The 2013 season started extremely well for the St. Louis Blues. As we flipped the page on the calendar from January to February, the Blues held one of the NHL's best records of 6-1-0. Since then, there's been very few positives as the Blues rattled off five straight losses, several of which were of the blowout variety.
If you've watched the team's past few games, it's a mess. There's no intensity, no desperation and mental and physical errors from start to finish. Evidently, coach Ken Hitchcock's instructions have fallen on deaf ears.
Is it time for the St. Louis Blues to make a trade? They certainly could use some help at defense and, depending on Jaroslav Halak's health, a new face in net. Perhaps most importantly, the entire club needs a good old fashioned wake up call that a trade might provide.
Over the past few years, the Blues have run through their fair share of coaches. Andy Murray had the helm between 2006-2010 before making way for Davis Payne. Payne was never supposed to be the long-term solution, so current coach Ken Hitchcock was brought to the mix in 2011. For both Murray and Payne, the Blues were criticized for not playing hard. It was believed to be a leadership issue, not a player issue.
Under Hitchcock, the Blues have played spectacularly well - until the month of February. Now they're resembling the teams that gave minimal effort under both Murray and Payne. The team's core group of players is mostly unchanged since we saw the Blues turn in horrible effort after horrible effort under Andy Murray.
This is a worrisome trend. At some point the coaches no longer hold the responsibility for a team's effort. The Blues are on their third coach since 2010. Maybe the problem lies on the bench, not behind it.
That brings us back to the topic of a trade. The rumors are already circulating.
Rumor lovers out there. #flyers scouting Blues last night, #stlblues scouting Flyers Toronto. #Flyers need scoring, #stlblues could use Dman
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) February 12, 2013
The Blues could certainly use some help at defense, but do the Philadelphia Flyers have a piece that could help? That's a highly debatable point. Still, the point here is that the Blues are actively scouting other teams and not just with their scouts. The Blues sent both their GM, Doug Armstrong, and their director of Pro Scouting, Rob DiMaio, to the Toronto / Philadelphia game on Monday night.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong and Director of Pro Scouting Rob DiMao are at the ACC taking in the Leafs-Flyers game.
— Greg Thomson (@GregThomsonNHL) February 12, 2013
This might not lead to a trade between the Blues and Flyers, but the Blues did have some noteworthy individuals in attendance, especially when you consider the Blues were playing at home on the same night.
In a shortened season, timing is more important than ever before. In other seasons you may have been able to wait an additional game or two before pulling the trigger, but in the abbreviated 2013 campaign moves and changes need to be made promptly.
Will the St. Louis Blues make a deal in the near future? Several signs are pointing to "Yes". Stay tuned.