Doug Armstrong was recently interviewed on St. Louis' 101.1 ESPN and he discussed what the Blues are planning to do now that they have some new centers in the mix. Armstrong tossed out a few ideas on what they might do with Derek Roy, Maxim Lapierre and Keith Aucoin on the roster.
Armstrong mentioned that ultimately the final decision on where to position various players comes down to Ken Hitchcock, but he could envision David Backes or Vladimir Sobotka sliding over to the wing.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong on sorting out all the newly-signed centers: "We can always slide Backes over." Says Berglund has always been a C.— Big EZ (@BigEZ) July 9, 2013
Backes shifting over to the wing wouldn't be too surprising. As soon as the Blues took on several new centers, Backes was one of the first names suggested as a candidate who could comfortably slide over. Armstrong seems to support this theory and comments that Patrik Berglund should remain in the middle.
However, while Armstrong mentioned Backes as a potential future winger, Vladimir Sobotka might be his first choice.
Doug Armstrong has said the most likely candidate to move from center to wing is Vladimir Sobotka not Backes #stlblues— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) July 9, 2013
Which man would excel the most on the wing? That's up for debate, but you could picture both men performing the job adequately. Sobotka might be the better option simply because he's the faster skater.
Armstrong also briefly touched on a potential line combination.
One line possibility just mentioned on the radio by Doug Armstrong was Steen-Roy-Stewart #stlblues— Norm Sanders (@NormSanders) July 9, 2013
Steen-Roy-Stewart. That's a pretty exciting line combination. It also suggests that Armstrong is planning on Chris Stewart being with the team for 2013-14. Stewart's future with the Blues isn't concrete, but it's clear Armstrong at least has a vision of Stew skating with the club on an exciting line with Steen and Roy.
Who do you think should slide to the wing? What do you think of a potential Steen-Roy-Stewart line?
I'm a big supporter of using Sobotka on the wing. Truthfully, I might've opted to move Berglund to the left side and let Backes stay in the middle over Armstrong's suggestion, but either works for me. Armstrong's assertion Stewart will be back raises the interesting question...of the 15 forwards that we would then have at our disposal, which 12 would play? Assuming Keith Aucoin is going to be a healthy scratch whenever possible, you still wind up with two other guys, likely guys making over 1M a year, to sit in the press box. Extrapolating on the possible Steen-Roy-Stewart line, you might also have one in the Schwartz-Backes-Tarasenko shape, and the kid line of course, Perron-Berglund-Oshie, followed by the CPR line. It leaves one wondering if the Blues could justify not playing a player like Sobotka every night, and what purpose would Max LaPierre then serve? Because of this excess of forwards, I tend to think the salaray shedding Armstrong will need to do over the summer will come in the form of a Perron, Berglund, or Oshie. I know Perron's name comes up a lot, but I think he's the easiest choice, and you slide Sobotka right into that spot on the Left Wing (like he played for Czech Republic).
@lizardkingjl I was surprised by the Lapierre and the Aucoin moves because I felt that barring a trade, there'd be simply no room to play them. Now I can't really imagine a scenario where Aucoin will play. Lapierre should see time, but who sits? Cracknell? Porter? Seems like there's too many player for just a handful of spots.