But when it comes right down to it, a significant chunk of the Blues' future this season may come down to tonight's game.
In the last 20 games, the Blues have the second-best record in the NHL. Through those games, they are 12-3-5, and have succeeded in climbing firmly into the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
They find themselves just three points behind both Anaheim and Edmonton for the eighth-and-final playoff spot. Three tiny little points, and 20 games left in which to try and make them up. If ever a team has had their destiny right in front of them, it is the St. Louis Blues.
While there are a few teams ahead of the Blues which could throw them out of the playoffs, the only team really in position to beat the Blues at this point is likely the Blues. And they very well may. But somehow, I don't think that's going to be the way this thing plays out.
If Davidson holds onto Tkachuk now, that's a potential advantage he's lost in the future. On the other hand, with the position the team has put itself in, can he really afford not to let them take their shot this season?
Sure, JD might not couch it that way, and the players might say all the right things about just handling their business the way they did before and all that, but let's face facts. Moving Keith Tkachuk right now would be weakening the team at exactly the moment that they need a little boost to keep winning. If Tkachuk goes, it's a signal to the fans, and to the players, that the Blues aren't really a contender this season; they're close, yes, but ultimately, the boys upstairs just don't think they're quite good enough.
Even the slightest bit of luck, the Blues would likely already be a playoff team. You add a healthy Erik Johnson and Paul Kariya or Andy McDonald for the whole season, and we aren't talking about three points that need to be made up. This is a team with a remarkably bright future. I'll say it again: I fully trust John Davidson.