If you’ve been following any Blues fans on social media or if you’ve stopped by any Blues message boards, you’ve probably been bombarded with one name – Jason Spezza. The forward has been linked to the Blues in a variety of sources and it’s reported that his list of teams includes St. Louis. Spezza seems like a perfect fit for the Blues, but it’s unclear what the price would be to land him. That hasn’t stopped Blues fans from rallying around the 31-year-old center, insisting that he’s the piece the Blues need to take that next step.
There’s just one problem. Ryan Miller.
Now, Miller has absolutely nothing to do with Spezza. However, the infatuation over Spezza has reached near-Miller levels. Fans are begging the Blues to make a move for Spezza in a similar way to how they were begging for a Miller trade last season. Doug Armstrong obliged, made the move and the rest (unfortunately) is a painful memory.
Before rolling into this conversation, there is one major difference worth noting. The Miller trade addressed a need that I, and many others, felt didn’t need to be addressed. The goaltending was fine as is and that isn’t just hindsight talking. Armstrong made an expensive trade for, as he himself admits, only a five or six percent upgrade. A Spezza trade would address an issue that hasn’t been dealt with for several years. The Blues need to make a move in the middle of the ice and need more help offensively.
Though the Blues need to bring in help up front, the Miller trade should be a cautionary tale for fans. The infatuation over one player who is rumored to be available and potentially interested in the Blues is a recipe for disaster. One player, even a Jason Spezza, isn’t all the Blues need in order to raise the Cup. The notion that Spezza is the savior and the actual final piece of the puzzle is as silly as believing that Miller is solely to blame for the early playoff exit.
Spezza would help the Blues, but you have to hope that Armstrong isn’t as infatuated as Blues fans. The team paid a big price for Miller and isn’t in the best position to overspend again. There are also other needs that a lot of fans have glossed over. Spezza only answers one question.
The Blues need some size on defense. As a good friend of the blog Geoff Upchurch pointed out, the Blues have plenty of puck-moving defensemen. They don’t have any people-moving defensemen. Against the best in the West, the Blues’ men on D used their stick to try and poke and swipe at the puck. While this method works well in most situations, it isn’t enough to knock the puck away from some of the best in the league. The Blues would have benefited with some extra size and muscle.
It’s been rumored that either Jordan Leopold or Ian Cole may be moved in favor of some additional size at the back.
There’s also the matter of depth. The Blues need at least one top-6 guy, but they’d be better off with two. At the very least, they need another talented forward who can play top-6 or top-9 minutes to go along with a guy like Spezza, assuming Patrik Berglund is on his way out.
Long story short, Blues fans can’t get wrapped up in one player and proclaim him a hero before he arrives. That lesson should have been learned with Miller. If the Blues land Spezza at a fair price, outstanding. However, they need to avoid overspending and address other issues too. One addition isn’t going to bring a Cup to St. Louis.