Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stempniak Signs

Lee Stempniak signed a new deal with the St. Louis Blues today. The Blues have been rather quiet in this off-season, besides the trade of late. It's pretty rare that I even post a Blues article these days, but I thought since Stempniak is becoming a good little pool player, his signing is certainly worth a few words.

Stempniak finished last season with 27 goals and 52 points, placing him 139th in the pool rankings. That's a pretty good jump from his 338th spot in his rookie season. Stempniak definitely earned his 3-year, $7.5 million deal. He's becoming a pretty solid point-getter and should be considered in that same area where he finished last season. The Blues didn't really improve too much around him this off-season, but we'll have a look at what they've done anyways.

Paul KariyaDoug WeightKeith Tkachuk
Lee StempniakBrad BoyesMartin Rucinsky
Petr CajanekJay McClementDavid Backes
Jamal MayersDan HinoteRyan Johnson
Eric BrewerBarrett Jackman
Christian BackmanBryce Salvador
Jay McKeeJeff Woywitka *
Manny Legace
Hannu Toivonen

I am a bit critical of the moves to pick up Paul Kariya and spend money on Keith Tkachuk. Stempniak may benefit from one or both of these guys, which may make him a better commodity on the pool market, but I don't think it helped the Blues goaltending to get wins. Defensively, they aren't quite the strongest as neither Brewer or Jackman have had a good run at winning as lead guys to really give confidence. Maybe that's just me. The Blues will need some great chemistry to make it through this season.

Cap-wise, the Blues without the signing of Woywitka sit at roughly $41 million against the cap. It gives them a lot of breathing room when it comes to signing another defenseman or two. Possibly another good grinding forward as a role player.

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