Thoughts on Modano/Gagne
The Blues have their man in net, signing Halak to a four-year contract. They have their muscle squared away through the likes of Cam Janssen and the newly acquired Vladimir Sobotka. These stories all broke in the past week, but one area - the offense - has remained strangely quiet. Now is the time to start asking the tough questions concerning the team's forwards and what issues this side needs to address.
With plenty of rumors and names surfacing in the hockey world as possible targets for the Blues (Simon Gagne and even Mike Modano), what will this team do to address the obvious problem concerning scoring?
The Blues hoped that Perron, Oshie and Berglund would all take their next step in 2009-10, which obviously did not happen. Perron and Oshie had pretty solid years, but Berglund really trailed off. As we all know, Boyes was a shadow of himself and Backes saw his scoring numbers dip as well. Is this group going to stick together and be the machine that drives the Blues in 2010-11?
This team needs to bring in another part up front. I love - yes, love - what the Blues have done so far this summer. Halak is a HUGE addition and Sobotka has plenty of talent and should be a very positive addition. Things look bright at defense with Erik Johnson healthy and the likely addition of Alex Pietrangelo to the everyday roster.
Let's take a walk around some of the names being tossed around Twitter and I'll give my thoughts on each one and how they may or may not fit into the team's scheme.
Supposedly Modano retired when the year concluded in Dallas, but the veteran is finding his name at the heart of plenty of rumors of late. If his playing days aren't over, should the Blues make an offer? In my opinion - no. Modano get's an A+ in leadership and a gold star for appearing in the original Mighty Ducks movie, but beyond that I don't think he has much left to offer. He skated in just 59 games last season and scored just 30 points. Take a look at some of his numbers the last few seasons.
27 goals, 50 assists for 77 points.
22 goals, 21 assists for 43 points.
21 goals, 36 assists for 57 points.
15 goals, 31 assists for 46 points.
14 goals, 16 assists for 30 points.
It should be noted that the 2006-07 season and the 2009-10 season saw Modano skate in just 59 games, so that skews the numbers a bit. Clearly, his 70+ point seasons are behind him and he now looks to be a 40-50 point threat. No one really knows aside from Modano and his agent if he is indeed looking for a new team and what the price to land him might be. Personally, I'd look elsewhere. Modano has definitely entered the final stage of his career and looks to have roughly the same production that David Perron might have although without the upside.
Please, please pass. I've followed Gagne for numerous years thanks to my love for fantasy hockey and my position as a writer for Owner's Edge NHL with Fanball. Over this time I have learned several things, one being that Gagne will break your heart - over and over and over. The talent is definitely there. Gagne has scored 30 or more goals four times in his career and twice notched over 40. With this talent comes an enormous risk as Gagne has been a walking injury waiting to happen throughout his career.
In his last three seasons, Gagne has skated in 25, 79 and 58 games. Who knows if Gagne is truly available, but the price he will be asking will be more than I would want to pay someone with such a colorful injury history.
To those of you out there that would love for Kovalchuk to come here: dream on. Simply put, the Blues can not afford him nor should they want to invest all their eggs in his collective basket, thus crippling the franchise to make any moves for years to come. Yes - I know he can score plenty of goals. Yes - he can bring a ton of talent to the offense, an area the Blues are hurting in. However, his ego and clear thirst to suck a franchise's bank account dry makes me want him to find a home elsewhere. Hell, the Kings made him a pretty generous offer and evidently he laughed it off. I'll let some other team throw millions and millions his way and crumble as he hogs the puck, doesn't play a team game and cripples the salary cap.
Plenty of names are still out there and more will surely surface as teams make it clear on who they plan to sign and who they are leaning towards letting go. I'd like to see the Blues bring in another forward, but I'm a stickler that the cost must be justified. This team is not in a position to hand out anymore contracts that hold up production - Paul Kariya, Eric Brewer: I'm looking at you.
There you have it. Three names that the Blues have been connected to at one time or another and I'm passing on each one.