This is Al Arbour playing for the St. Louis Blues during the early years of expansion. Arbour’s career reminds me a little of baseball great Reggie Smith: he was always around championship teams. He played on two powerful minor league teams (Edmonton Flyers and Rochester Americans) and played for terrific NHL teams in Detroit, Chicago and Toronto before the expansion draft. Arbour was on the Hawks cup winner in 1961 and then played on two Leafs winners in 1962 and 1963.
Arbour is a wonderful figure in NHL history. Winning surrounded him and of course as a coach he won the Stanley 4 times in New York with the Islanders. St. Louis hasn’t been in the SCF since 1971 and haven’t been a threat (really) since Joel Quenneville left town.
They do have an exceptional procurement department. So far this NHL season, the Blues have played 20-year olds Alex Pietrangelo and Lars Eller, 21-year olds Erik Johnson, David Perron and Patrik Berglund and 23-year olds TJ Oshie and Roman Polak. Blues kids have scored 27 of the 81 goals scored by the Blues this season (33.3%).
The Oilers 23 and under? 20-year old Sam Gagner, 22-year olds Andrew Cogliano, Taylor Chorney, Ryan O’Marra, Theo Peckham and 23-year olds Gilbert Brule, Ladislav Smid and Devan Dubnyk. Oilers kids have scored 21 of the team’s 105 goals (20%).
I thought Andy Murray would get a bunch from the young Blues and have a long run as the head coach in St. Louis. However, the team is struggling badly (they’re Oilerish) and the coach might be fired soon. History tells us to pay close attention to the man named head coach of this team. A young club with a restless ownership group ready to do what it takes to turn this thing around. Prospects and picks for established players, addressing weakness for the short term in exchange for long term possibilities.
The only thing left is the name of the coach who’ll bring glory to the Blues. I wonder who might be available, someone with a history of successful coaching, possibly a connection to the franchise and in need of a job? Pretty short list, I’d imagine.