I have argued for some time that I think the Blues need a player that has enough respect among his peers that he can hold them accountable for poor play. It needs to be a player with natural leadership ability, a winning history, individual success, and the desire to make those around him better. If it’s a young player, all the better.
That brings us to a story that many Blues fans have seen over the last few days. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun suggests that the Blues are interested in Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes. He goes on to mention David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo and Ian Cole as possibilities to go to Carolina in a deal.
Staal was regarded as a great leader
even coming out of juniors as a 17 year old, and is regarded as the heir apparent as Canes’ captain once Rod Brind’Amour retires. He was a key performer in Carolina’s 2006 Stanley Cup run. He’s been a 100 point scorer in the NHL, and as Garrioch mentions, carried the ‘Canes to last year’s playoffs. He turned 25 in October. He fits the bill of what I think the Blues need.
But, do they give up so much potential for him? Everybody that watches the Blues thinks Perron
is a 50 goal scorer in waiting, that he’s going to be a superstar. Pietrangelo was the fourth pick in the draft,
and has the chance to be a terrific offensive defenseman. And Cole is regarded as the rugged, defensive defenseman that every Stanley Cup Champion needs.
Notice those words again. Potential. Has the chance. Regarded as. At no point can any of us say “is a 50 goal scorer,” “is a terrific offensive defenseman,” or “is a rugged, defensive defenseman.”
Staal, on the other hand, IS a terrific player that has a Stanley Cup ring at the age of 25, and most importantly can hold young Blues like Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie, Erik Johnson, Lars Eller and David Backes accountable.
Sure, I would be worried about dealing that much young talent for Staal. But with the way the Blues draft and develop, and with their need to keep the young players they have on the straight and narrow, if I were Blues President John Davidson I’d do the deal. Worry about those consequences later, but do everything you can to make sure this group of players has everything it needs to mature into quality products. Like Eric Staal.