Remaining RFA and FA Players Blues May Have Interest In

When the NHL Board of Governors and NHLPA finally vote and sign the new CBA into effect, there will be little time for team GM’s to make the necessary moves to complete their teams.  In particular, the teams left with the remaining restricted free agents (RFA’s) will be in a mad rush to sign their players.  The problem is fitting some of these players into the new salary cap that the NHL will put into place starting with next season.

Below is a list of all remaining Free Agents, including Restricted Free Agents:

UFA 2011-2012 Team Position Age
Jesse Winchester Ottawa Senators Center 29
Dominic Moore San Jose Sharks Center 32
Blair Betts Philadelphia Flyers Center 32
Jochen Hecht Buffalo Sabres Center 35
Daymond Langkow Phoenix Coyotes Center 36
Jason Arnott St. Louis Blues Center 38
Brad Winchester San Jose Sharks Left wing 31
Marco Strum Florida Panthers Left wing 34
Kristian Huselius Columbus Blue Jackets Left wing 34
Mathieu Darche Montreal Canadiens Left wing 36
Brian Rolston Boston Bruins Left wing 39
Andrew Brunette Chicago Blackhawks Left wing 39
Tomas Holmstrom Detroit Red Wings Left wing 39
Jason Blake Anaheim Ducks Left wing 39
Jonathon Cheechoo St. Louis Blues Right wing 32
Eric Godard Dallas Stars Right wing 32
Matt Bradley Florida Panthers Right wing 34
Radek Dvorak Dallas Stars Right wing 35
Petr Sykora New Jersey Devils Right wing 36
Mike Knuble Washington Capitals Right wing 40
Chris Campoli Montreal Canadiens Defense 28
Kurtis Foster Minnesota Wild Defense 31
Kurt Sauer Phoenix Coyotes Defense 31
Randy Jones Winnipeg Jets Defense 31
Jim Vandermeer San Jose Sharks Defense 32
Jeff Finger Toronto Maple Leafs Defense 32
Kent Huskins St. Louis Blues Defense 33
Mike Commodore Tampa Bay Lightning Defense 33
Colin White San Jose Sharks Defense 34
Brett Clark Tampa Bay Lightning Defense 35
Mark Eaton New York Islanders Defense 35
Sean O’Donnell Chicago Blackhawks Defense 41
Brent Johnson Pittsburgh Penguins Goalie 35
Ty Conklin Detroit Red Wings Goalie 36
Marty Turco Boston Bruins Goalie 37
Dwayne Roloson Tampa Bay Lightning Goalie 43

 

RFA 2011-2012 Team Position Age
Ryan O’Reilly Colorado Avalanche Center 21
Jamie Benn Dallas Stars Center 23
James Sheppard San Jose Sharks Center 24
Michael Del Zotto New York Rangers Defense 22
Dmitry Kulikov Florida Panthers Defense 22
P.K. Subban Montreal Canadiens Defense 23
Nick Petrecki San Jose Sharks Defense 23
Cody Franson Toronto Maple Leafs Defense 25
Brett MacLean Phoenix Coyotes Left wing 23
Nick Palmieri Minnesota Wild Right wing 23

While the St. Louis Blues are a fairly complete team, if the opportunity to add to the roster came about, I don’t think Doug Armstrong would let it pass.  The 2013 Blues are solid up front with more than enough depth to survive any injuries they may endure, but the back end is a bit more sparse.  In the offseason, the Blues let Carlo Colliacovo and Kent Huskins part ways with the team.  Carlo is best known for being injured (which by the way Detroit, he is out with an injury right now, sorry) so letting him go won’t have much effect on the team.  Likewise, Kent Huskins spent most of his only season with the Blues on the disabled list with injuries, so he won’t be missed much either.  The real question will be in Ian Cole and whether or not he is ready for a full time NHL Position.

Enter the possibility, albeit a very, very, very small one, of the group of restricted free agents.  Del Zotto, Kulikov, Subban, Franson, and Petrecki are all unsigned and will be asking for large contracts that their teams may not have the room for.  None of these teams are going to let their players walk away, but they may consider a trade for another strong performer who won’t cost quite as much plus a draft pick or two.  The Blues have been stock piling draft picks the past few seasons and Armstrong undoubtedly has a plan to use them in upcoming trades.

St. Louis knows that in the offseason of 2013 they will need to resign Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Stewart, Berglund, Russell, Cole, and D’Agostini too keep the young core together.  Also up for new contracts would be McDonald, Langenbrunner, Nichol, and Porter (hopefully they opt to stop giving Porter the idea that he should be on the Blues).  The Blues currently have some of the most room available in their cap space to fill any holes that they see, and with younger more impressive offensive players coming into the big club’s picture, it might be time to move one of the pieces that might not be necessary.

So who might the Blues part ways with?  Well, as much as I personally wish they wouldn’t, Chris Stewart is a great candidate to move.  Although he has the ability to be a top producer in the league, he has yet to show that he can actually deliver.  The Blues gave him a one year prove it contract, but with the shortened season, there might not be much to prove.  If the return item meant another of the NHL’s elite young defensive core to play alongside Pietrangelo or Shattenkirk, I don’t think I would miss Stewart very much at all.

 

Another option might be Patrik Berglund.  Until last year’s playoffs, it was hard to see if Berglund would really progress into the player that he was talked up to being.  There is still some doubt as he often looks sluggish on the ice compared to the rest of the team.  In the same regard, Alex Steen carries a somewhat larger price tag and has only recently begun to develop into the player many thought he could be.  If his play matches last season I don’t see the Blues wanting to move him, but the option is still open as the Blues will need to make room for Schwarz in the near future.

Realistically, someone like D’Agostini could be moved without much hesitation, but would require assets along with him to get the caliber of player such as a Subban or Kulikov.

While I would love to see the Blues pick up one of these great remaining free agents, they almost certainly will not and this is probably the only mention of such an occurrence you will find, but a fan can dream, can’t they?  So while the i’s are being dotted and the t’s crossed, let’s all hope that the Blues are busy thinking of this upcoming offseason and how they will keep this talented team together.  And, as always, LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan

Tags: RFA St. Louis Blues Trade

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