If you follow the St. Louis Blues closely, you'll have noticed that seemingly once or twice a week a news story "breaks" that states the Blues could be after Carolina Hurricanes' skater Eric Staal. That's right hockey fans, the hot stove isn't just on but is starting to boil. The season is to the point where struggling teams such as the Blues either make a big splash or stand pat and let the season play it's course. Today we look into Eric Staal, a name that has surfaced and resurfaced many times already this season as a potential new Blue. Do these reports hold any water? Would a move like this be a shot in the arm, or a giant mistake?First and foremost let's make certain that this is all about speculation. As it sits right now, no deal has been made and Eric Staal still skates for Carolina. So what spurs on this conversation for today? Make of it what you will, but Ray Slover of the Sporting News wrote this article on Eric Staal yesterday and mentioned the Blues specifically as the landing pad for Staal.Take that Sporting News article with several handfuls of salt. It might not contain any hardcore facts but it does raise the question as to what might (and could) happen in the next few weeks. The Blues sit in 14th place in the West following 30 games while Carolina is no better ranking in at 15th (dead last) after 32 contests. Would two teams in the basement of the league really pull off a major move?Staal would not come cheap by any means. Staal has been the heart and soul over in Carolina, but perhaps they feel they need to start building for future years now and that could come through trading away Staal for a wealth of young talent, something that the Blues do have a load of. The Sporting News article suggests the Blues could package Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron and Ian Cole to land Staal. For my money, that is paying much too high of a price even for a player as gifted as Staal. Perron has been the team's big offensive weapon this season while Pietrangelo and Cole have the talent to be huge blueline weapons for years to come. Patrik Berglund's name has also surfaced amongst these rumors as a piece that could be used to land a scorer such as Staal. One has to wonder, are the Blues ready to close the door on the Patrik Berglund era? This situation is tricky as no one seems to know what to expect from Berglund moving forward. Can he regain last year's form or is the 2009-10 version more of a reality.On the flip side, exactly how big of an impact would a guy like Staal have? This season the Hurricanes' center has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) through 22 games. He missed some time due to injury but is normally a reliable option as he previously had missed just one game in the past five seasons - a mark that is extremely rare to find. Staal's best season came in 2005-06 when he lit the lamp a career-high 45 times and produced 100 total points. His numbers have since come back down to earth into the 70-85 point range but continues to put up 30-40 goals like clockwork. No questioning that a guy like Staal would give the Blues a scoring boost, but looking long term, the team has to make sure his price tag isn't too high.
I believed the Blues needed to bring in another scoring piece prior to the start of the year, but the cheaper options flew off the board leaving the team empty handed. Now, thanks to a variety of reasons, the Blues have failed to show off any of their talent on a regular basis. Something must ignite the fire beneath the Blues and I just hope the front office doesn't overpay for whatever that spark might be. 40-goal scorers don't come cheap.
Hopefully there is still time for that spark to come from within, which is exactly what Barrett Jackman is trying to do over at the team's practice. Great to see the veterans showing up in practice trying to get the ball rolling, but one has to wonder why it took this long. Perhaps the team really is just too young and lacks just a bit more of that veteran leadership needed across the lines. Either way, great to see Jackman, Walt and Sydor stepping up in practice trying to lead this team back to a consistent winning formula. This trade talk might just be speculation and it might just be talking for talking's sake, but it does seem like a change could be in the air. I feel that change will come from the coaching position rather than a blockbuster trade, but who knows. Carolina and St. Louis are both in awkward positions and need something major to get them out of it. Unlike a lot of hot stove talk I simply can't rule this one out; it just makes too much sense for both sides. Stay tuned fans of the Note. You can be sure if any more talk, speculation or even news surfaces over this that FrozenNotes will be there to cover it.