The Desert of Winter

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Winger Robby Fabbri is in and out of the lineup and not scoring when he’s in.

After a torrid February, the Blues opened March with back-to-back losses.

The team has come back to earth after their long winning streak. On top of the hockey world for an extended period, the Blues now look much more ordinary.

The main reason is the dearth of offense of late. Without without David Perron and Brayden Schenn has scored only 6 goals in their past 4 games. Both Perron and Schenn are bona fide top 6 forwards, and their absence is noticed. Perron was on pace for a career year in goals before getting hurt.

The Blues will need to find offense from sources other than Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. It would be nice if those sources were the following, so far under-achieving players:

  1. Jaden Schwartz  – To say this is a down year is like saying The Office is a popular show. Stop. The Office is one of the greatest shows in the history of shows, and thousands if not millions watch it EVERY DAY on Netflix, and it will go down as the trailblazer of a new style of situational comedy. And Jaden Schwartz is having a horrible, rotten, Dexter Fowler-like season of offensive woes. And it’s a combination of things: the team’s overall poor play for the first third; poor shooting luck; and bad puck decisions. We still should have faith that his stats from years past are the true measure of his ability, and it’s that version of Jaden Schwartz that will re-emerge, at any second. And boy do the Blues need that version of Jaden Schwartz for the stretch run.
  2. Alex Steen – Clearly on the downside of his career, Steen may finish with less than 10 goals. He hasn’t finished with less than 10 goals in a full season since…..ever. Sure he’s had campaigns with fewer than 10, but in those he played less than a full complement of games. Take the 2012-13 season, in which he played 40 games and scored 8 times. That’s only half a season. The Blues really could use a burst of scoring from him. It would assure management, and the fans also, that there is some left in the tank, especially considering he has 2 more years under contract.
  3. Robby Fabbri – Two years ago, most of us penciled in Robby as the 2nd line LW, and hoped he’d recover from injury and be an offensive fixture for years. Well, he’s healthy now, but the performance of other players, not to mention the impressive depth that Doug Armstrong assembled, has kept Robby from consistent playing time. Now would have been a great time, with Perron and Schenn out, for Fabbri to put a couple in and reassert his capabilities. He still may earn more opportunities, and he’ll need to find his scoring mojo if he wants a future with the Blues.

 

The Blues will have interesting decisions to make in the offseason regarding their forward lines. How do they assemble lines 2 and 3 to maximize the offense? Most of the money coming off the books is on the defensive side of things. But it’s clear that this team needs more offense, and hopefully that comes from Perron and Schenn when they return. More is needed from players not pulling their scoring weight. And all pulling is needed for this Blues team to achieve their potential, this season and beyond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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