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07-22-2012, 11:16 PM
2 Minute Minor
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Colaiacovo was overmatched on the top pairing at the end of the season. A better partner (better first pass and more capable physically on the defensive end) would allow Pietro to become even more involved at the offensive zone.

Russell was a nice surprise, and one of the Blues best players in the LA series. But the reason he did well is that he was getting more protected ice time. Russell is a good fit on the 3rd pairing. But he's physically overmatched against the other team's top lines. Hitchcock never used him in that capacity. But to imagine that his 3rd pairing performance would somehow translate into a top pairing partner for Pietro is a giant stretch. Colaicovo's return would be a better option, and I don't think that would be a great option. Having said that, they (Cola/Pietro) were still a very effective pairing most of the season. But to take the next step forward to being an elite contender, the Blues need to upgrade that position.

I could see Cola's return if:
1) The Blues really are ready to move on from Cole. This would probably be a sign that they're giving up on him in the longer term picture, because bringing in Colaiacovo would probably hurt his development (since he'd be crowded out again like last season).

2) If its a one-year contract for Colaiacovo. This would signal that Armstrong continues to work to find a better solution for Pietro's partner. They would either be sending Cola back in a mid-season trade (plus other stuff obviously) or if they had to, bury him on the bench for the rest of the season (if there were no injuries).

But if the partner for Pietro is a choice of:
Cole, Jackman, Russell and Colaicovo, then bringing Carlo back on a cheap one-year deal is not a terrible option. I don't get too excited about any of those options, but folks are severely overstating Carlo's limitations. He's "adequate", but is not going to help the Blues elevate to the next level.

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