St. Louis Blues fans will be happy to hear that T.J. Oshie should be back in the lineup on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers, but that means that they have a choice to make. Once Oshie returns the Blues will have to either send a player down to the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL, possibly going through waivers, or make a quick trade.
Send Jake Allen back down to Peoria. Allen not have to go through waivers and carrying three goalies is unnecessary, but the Blues have been relying on Allen thus far. Still, the management of the Blues may believe that the tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott could be enough to keep the Blues winning games and carry them into the playoffs. The problem is, I don’t think they feel that way.
Send Brian Elliott down to the Peoria Rivermen or make a quick move to send him on his way. Brian Elliott is a competitor and last season he showed the immense amount of skill that he has. While the management and fans of the St. Louis Blues seem to have lost faith in Elliott, Andy Strickland still believes that there may be a trade market for him.
Elliott would surely welcome a trade and the opportunity to play, but can the Blues find a trade partner that is willing to take on Elliott and his $1.8 million salary for next year? I don’t think so. More likely, I think that NHL teams are waiting for the Blues to place Elliott on waivers so they can pick him up without sacrificing anything. While he may not be the most appealing goaltender to add, if you can pick him up for nothing it is a low cost option with the possibility of having a high reward. Personally I think that Armstrong will do his best at moving Elliott before he places him on waivers.
Trade Matt D’Agostini. Dags has been an up and down player for the Blues and has shown that he has talent, but he seems to lack the motivation in St. Louis. There were rumors at the beginning of the year that D’Agostini has asked the Blues for a trade before the season started, but GM Doug Armstrong wanted to keep his depth. Without being able to send D’Agostini to the minors without going through waivers, the Blues would need to trade him. While they may not get much in return, a high end draft pick could be worth sending him to a team that could use him.
Send Chris Porter through waivers, back down to the Peoria Rivermen. I am one of the few that cannot stand Chris Porter. I don’t think that he fits into the Blues future and don’t see the point of keeping him around. While Porter has speed and grit, he is quickly aging and has little to prove why he deserves a spot on the roster. One of the many who disagrees with me is Coach Ken Hitchcock who sees Porter fitting into this lineup. Still, don’t be surprised if the Blues risk it and place Porter on waivers.
Trade Kris Russell. There are a lot of teams in the NHL who are looking for offensive defensemen and the Blues could use some space on their roster. Kris Russell has been brilliant at times, but more often than not, he is the odd man out. The Blues have defensive depth to go around, and honestly I would rather have Jeff Woywitka up with the big club than Kris Russell. If Doug Armstrong could get a prospect or a good draft pick for Russell, I think it could help the team in the long run and make more room for Ian Cole on the roster.
Send Ian Cole to Peoria. If the Blues traded Russell, as suggested above, Ian Cole could play on a bottom pairing and get the NHL experience that he needs to become a great defenseman. While many are ready to move on with Cole, he has shown that he can play in the NHL but is not ready to be paired with Alex Pietrangelo. I think the Blues know the value of Cole and could consider moving him, but look for others to be on their way out first unless there is a good offer on the table.
So What Will the Blues End Up Doing
While I am not sure what direction the management of the St. Louis Blues sees this club going in, I think that it is safe to say that some players on the Blues roster are safe. Jaden Schwartz could be potentially sent down without waivers, but the team knows that he is too valuable. Ian Cole should be kept with the big club as the Blues seem to think he just needs more time. Brian Elliott would be great to move, but if there is any injury to Halak or Allen, who becomes the backup? The Blues need another goalie in return if they want to move Elliott. D’Agostini would like to be out of St. Louis and the management could make a deal, but don’t expect it to happen. Doug Armstrong would be more willing to let Dags walk as a restricted free agent this summer than to lose his offensive depth. Kris Russell could be sent down or moved, but for the same reason as D’Agostini, depth, I think the Blues will want to keep him on the roster.
The most likely move is to take the risk and send Chris Porter down to Peoria. The St. Louis Blues may see Porter fitting into their future plans with some veterans leaving the lineup in the offseason, but they can’t risk losing youth or depth, and Porter seems to be the odd man out.
We will soon find out though as the Blues will most likely activate Oshie on Saturday. Stay tuned for more as we have it.
LET’S GO BLUES!