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TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Blues’ Biggest Need Before Trade Deadline

As the NHL off season approaches and Blues fans watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sitting and wondering why this team isn’t there, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves…what is the top need for the 2015 St. Louis Blues roster? The goal-tending tandem is already set and the team has one of the top defensive cores in the league. But what about offense? It’s obvious that the team will be looking for offense but do they look at an elite goal-scorer or a powerful play-maker?

Play-Maker
Goal-Scorer
Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Goals
Sure the play-maker doesn't always score goals in the game, but this type of player does have the opportunity to produce more goals on a consistent basis. The Blues do not have a legitimate play-maker on their roster. The top 6 forwards on the roster had 438 assists which is fairly good compared to other teams in 2014. But they did not carry over into the playoffs. Sure they played one of the best defensive teams in the league in the Blackhawks. If the team signs a play-maker to play with their top forwards, then the 2015 season may be seeing more goals and definitely more offense.
Winner It's pretty obvious that a goal-scorer does one thing on the ice, score. Something the Blues haven't had since Brett Hull. The team is looking for someone who can put the puck in the back of the net when it is needed. When watching this last playoff series against the Blackhawks, the Blues couldn't find that big goal when they needed it. When you look at teams such as the Kings with players like Gaborik and Carter - they score the goals when they are needed. Something the Blues need this off season?
Points
Winner The next factor that could be very beneficial for the Blues if they sign a play-maker in the off season is points. Goals are obviously important but they don't come without assists on the ice. Both equal out to points scored throughout the season. There are plenty of point producers on the team but they are very equal throughout the roster. They need to have a few players who stand out from the rest and produce points per game. The playoffs is where the drought came for the Blues. Signing a play-maker can give the Blues a point per game player and, hopefully, success in the playoffs.
When you sign a goal-scorer, you aren't producing as many points in a season as you would with assists and goals by a play-maker. Although you want to produce as many points as possible, but who wouldn't substitute that for a 45 goal-scorer next year. The points would be a helpful regular season addition to the team and the points for a 45 goal season would be great.
Leadership
Winner The team already has their named leaders in alternate captains and captain David Backes. But they need a player who can lead by example on the ice and in games. If the team can sign a play-maker who is producing points and offense on a nightly basis, then you have the ability to produce more point per game players on the ice. You have the chance to have players who follow the lead of the play-maker on the ice and convert them into more goals.
This area is just as important as it was for a play-maker. You have a very young core on this roster that have shown signs of being elite players in the NHL. Guys like Tarasenko, Schwartz, and even Oshie have shown that they can score plenty of goals in the regular season and lead this club to where they want to go. But if the team adds an elite goal-scorer, it could prove to be even more beneficial to the roster. When you have threats on two separate lines it spreads out the other team's defense and allows more of an opportunity for players to score goals. Plus, it also allows a follow the lead kind of fold on the ice.
Salary
Winner Now the big factor, money. When it comes to an elite player that can help a team, it's going to cost money no matter what the player type. When it comes to a play-maker though, this type of player may cost the most to sign in the off season. This type of player is more likely to be double-tooled as a play-maker and as a goal scorer. When looking at the off season, you're looking at players like Paul Stastny. He won't come cheap on the market but he has the ability to help a team go the distance in the playoffs.
Here's the kicker, a goal-scorer isn't going to come easy. We've seen the team add 15-20 goal scorers for the right price. If you're looking for a goal-scorer who can put up 35-40 goals in a season than you'd better take a look at your cap space first. The Blues have cleared up plenty of space but is it enough to sign a $5-6 million player a year. The free agent market has players like Iginla, Vanek, and Gaborik on this year's market. They can most definitely help this team next season but do Armstrong and Stillman have the money?

The Winner Is

Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Winner Play-Maker
3 out of 4

The play-maker takes this match-up. Sure everyone would love to see a goal-scorer comes to Blues and put 50 up the first year he is here. The truth is, they may have that already in a few of their younger players. What they don't have is a player who has the puck attached to his stick and can make the plays when he needs to. The Blues are a very defensive-minded club on the ice but to win in the NHL you have to have two things: a good goalie and a tough offense. If you add a play-maker onto this roster and into the top 6 with players such as Oshie, Tarasenko, Steen, and Backes, then you may be looking at major factor in the team getting that much closer to Lord Stanley's Cup.

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