The St. Louis Blues have several areas to address this summer. The first ones which come to mind are goaltending, the power play and finding some offense help. One area which usually doesn’t come to mind is the team’s defense. Due to the talent the Blues have back on D, the club’s defense usually gets a free pass. Should it?
In a recent chat with Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch, one individual asked about the Blues’ defense. Specifically, they asked if a top-4 defenseman would be traded after a mostly average showing in the playoffs.
Here’s Rutherford’s answer:
I want to say “No.” But I wouldn’t rule out a defenseman under contract next year being moved. I’m not trying to set off alarms about the top guys, and this isn’t based on any specific conversations. I just feel that the Blues would like to change up the ingredients a bit in their top six.
That’s a pretty safe answer from JR. Earlier he offers his opinion on Kevin Shattenkirk, stating he thinks that while the team could deal him, he doubts that they will. However, that doesn’t rule out a change or a roster move within the group of six.
Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Roman Polak, Barret Jackman, Jordan Leopold, Ian Cole and Shattenkirk are all under contract in 2014-15. Carlo Colaiacovo is the lone defender from 2013-14 without a deal and it’s highly unlikely he’ll be back.
That’s a pretty solid group, but one could make the argument that the group as a whole relies more on using their stick and poking the puck away as opposed to using brute force to separate the opponent from the puck. That’s not necessarily bad, but the Blues could improve their size and strength defensively. Several members of the current group have the same skill set. Some variation and some more physicality might be of benefit.
Rutherford feels a change may be coming. Should it?