Jeff Gordon: Today's Blues face much less trade deadline angst than their predecessors

Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

ST. LOUIS — The Blues are in a very tight Western Conference playoff chase. The NHL trade deadline looms next Friday.

So they could feel bit more stress than usual as they confront a difficult stretch of games.

But the trade deadline isn’t nearly as nerve-wracking in the modern NHL as it was during previous eras. For multiple reasons, trades are more difficult than ever to make.

Most players, especially on the Blues, have nothing to worry about.

Back in the old days, everybody had something to worry about.

Whenever yesteryear Blues general manager Ron Caron said “meat is on the burner,” the boys in the dressing room felt the heat. Nobody was safe.


And when oily haired despot Mike Keenan seized control of the hockey operation during his brief reign of error, the uncertainty reached a whole new level.

Consider the Blues’ tumultuous 1995-96 season. From July through March, Keenan frantically churned the roster.

The fun started in the summer when he traded fan favorite Brendan Shanahan to the Hartford Whalers for a very young Chris Pronger. (Shan the Man exited amid some off-ice drama that we need not detail here.)

Doug Lidster went to the New York Rangers for Jay Wells. Steve Duchesne went to the Ottawa Senators for a draft pick. Grant Fuhr signed as a free agent. So did Shayne Corson, at the cost of Curtis Joseph going to the Edmonton Oilers. Dallas Eakins came from the Florida Panthers for a draft pick.


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