The Once and Future Third Line

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In the Blues’ home opener back in October (which I watched with my wife at a local Buffalo Wild Wings, decked out in team gear), the third line was comprised of Patrik Berglund centering Nail Yakupov and Magnus Paajarvi. Continue reading “The Once and Future Third Line”

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So…..Paul Stastny in Year 3

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Paul Stastny is quietly having a pretty good season.

Let me explain. No, he’s not himself from 4 or 5 years ago, when he was putting up Gs & As like a boss with the Avalanche. No, he’s not even himself from Yr 1 with the Blues, when he notched 46 points in 74 games, including 30 assists. But he’s scoring at a similar pace to Year 1, at about 0.62 points-per-game.

His assists are down this year (he’s at 20). So he’s not creating plays as much. But part of that we can attribute to his many different line mates this year. He’s had just about every Blues winger on his flanks, including non-producing, almost-busts Dmitrij Jaskin and Nail Yakupov. And the team has gone through a couple of prolonged scoring slumps, from the most recent of which they just emerged with last night’s win over Colorado. In that slump, the team scored just 6 goals 5 games.

What’s encouraging, however, is his goal total. He has 17, and that’s already more than the 16 he put in in his first season with the team. He’s on pace to end up at 22 goals. And the Blues need every one of those if they want to make any kind of postseason run. And Stastny’s shooting percentage is the highest it’s been with the team, at 17.3%.

His point production has been fairly consistent this year. There have been two four-game stretches during which he went point-less. But other than that, the production’s been there. And that’s despite a couple of brief stays on injured reserve.

I was thrilled when the Blues landed him in the summer of 2014. They needed him badly, and they beat out multiple teams to win his services. I love it when big-ticket free agents sign with the Blues, and while Paul Stastny hasn’t been a No. 1 center for the team, he’s still been a solid player earning his keep. And seems like a really good guy, to boot. It was really cool seeing him score and celebrate with his family at the glass in Colorado.

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QUICK HIT: Great return in Shatty Trade

It’s getting late Monday evening, and finally, the Shattenkirk trade appears to be happening. It’s being reported that the Washington Capitals are acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk from the Blues for a 201 7 1st-round pick, a conditional 2018 2nd-round pick, and forward prospect Zach Sanford.

This would be a terrific package for the Blues. Long thought to be seeking a first-rounder, plus a prospect, Shattenkirk’s value has held up as other players have been dealt today and in the previous couple of days.

Sanford is a key part of this deal. He’s a tall centerman at 6’4, and was a 2nd-round pick in 2013. He’s played a couple dozen games for the Capitals this year, scoring 2 goals. Over the past 2 seasons at Boston College, he scored 63 points in 79 games. He will likely see playing time with the Blues down the stretch, as Fabbri’s injury has created space. According to Hockey’s Future, he could project as a top 6 forward.

I’m thrilled that the Blues were indeed able to get a 1st-round pick back. While I’m disappointed the Blues didn’t get a legit scoring center, this deal is a rental package, instead of the “sign and trade” the team tried to pull off with a different Eastern team a few weeks ago.

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*Capitals logo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.