T.J. Oshie, perhaps the most-missed of all ex-Blues, has 14 points this season for the Capitals.
The St. Louis Blues certainly have their hands full in trying to bring consistency to their play, put wins (and points) together, and settle down the drama surrounding the team and the coach this season. I wanted to take a pause with that and see how some ex-Blues are doing so far this year.
T. J. Oshie:
It’s my opinion the Blues didn’t get enough of a return for Oshie, a genuine scoring talent who has come into his own in Washington’s system. But be that as it may, it’s good to see him thriving. Oshie has 9 goals in 18 games. He’s a +6 and has a Corsi For % of 52.6. Solid all the way around. Although, he missed the last game to due an injury. Apparently, his family enjoyed a vacation in Miami with Nicklas Backstrom’s family and some others.
Wow. The Blues former captain, and heart-and-soul guy, is off to a terrrrrrible start. He’s been relegated to the fourth line in Boston, and only just recently scored his first point of the season. He has one point, an assist, in 14 games played. He sustained a concussion earlier in the year. He’s kind of stuck, actually; his no-movement clause prohibits any demotion to the minors. While its true his production has tailed off since signing with the Bruins, his current scoring funk is kind of mind-boggling.
When he was a Blue, Shatty routinely put 40+ points on his stat sheets. Trading him was the logical thing to do, and the Blues made the right call and got a decent return. He served out the season with the Capitals, then signed a free agent deal with the New York Rangers. Last year, he tore his meniscus and underwent surgery. He only played in 46 games for the Rangers. This season, his ice time, shots, and shifts are down. And he only has 6 points so far. It could be he’s not entirely recovered from his surgery.
Every time his name comes to mind, I breathe a sigh of relief that the Blues aren’t still saddled with his contract. Of course, the team has other onerous contracts they’re paying on (cough, Bouwmeester, cough). Fortunately, this is the last year of that awful deal. Lehtera’s contract is worse, though. Last season and this season, he has a combined 80 games played, with just 11 points to show for it. Back in September, it was reported that he was being investigated by Finnish authorities for possible involvement in a cocaine ring. But it seems no further reports have been released.
Berglund was a whipping boy for years when he was a Blue. I think he got a bad rap, much of the time. If he keeps up his current play, however, he’ll be a Sabres whipping boy as well. Twice Berglund has been a healthy scratch for the Sabres, and he has only 4 points in 18 games, playing on the fourth line most of the time. The Sabres were hoping he’d be a consistent top 6 forward for them, and he’s been anything but.
Vladimir Sobotka/Tage Thompson:
The Sabres have found out what the Blues knew: Sobotka is a useful player but he doesn’t contribute much offensively. He has 4 points in about the same ice time he was given while a Blue. His faceoff percentage is in the mid 40s, though. That’s a significant decrease from when he was in St. Louis, when he was usually well over 50%.
Thompson, meanwhile, has been judged as not being ready for the league. But the team doesn’t seem to want to send him to the AHL. Rather, they are playing him only occasionally, and presumably coaching him during practices. Whether that will work and lead to improved play and production as the season goes on is yet to be seen.
So that’s a wrap on some prominent ex-Blues. Honestly, I look at all these players and there’s just one I wish was still a Blue: T. J. Oshie. He didn’t fit in the Hitchcock system, but I wonder how he would fit in Mike Yeo’s. The Blues are, on paper, deeper at forward than they have been in a long time. Even so, I would love to see him still in the Note. You never know……maybe he’ll take a page out of the Perron free agency playbook.
I wish the best for all these players. Yes, even Lehtera.