Armstrong explains trade for Goc

ST. LOUIS — Blues general manager Doug Armstrong called his trade of Maxim Lapierre to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Marcel Goc a “subtle change” on Wednesday. But it’s a change he hopes will make the Blues’ fourth line better.

“I think when you look at the two players they both are similar in a lot of ways,” Armstrong told reporters. “… I think it’s going to free (Steve) Ott and (Ryan) Reaves up to be a little more reckless on the forecheck. Marcel’s a very competent, very established player and very responsible and I think it’s going to allow maybe our forecheck to be a little more intense off the wings.”

Goc, 31, hasn’t been much of a scorer with the Penguins.

He had just six points (two goals, four assists) and a minus-2 rating in 43 games this season. He has won 54 percent of his faceoff attempts this season, which is close to Lapierre’s 54.9 percent, but Goc took 193 more draws.

The 6-foot-1, 197-pound German was averaging 12:27 minutes per game, for Pittsburgh, including an average of 3:00 on the penalty killing time each contest.

The Penguins rank fourth in the NHL in penalty kill percentage (87.1), while the Blues rank 17th (81.2).

“He’s a very good penalty killer and I think that’s very important for us also,” Armstrong said.

But the Blues’ GM is looking for a boost to that fourth line and he thinks the switch from Lapierre to Goc will make a difference.

“I think it just adds a little bit of stability to that line,” he said. “Sometimes in the games we saw we were getting caught giving up odd-man rushes. All three of the players — Lappy, Reaves and Ott — really like to get in on the forecheck. I think this is going to give us a little more reliability from that center position.”

Armstrong described the deal as a small trade that should help both teams.

“I think Pittsburgh was looking for the exact opposite, a little more recklessness maybe from that position,” he said. “We were looking for a little less recklessness, a little more stability. I think it’s deal that both sides think they are getting a little bit better in their needs. I think both are very similar players. You look at their faceoff percentages are very similar. It’s just a subtle change, I think, for both teams.”

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