ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s been a really long time since the St. Louis Blues rocked the hockey world with a trade deadline deal. But last week the new hierarchy flashed back to the good old days when they first traded their Captain Eric Brewer to Tampa and then hours later sent Jay McClement and the 1st overall pick in the 2006 draft, Erik Johnson, to Colorado.
Deals like this nearing the NHL regular season trade deadline was an annual event for the Blues organization, especially when the Ole Professor Ron Caron was in charge. You remember those classic lines from Mr. Caron; ‘The meat is on the burner’ and ‘You have to give to get’.
Well, to use the Professors last quote, ‘You have to give to get’, is appropriate when you look at the deal Doug Armstrong made sending Erik Johnson and Jay McClement to Colorado for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. Let’s face it, while Johnson may have been disappointing for the better part of this season, he has so much talent and I think hockey fans saw how good he can be when he came back to the Blues following his experience in last years Olympics. EJ was the best player on the team from that point until the end of the season. There’s no doubt the play of Alex Pietrangelo helped Armstrong pull off this deal. In dealing Johnson, the team added a guy like Chris Stewart who will help fill a void this team has from an offensive prospective at the forward position. Shattenkirk will be a great addition to the power play. One of Johnson’s biggest problems while playing the point was not getting his shot through to the net, Shattenkirk doesn’t seem to have that problem. And Stewart will also add some much needed toughness to the front line.
Trading the teams Captain, Eric Brewer, also sent shockwaves through Blues nation. Brewer was a lightning rod to many fans out there that never seemed to be satisfied with the veteran defenseman. But Brewer was respected in the locker room by his teammates despite what some fans would want you to believe. And Eric was playing his best hockey as a Blue because he was playing the right amount of minutes and more importantly he was healthy. But unfortunately for some shortsighted fans he was never going to get any respect because he was dealt for former Captain Chris Pronger, even though that was out of his hands as well as General Manager Larry Pleau’s.
And I think it’s better to deal a guy like Brewer and get something for him if he doesn’t figure into your long range plans. Plus, his trade value in his walk year might have been at its peak right now. You know the old saying, buy low and sell high.
Overall, these deals had to be made. It stinks to see good guys leave, but the business side of things will tell you these deals made all the sense in the world. Now the team will have a new leader in the locker room, the power play should be better and the forward position just got better from a toughness and production standpoint.
Now if we could get a little more meat on the burner for another scoring forward things will be looking good at the Scottrade Center for a serious run next season.
Scott Warmann is a host on the KMOX Sports Hub