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Can Roy boost the Blues’ center group?

Aug 21, 2013, 7:53 PM EDT

derekroygetty Getty Images

The first day of free agency is often marked by something bordering on lunacy, but every now and then, there’s a perfect match between a team and a player. Derek Roy might just be that guy for the St. Louis Blues.

A pivotal season

At 30, Roy’s career is at a fork in the road.

For years, he was a franchise player with the Buffalo Sabres, yet injuries and an off-year or two prompted them to trade him to the Dallas Stars. While he put up respectable numbers (22 points in 30 games), he never really “clicked” in Dallas, and the same can be said for his brief stay with the Vancouver Canucks.

Two or three years of turbulence helped the Blues sign Roy for a relative bargain at $4 million over one year, but they want him to be more than just a good deal.

Weak down the middle

It’s reasonable to argue that St. Louis has been faulty at the center position in recent years, at least compared to other areas that boast substantial talent.

The Blues have operated with Selke-quality winger David Backes at center for some time now, and that might be the case as well in 2013-14. Still, with Roy and Alexander Steen in the mix, it’s plausible that a weakness could actually morph into a solid strength next season.

Ken Hitchcock’s crew has weathered injuries and various surprises the last two seasons, so it’s probably not fair to say that they need Roy to produce.

A matter of expectations

That viewpoint probably changes if the Blues want to be a team that legitimately competes for the Stanley Cup (rather than a playoff spot), though.

In the end, both have a lot to gain or lose. At this point, St. Louis probably cannot settle for another first-round exit. Meanwhile, Roy stares down the prospect of becoming a journeyman player, particularly if this season doesn’t work out.

More from Blues day at PHT

Vladimir Tarasenko is their x-factor

Gauging the Blues’ trio of goalies

The importance of Alex Pietrangelo

  1. zwilhelm16 - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    I would like to see Backes our 1st line center and Roy as the 2nd. Move Bergy to the wing maybe which I think is a better fit for him. We have a lot of options with our team should be fun to see how Hitch puts the pieces together.

  2. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    It would be surprising to see them NOT make it to the 2nd round this year. Blues biggest “ceiling challenge” is that the strongest team in the WC is in their division. Not just my opinion, every national projection I’ve read.

    Not a cheap shot, nor a homer comment. The Bulls were in that status in Jordan’s early years – they had to get past the “Bad Boys” in Detroit, or be locked in “postseason purgetory”.. Blues will need to figure out how to beat the Hawks to contend for the cup.

    • bardown66 - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      The hawks, the wild arent a joke, plus their big bad boogey man kings will make the playoffs. I seriously think this team is stuck on the mental hurdle of johnny Quick and Dustin Brown.

  3. loinstache - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I strongly disagree that the two are a perfect match. I don’t like them but you can’t disagree that the Blues are a gritty team built on defensive responsibility and pressing physical play. Roy fits neither of those terms. Buffalo fans offered that he had consistency issues during his time there, and it would be an understatement to say the same was true for Vancouver, on a team where he could actually be in the playoffs. He’s lucky his agent got him $4m.

  4. bagjr387 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Can Derek Roy divide the locker room? Is a frog arse water tight?

  5. bardown66 - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    A person with consistency issues that is now playing for ken hitchcock…..a real match made in heaven right there. In all seriousness everytime ive seen roy play he makes the occasional wow play but so many times he just gets bullied all over the ice. I recall a game a few years ago i attended where Tyler kennedy (yes the ex penguin with the pig nose tyler kennedy) just followed him around and would shove him down constantly. Let that sink in for a second…

  6. bullwinkle88 - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    He already is a journeyman. Dallas got ripped when they gave up Ott for him.

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