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04-29-2005, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MS
If (and it's a big if) Pronger will be willing to take a pay cut to stay in St. Louis long-term, and is showing a high level of commitment to the franchise, then of course they should do their best to keep him, and try to rebuild with him.
Pronger is on record(multiple times in fact) saying he wants to remain in St. Louis and would stick around even if we went into a full blown rebuild. The only reason Pleau hasn't signed him long term is that he didn't know how the CBA would pan out and was leery of giving a massive contract to any player(there are rumors that we wanted to sign Palffy but held off for the same reason).

However, past history tells us that when star players hit their UFA window, they take the best deal and run. Especially cases like Pronger where he's never won a Cup, and the team is going very quickly in the wrong direction.
Please explain: what history are you refering to? The Blues have never traded away a "star" player and our history with "Star" players indicates that we would let Pronger walk as a UFA(like the Hull and Turgeon cases) or lock him up long term(like we did with MacInnis, Tkachuk and Weight). The Blues have never been a team to sell off their high paid players, they are more likely to trade away our entire farm system to aquire an over the Hill "Star" at the TD.

If Pronger is already an UFA, this thread will be a moot point. He'll probably be gone for nothing. But if they still do own his rights, and he doesn't want to sign a long-term extension, then of course they should be looking at moving him. If they could get 2 or 3 quality building blocks for their franchise, that's worth a hell of a lot more than one season of Pronger on a bad team before losing him for nothing.
Even if we were to go that route, the return would still have to be worth it from the Blues perspective. Considering his relatively low Trade value right now, it would be a very bad idea to trade him as we wouldn't get anything CLOSE to the return we'd be looking for.

Look what LA did with Blake - had Deadmarsh stayed healthy, that would have been a terrific move for them, and way the hell better for the franchise than losing Blake on the UFA market for squat.
Different times, different circumstances. If we could get a return similar to the Blake deal we would definately consider it, but so far nobody has given us an offer even close to that(and I don't blaim them one bit for that, with a salary Cap in place Prongers TV will be at an all time low and you don't overpay for somebody when their TV is low). The fact is, we won't get a return similar to the Blake deal. The most we could hope for is 1 NHL ready forward, a prospect and a few 1st round picks. It isn't worth it for us to trade the Leagues premier Franchise D man for that low a return. We're better off letting his contract run out and try to resign him as a UF(and if not him, target Gonchar, Nieds, Aucoin or .

If you can't see that St. Louis is a sick team, and all you can see is the playoff track record, that's fine. I'm not just looking at 20 y/o prospects. This team has nothing. Jackman and Backman are the only two assets in the entire organization who figure to be an important part of this team in 2-3 years.
What about Salvador, Cajanek, Ryan Johnson, Rycroft, Matt Walker, Jamal Mayers, Reed Low, Eric Boguniecki, and Lalime? You may not consider our 3rd and 4th lines as "important" but to a team building on it's defense it is essential to have good defensive players spread throughout the lineup. These players form the base on which this team will be built. Our D core is very strong(4 NHL ready D men under the age of 28 with another 3 being extremely close) and very cheap(those 4 players costs us a total of 4.4 mil). Our goaltending is solid(you can argue that Lalime is a PO flop, but you cannot dispute that he is good during the regular season). We have 2 solid defensive lines(which costs a total of 4 mil. All this team needs is offensive talent, and there is plenty of that available on the FA market, not to mention our prospect pool which you clearly haven't looked at.

There are no forwards in the organization under age 30 with any offensive ability, either on the current roster, or in the system.
This is pure BS. Shkotov, Sejna, Soderberg, Zakharov, Alexandrov, Aaltonen and Stempniak are all offensive players. Backes, McClement, Disalvatore and Greg Black all project as strong 2-way players with offensive ability. That isn't even mentioning Cajanek who is a very good playmaker(he was drafted and signed as an offensive player, his defensive ability has been an added bonus). If you are going to attack our prospect pool, LOOK at it first.

Their goaltending is below average.
Lalime was considered a top 10 goalie before Ottawa's PO collapse. That isn't just "above average" , that is GOOD. You can certainly make the case that Lalime is a PO flop(which, BTW, there is a strong counter arguement to), but during the RS he is a good starting goalie. More than enough to make the PO's with in any case.

Their prospect pool is terrible, and the best guys (Fitzgerald, McClement) project as utility players.
Since when are 2nd line shut down centers(ala Peca and Holik) "utility players"?(we have 2 of them)
Since when are top 4 D men "utility players"?(we have 3 of them, not counting Roman Polak who has that upside)
Since when are scoring line wingers "utility players"?( we have 7 of them)
Since when are starting goalies "utility players"?(we have 3 of them)
Since when are Scoring line centers with playmaking ability "utility players"?(we have 2 of them)
Since when are Power Forwards with scoring ability "utility players"?(we have 1 of them)

Really, if you are going to attack our prospect pool, do some research on it first.

If they keep Pronger, he and Weight/Tkachuk might be able to keep this team respectable and in the playoff picture for another season.
Weight and Tkachuk have nothing to do with our PO hopes. In fact, odds are both will be released the second their contracts expire(I doubt we'll even pick up Tkachuks option). The reason we will remain a PO team is becuase we have one of the best Defensive teams in the league(note: I did not say D cores, I said Defensive teams. Our entire team revolves around a commitment to defense and we do it very well). We don't need all the flachy scoring that Ottawa and Tampa has, all we need is enough offense to consistently win 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 games. We will have enough Cap space(regardless of where the Cap is placed) to afford the kind of offense we need.

But past that, I don't think you can find another franchise where the long-term picture looks bleaker.
Actually, I can think of a half dozen off the top of my head(1 of which is in our Division) and another 10-12 that are relatively on par with us. I will be the first to admit that we lack the true "top end" talent that the "experts" like, but we are rebuilding this team in the NJ image which means you start with a solid defensive base(which we have) and add the offense later. We don't need to lead the league in scoring, all we need is enough scoring to win close games(which is not hard to do).

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