Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Well, the deal got done ... and maybe the Blues aren't quite as stupid as I thought. Yes, Chris Pronger should have been dealt before the draft (and before St. Louis painted itself into a cap corner). But for the situation, I like this deal.

The Blues get a couple of young defense projects in Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka. Lynch is a big fella (6-3, 214) who'll bang and scrap (181 and 202 PIMs in his final two years at Red Deer). He had a terrific year with Toronto in the AHL in 2003-04 before sliding back last season, but St. Louis won't be looking to Lynch for scoring. If he can improve his skating, he'll be a good stay-at-home No. 5 or 6.

Woywitka could be terrific in a couple seasons. A former first-round pick of the Flyers (and we know how well they draft), he has good size (6-2, 209) and strength. He's not ticketed as a great offensive threat, but he did score 52 points in 57 games for Red Deer in 2002-03, the year he was named the best defenseman in the WHL. Woywitka is at least a No. 3 or 4 blueliner and could be even better.

To go with the potential, the Blues also get Eric Brewer, a former No. 5 overall pick and a fellow who can step right in to the first defensive pairing. While he's no great shakes offensively, he has a great shot and will use his 6-3, 220-pound body to wipe some guys out. Is he Chris Pronger? No, but Brewer is more than capable and he'll fit in nicely.

Could the Blues have done better? Maybe. I still believe a few teams might have traded a high first-rounder to get Pronger on draft day. Whether that option was explored or not, I don't know, but getting three defensemen -- one very good, one average to good and one possibly very good -- for a great one under duress ain't half bad.

And anyhow, it has to be counted as a great week for the Blues. Someone took Pavol Demitra off their hands.

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