See this guy? This guy right here? This guy is the guy.
It's hard to describe my feelings on this trade. At first I thought "wow, Stempniak's pretty good" after which point I felt horrendously bad knowing that Carlo and Steener were going.
Underperforming, definitely. Out of shape? Possibly. But they were Maple Leafs, some of the few first rounders that had made the NHL and gotten all our hope invested in them. I guess now I know a little bit of what trading Kabby might feel like.
I remember the days not so long past when I was hoping dearly each game that Carlo would be able to play, to get Wozniewski off our roster and lead us to the promised land. I remember fervently believing that a playoff spot was ours once he could put a complete season together.
I thought this was the season Steen could break out. Every once in a while he'd pull a move to gain the zone or he'd shift around a defender just like in his rookie season and I knew hope for the kid. He had one hell of a backhand.
Will they put it together in St. Louis? I think there's decent odds one of them will, the talent is still there and I believe the change in scenery will do them well. Of course, the opposite could also likely be true, Carlo could go down any day just like he did on Friday, and Steen might not ever prove himself worthy of the minutes he needs to produce. St. Louis has roles to fill, however, so minutes shouldn't be lacking for either guy.
The West is a tougher conference, however, and the Central division is not a nice one to be in, so best of luck to both of them. They'll always have a place as Leafs in my mind.
But Stempniak isn't without his question marks either.
Much like Steen, he has had one impressive campaign sandwiched by a couple of not as hot ones. He's been hot lately, finding offense on a pretty banged up Blues team, but the trigger wasn't pulled because of this season, it was pulled because of what he did in 06-07. Is Lee another player doomed to never repeat his great season? I certainly hope not.
Much unlike Steen, however, he's actually billed as a scorer and has put up over 20 (or even 25) goals in a season.
If anything, he's speedy and a supposed hard worker. You know, like that other guy we got from St. Louis. Let me just check how he's doi-....
Regardless of where the chips fall later on, it's hard to disagree with the logic in this trade. Neither of our guys have ever lived up to their billings. Lee has.