Should the Blues Keep Paul Kariya?

Should the Blues Keep
Paul Kariya?

St. Louis Blues v New Jersey Devils

Paul Kariya’s bloated $6,000,000 contract is set to come off the books and the Blues will soon have to decide whether they should offer the winger a new contract, or let him head off for a new team. Kariya’s play this season mixed with lofty expectations and his large contract have left many fans with a bitter taste in their mouth, making the argument he should be given a new contract a tough one.

First, let’s look at what Kariya has done this season for the Blues:

18 goals, 23 assists for 41 points in 71 games played. 12 power-play points, (-6) and 210 shots fired.

This isn’t a terrible line, but clearly falls below what a skater making the amount Kariya is should be producing. That being said, Kariya is tied for fifth on the team in points and ranks ahead of other notable names like Brad Boyes and fellow veteran Keith Tkachuk. Kariya still has bursts of speed and can still fly around the ice, but does have spans of time during games where he seems to fade in and out of the play.

Kariya’s 210 shots leads the team with just a few games left in the 2009-10 season. The team as a whole has struggled to generate any scoring, so one could say that at least Kariya is getting the puck at the net and attempting to get something going. However, it seems like a majority of his shots wind up in the chest of the opponent’s goaltender and would be classified as having very low success rates of finding twine.

Still, Kariya does provide veteran leadership on a very young team, which is an intangible which can not be calculated in the box score. Should Keith Tkachuk move on following this season and choose to not retain Kariya, the veteran leadership would mostly all but exit from this squad.

I think the Blues should propose a new offer to Kariya, but obviously one that is significantly smaller than his current contract. His line of 41 points isn’t awful considering the leading scorer on this team (Andy McDonald) has 50. If the Blues can get Kariya for another season for between two or three million, I’d be happy to have the production he has given this season along with the intangibles.

There’s also the possibility that Kariya has just had an off season and could see his point-per-game ratios slightly improve and more closely resemble some of his work in recent years. Obviously, he is in the final stages of his career, but I wouldn’t mind keeping the former Mighty Duck man, assuming the price is right.

Off Topic

Being a citizen of St. Louis, it is my duty to celebrate baseball’s Opening Day and welcome the St. Louis Cardinals back. I may be a big puck guy, but I do love me some hard ball.

This post marks FrozenNotes 150th entry. Thanks to everyone that has stopped in and left some feedback. The one year mark of this blog is approaching in a hurry and I am still trying to figure out some sort of Blues themed contest to run in celebration.