After scoring just 10 goals in a six-game playoffs ouster, the St. Louis Blues know they need more offense.
But, as GM Doug Armstrong points out, offense isn’t easy to come by.
“This is a public cry that for any GMs that have 50-goal scorers that they want to send to St. Louis, give me a call,” Armstrong joked (we think) to the Belleville News-Democrat. “This doesn’t happen, you have to deal in reality.
The reality is with free agency the way it is now, teams tie up those elusive top-end goal scorers. They draft them. Malkin, Crosby, Tavares, Stamkos were drafted by those teams.”
The Blues have now been bounced in consecutive series by the Kings, and a lack of goalscoring has been a major theme throughout (in 2012, the Blues scored just six times in a four-game sweep.)
In his season-ending remarks, head coach Ken Hitchcock cryptically referred to needing more “from people that are homegrown,” and “the boys we built around.”
One could assume Hitch was referring to players St. Louis drafted that failed to produce this series: David Perron (no goals), Patrik Berglund (one goal) and possibly captain David Backes, a two-time 30 goal scorer that now has just four tallies in 19 playoff games.
That said, there are other culprits as well.
Two “un-homegrown” players — Andy McDonald and Chris Stewart — were virtual no-shows in the playoffs, combining for one point.
Stewart was the team’s leading goalscorer during the regular season (with 18) and McDonald led the Blues in playoff scoring last year with 10 points in nine games.
So no surprise their disappearing acts threw the Blues off course.
That said, it doesn’t sound as though St. Louis is planning a roster shakeup. If the words from Hitchcock and Armstrong suggest anything, the Blues will simply demand more of the players they currently have.
“It’s incumbent upon the players in this room to find out how to produce when the lights are the brightest, to score those goals,” he said. “If I can find a guy that can come in and help us score goals, certainly we’re gong to look at doing it.
“But to think that player’s out there and teams just give them away and say ‘Geez, it’s St. Louis’s time to win, we’ll give you Ovechkin.’… You’ve got to deal in reality.”