Before the 2007 season, on the first day of free agency, the Blues made big news in St. Louis, and across the league, by signing big-ticket winger Paul Kariya.
He represented a jolt to the offense at the time. I remember how thrilled I was, coming downstairs that morning for the sports page, which my dad always left me before going to work. I couldn’t believe it. I thought Kariya was the kind of player the Blues would never sign because A) he was too expensive; and B) a bigger market team would sign him, like New York or Montreal.
I was beside myself with excitement for days. I bought a $500 camera just to take pictures of him in the games. That camera now, sadly, is worth south of $75.
Kariya played well for the Blues, but since he was in the twilight of his career, his point totals didn’t match what he routinely posted with the Ducks and Avalanche. It doesn’t matter to me though. I’ll always remember him as one of my favorite players to wear the Note. I’m really happy he was voted into the hall of fame.
Brayden Schenn isn’t a Kariya-caliber player, but he represents a significant upgrade to the Blues forward corps. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I’m thrilled that he’s a Blue now.
I didn’t expect the Blues to make such a splash during the draft. From all accounts, it seemed GM Doug Armstrong was content to stay the course, picking at his assigned spots of #20 and #27 in the first round. The team lost Perron to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, but we were told his production would come from other team members, such as Ivan Barbashev.
I watched the Draft all the way through the Blues first pick at #20. Then I took my wife dancing. I checked Twitter when we got to our table, and lo and behold, the tweets were flying. I was ecstatic the rest of the night.
Brayden Schenn has a lot of potential for the Blues. At best, he’ll center one of the top two lines for the next 3 (or more) years. At worst, he’ll be productive top 9 forward. Centers who score goals and assists are something of a rarity for the Blues. Stastny has yet to crack 20 goals since signing his four-year deal. How great would it be if he puts up 25 goals playing center for the Blues, with Tarasenko and Schwartz or Fabbri as his wings?
Schenn is a name player (although two of my friends who are supposedly Blues fans hadn’t heard of him). Schenn is the kind that instantly makes your team better. And that’s by the nature of his play alone, without considering the anchor dragging along the bottom that was Lehtera.
I’m really excited, and I can’t wait to see Schenn play. Now, it’s on to another great NHL holiday – Free Agency.
Thanks for reading.