-ups. I know everyone is dying to see Klim Kostin in the Blue Note. It’s been said numerous times by Doug Armstrong, the team wants to let him continue his growth in the AHL. He’s not blowing the roof off every arena he plays in yet and he still is 20 years old with plenty to learn. Will he get his shot this season? I believe so but the acquisition of Jacob De La Rose is not blocking that, it’s only helping grow the depth of a Stanley Cup Championship team.
All I’m saying is, let’s have a little faith in Doug Armstrong.