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Post-lockout St. Louis Blues = Quebec/Colorado teams of late 80's / early 90's?

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03-22-2013, 02:09 AM
  #1
Blue Goose
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Post-lockout St. Louis Blues = Quebec/Colorado teams of late 80's / early 90's?

I just get the sinking feeling that the Blues teams assembled over the past 7-8 seasons bear such a striking resemblance to those Quebec/Colorado teams from 20-25 years ago. Does this sound familiar?

In the summer of 1987, Quebec traded one of their biggest stars (Dale Hunter) in exchange for a package that included the #15 pick in the draft (which became future captain Joe Sakic). In 2003, the Blues picked future captain David Backes in the second round.

After finishing in 4th place in their division in 1987, Quebec missed the playoffs every year from 1988-1992, and amassed the following draft picks from which to rebuild their team:

1987 Draft: Bryan Fogarty, Joe Sakic
1988 Draft: Curtis Leschyshyn, Stephane Fiset, Valeri Kamensky, Alexei Gusarov
1989 Draft: Mats Sundin, Adam Foote
1990 Draft: Owen Nolan, Andrei Kovalenko
1991 Draft: Eric Lindros, Rene Corbet

After first round playoff exits in 2003 and 2004, the Blues would miss the playoffs in five of the next 6 seasons, amassing the following draft picks from which to rebuild their team:

Backes, Stempniak (became Steen), Nikitin (became Russell), Polak, Oshie, Bishop, Reaves, Erik Johnson (became Shattenkirk and Stewart), Berglund, Eller (became Halak), Cole, Perron, Palushaj (became Dags), Petro, McRae, Allen.

Between 1989 and 1991, Quebec went through 4 head coaches, before finally settling on Pierre Page. After Quenneville and Kitchen, the Blues finally settled on Andy Murray.

Here's where it gets interesting (in my opinion): those young Quebec teams definitely resembled these Blues teams, but they didn't "get over the hump" until they made some tough trades to shake up the roster and add depth/experience to an otherwise young team rebuilt through the draft.

In the midst of their rebuild in March 1992, Quebec traded former first round pick Bryan Fogarty to Pittsburgh in exchange for Scott Young. That June, they made the "Lindros trade", in which they got Steve Duchesne, Ron Hextall, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, Peter Forsberg, and a 1st round pick in 1993 (Jocelyn Thibault). While nothing will EVER match the Lindros trade, I would draw a slight comparison between these two deals and the Pronger/Weight trades, in terms of how it "shook up" the team during the rebuilding years.

The young Quebec team over-achieved and made it to the playoffs in 1993, losing in the 1st round. The young Blues team over-achieved and made it to the playoffs in 2009, losing in the 1st round.

In the 1994 draft, Quebec picked Chris Drury and Milan Hejduk. In 2010, St. Louis picked Schwartz and Tarasenko.

During the dismal 1993-94 season, Quebec traded Steve Duchesne to St. Louis (for a package including Garth Butcher and Ron Sutter, who was subsequently traded for Uwe Krupp) and then made a blockbuster deal that summer, sending Mats Sundin (and Butcher) to Toronto for Wendel Clark and Sylvain Lefebvre. After dealing Lars Eller for Halak in the summer of 2010, the Blues followed up during the dismal 2010-11 season by trading away Eric Brewer and Brad Boyes, and making the blockbuster deal with Colorado for Stewart and Shattenkirk.

Following the disappointing season and blockbuster trade, Page was replaced by Marc Crawford, who went on to lead his team to a surprising Division title, and won the Jack Adams Award in his first season (1995). Following the disappointment seasons of Murray and then Payne, and blockbuster trade, Hitchcock was brought in and led his team to a surprising Division title, and won the Jack Adams Award in his first season (2012).

Now, here's where we get the rest of the Blues' story:

After getting a taste in 1993 and then again in 1995, Quebec (who had just moved to Colorado) made THREE key trades in the fall of 1995, each involving core players being traded for either veteran depth or to fill much-needed holes in their otherwise impressive roster:

1. Wendel Clark (just shy of 29 years old) was traded to the NY Islanders, in a 3-team deal that sent reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Claude Lemieux (aged 30) to the Avalanche.
2. Former 1st overall pick Owen Nolan (aged 23) was traded to San Jose, in exchange for offensive-minded power-play QB defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh (also 23).
3. Forwards Andrei Kovalenko (aged 25) and Martin Rucinsky (aged 24), and goalie Jocelyn Thibault (almost 21) were traded to Montreal, in exchange for team captain Mike Keane (aged 28) and Patrick Roy (aged 30).

Quebec/Colorado knew that in order to get to the next level, they needed to package some young core pieces to get the right chemistry for their eventual Cup-winning team in 1996. Should the Blues be prepared to do the same? We shall see...

PS. Thanks for indulging me - this just stuck in my head, so I had to write it all down.

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03-22-2013, 02:16 AM
  #2
Bluesman91
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Look at that draft core. Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic, Owen Nolan, and Eric Lindros.

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03-22-2013, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluesman91 View Post
Look at that draft core. Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic, Owen Nolan, and Eric Lindros.
And only one of them lifted the Cup in 1996. Something that Oilers fans should also keep in mind...

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03-22-2013, 04:57 PM
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Don't really think we are comparable we haven't been nearly as bad as the Quebec teams were even in our bad years. Also I don't think we are as talented as the Colorado teams were. With as bad as EDM is they are more of a comparable.

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03-22-2013, 05:12 PM
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I appreciate the effort but I don't see too much resemblance. They had Patrick Roy, who is one of the top three goalies to ever play. Blues have nothing like that.

The high end Nords/Avs players like Sakic, Sundin, Nolan, Lindros in their primes were all superior to any forwards the Blues have now. The Blues used their very top picks on defensemen and got a lot of quality 2d line, some borderline 1st line forwards.

Years of very high first rounders and the Lindros trade was what made the Nords/Avs the Cup contender they were. Blues compare in neither way. So each franchise spent some years not making the playoffs and changing coaches and building through the draft? That's somewhat common. Interesting thought and attempt but I don't see it.

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03-22-2013, 05:21 PM
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Jake Allen could be the next Patrick Roy. Who knows?

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03-22-2013, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 2 Minute Minor View Post
Jake Allen could be the next Patrick Roy. Who knows?
As big of an Allen fan as I am I wouldn't bet on it lol. I'd be happy if Allen turn into a Cujo or Ed Belfour to be honest.

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03-22-2013, 06:04 PM
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PocketNines
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I hope he doesn't turn into a Cujo. Hugely misremembered by Blues fans, slightly above average regular seasons, managed to massively choke in big games.

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03-22-2013, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
I hope he doesn't turn into a Cujo. Hugely misremembered by Blues fans, slightly above average regular seasons, managed to massively choke in big games.
Shut yo mouf foo. That there be blasphemous.

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03-22-2013, 06:22 PM
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PocketNines
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Sometimes there's that question: who would you take in goal out of all goalies ever if there were one big game you had to win? Curtis Joseph might be dead last on my list. Tons of Blues fans remember him as some kind of Hall of Famer.

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03-22-2013, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
Sometimes there's that question: who would you take in goal out of all goalies ever if there were one big game you had to win? Curtis Joseph might be dead last on my list. Tons of Blues fans remember him as some kind of Hall of Famer.
I liked CuJo but you're right.
Then again, if you needed a goalie to stop 55 out of 56 shots in a fairly meaningless regular season game, he's gotta top the list.

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03-22-2013, 09:39 PM
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Who was the Blues who had a puck skip in from around center ice in the playoffs?

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03-22-2013, 09:58 PM
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Who was the Blues who had a puck skip in from around center ice in the playoffs?
Jon Casey.

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03-23-2013, 12:51 AM
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Nice write up. I personally think it is a bit of a stretch at points, but I get the general premise, and the important point made at the end:
Quote:
Quebec/Colorado knew that in order to get to the next level, they needed to package some young core pieces to get the right chemistry for their eventual Cup-winning team in 1996. Should the Blues be prepared to do the same? We shall see...
But as you mentioned in your second post, I think the Oilers might be a more apt comparison.

Also, for three major trades to all work out like those in fall of 1995 is pretty rare. The Avs traded from a surplus for a need, and they picked up the reigning Conn Smythe winner, and then, just for good measure, they picked up one of the three best goaltenders of all time. All while maintaining their one-two punch of Sakic and Forsberg down the middle.

But it is a good question: How do we know when it is time to trade pieces of the young core for organizational needs?

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03-23-2013, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Liut View Post
Who was the Blues who had a puck skip in from around center ice in the playoffs?
Sadly, there's a few to choose from...

- Steve Yzerman's goal on Jon Casey in 1996 didn't skip in, and it was from the blue line.
- Owen Nolan's goal on Roman Turek in 2000 was closer to center ice, but also didn't skip in.
- If memory serves, Geoff Courtnall scored from center ice against CuJo in 1995, on a shot that may have bounced on its way in. Again, my memory is a little hazy, but I'm sure it was Cujo against the Canucks in 1995, at home, in either Game 2 or Game 5.

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03-23-2013, 08:29 AM
  #16
Mike Liut
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Originally Posted by Mike Liut View Post
Who was the Blues who had a puck skip in from around center ice in the playoffs?

oops, it was supposed to say Blues goalie

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