It's always difficult to see a player, especially one that's been productive over the course of the last four seasons, leave in unrestricted free agency. It's one of those facts of life, though. Sometimes a team wants to go in one direction, sometimes they'd be happy sticking status quo but the status isn't quo-ing, and sometimes it's just un-realistic to stick with the known quantity.
In the case of Carlo Colaiacovo, it's the latter. Colaiacovo, it was reported, wanted a three year contract. Colaiacovo, as it is well known, tends to sit for around 20 games a year due to injury. While he was a good soldier for the Blues -- a solid top four guy with good stay at home sense that let Shattenkirk or Pietrangelo roam a little bit -- it just wasn't feasible for the team to pay someone a decent amount to be injured. The Blues have some defensive depth in the system, and are still on a bit of a budget. Would they like an upgrade? Sure. Are they ok with Ian Cole? Yup.
The Wings, though, whoo did they miss out on a lot this summer. Nicklas Lidstrom retiring? Check. Ryan Suter signing with the Minnesota Wild and not the Red Wings? Yup. Shea Weber staying put in Nashville? Yepper. They had holes to fill, and they have money and apparently patience for someone who is often injured. Ergo, Colaiacovo found a new home.
No one wants to see a Blue go to a division rival, let alone the Red Wings. But hey, it could have been worse! You guys know I'm avowed Barret Jackman fan. And the Wings wanted him. Ryan Suter? Naah. Let's get Barret Jackman! Sir Jaxx wanted to stay put in St. Louis, and the Wings settled for Cola. Eventually.
The Blues got the better end of the deal. Yeah, they're going to have to work with a green defenseman, but Cole'll grow up. Heck, he'll have a whole extra year (thanks, owners). Jackman? He's still a consummate professional, still stay at home guy, and still the kind of player a lot of teams would have gone for over the off-season. The Blues would have had a harder time filling the gap had he left; Cole in for Cola is do-able, but Cole for Jackman? Absolutely not.
I know some of you hate Jackman with every fiber of your being, and that's cool - but who do you want to deal with six times a year: Jaxx or Splodeybones?
Over Carlo's 4 seasons with the Blues, he played in 259 games, Jaxx 289 over that same span. That's basically eight games a season difference. Carlo was +13 with 106 points, Jaxx +9 with 64 points. I am not one of the Jackman haters, but it's hard to argue that he's a better choice than Carlo, especially when he is scheduled to make about $1M more this season.
The blues won't get anywhere near the 109 points they had last year, but the red wings are in trouble too. So you have that going for you in the central.