RFAs: TJ Oshie (1.275 million this year) Patrik Berglund (1.245 million this year) Roman Polak (1.1 million this year) B.J. Crombeen (unless traded 872,000 this year) Nikita Nikitin (800,000 this year) Tyson Strachan (600,000) Matt D’Agostini (550,000 this year) Adam Cracknell (500,000 this year) Ryan Reaves (500,000 this year) Vladamir Sobotka (725,000 this year) and Ben Bishop (895,000). I bold Bishop because he seems to be the front-runner for back-up to Halak next year.
And again if you are thinking that you are sick of it and they won’t do anything, please remind yourself of the swift acquisition of Halak and how little was given up for him. Then look at the dealing of Johnson. Even if you don’t agree with it, it took guts and willingness to move forward at any cost. No one is untouchable. Yzerman might have gotten away with one, but it’ll be a very rare occurrence, indeed.
Yes, this year’s draft isn’t projected as a strong one but don’t be discouraged. The St. Louis Blues will end up (on their own, not through another’s pick with a solid first round pick based on their record.) This gives them many options. They can decide to bundle their pick with others later in the draft to make a move for a big name come draft day or they can choose to use their pick and trade the others in conjunction with prospects. There is just as much movement among teams on draft day as there is on July 1st. And often throwing in a pick (see the New Jersey Devils acquisition of David Steckel from the Washington Capitals for Jason Arnott) can make or break a deal. Some even suggested just the Capitals addition a second-round 2012 draft pick they made this a better deal for the Devils. Same can be seen with the Edmonton Oilers trading Dustin Penner to the LA Kings for Colten Teubert and two draft-picks. You stock pile picks and prospects and then when you are ready, you feel comfortable in the moves you make, knowing you can afford to.
A lot of people are surprised that Barrett Jackman and B.J. Crombeen weren’t traded. Ty Conklin is also still with the Blues in what is becoming an increasingly crowded goaltending situation. Don’t be surprised if these names are bundled with draft picks at the draft or on July 1st to bring in more talent.
The Whole Vs. The Parts
The only way I think I can properly explain what I’m getting at here (as mentioned in the first paragraph) is to explain how I learned it being a fan of the LA Kings. When the team is dwindling at the bottom of the conference year after year you start attaching yourself to whatever makes you get through it. Often, it is certain players- those grinders, the ones with the heart that just show up no matter what, get excited over every goal no matter how hopeless it is. It is often these players that are the first to be shipped out with major changes coming.
For me, it was hard when I first saw it happening. I really had to learn that just because I loved the player doesn’t mean he could be a part of the teams’ future. Seeing players like Lubomir Visnovsky, Derek Armstrong, Kyle Calder and Kyle Quincey (yes even if it did bring in Ryan Smyth) traded was heartbreaking and, at the time, I was angry. Now I get it because I’ve seen the results (even if it still hurts to see your favorites go).
I might have taken Johnson’s trade the easiest of everyone in St. Louis (literally dancing around my kitchen at 3 AM that morning) but seeing players like McClement and Winchester traded was hard and understandably so. In a year of bitter pills to swallow, players like these attached themselves quickly to the fan base and are now just gone in a snap.
As for Brewer, I personally, think it’s a shame. It had been mentioned to me when I was graciously invited to be on Brian Hanechen’s Talkin’ Pucks trade deadline show. The Blues have a history of letting captains go and bringing them back. I honestly hadn’t thought about it at the time but now that I do and seeing they didn’t name a captain, I hope they do bring him back. It was sad that Brewer was finally healthy, meshing with Davis Payne and kept this team together just to see him traded. This is all speculation on my part, but it is something to consider. The next question, otherwise is who is ready to become captain of this team? Who is going to take the lead with Armstrong, Davidson and Payne?