Derek Roy is proud of his craft setting up teammates.

"I tell my linemates to get their sticks down ... and I might hit them" Roy says confidently.

There's a unique cause-and-effect routine in the job of a playmaking center. He's sort of like a quarterback in football -- finding the open passing lane spreading the ball to his receivers keeping the opposition guessing making his team more dangerous.

The last three Stanley Cup champions had those types of centers:

* Jonathan Toews Michal Handzus Andrew Shaw and Dave Bolland in Chicago

* Patrice Bergeron David Kreici Rich Peverley and either Tyler Seguin or Gregory Campbell in Boston

* Anze Kopitar Mike Richards Jarret Stoll and Tyler Toffoli with the Los Angeles Kings who knocked the Blues out of the playoffs each of the last two years

Three teams each with four or more playmaking centers.

The Blues? Not so much. It's great to say you have a lot of scoring in your lineup but if there isn't a playmaking force to distribute the puck well you look around and shake your head.

David Backes and Patrik Berglund could not translate their talent to meet the "keep your stick down I might hit them" mantra. They are shooting centers. To some extent Vladimir Sobotka has that playmaking mind-set but is better known for his defense.

Which is why after last season the Blues entered into the bidding for such free-agent centers as Tampa Bay's Vinny Lecavalier Florida's Stephen Weiss Detroit's Valtteri Filppula and Roy.

Enter Roy who signed with St. Louis in July looking for a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The playmaking skills he brings the Blues in even strength and on the power play make that all the more feasible.