WHO WOULD THE ST. LOUIS BLUES BE INTERESTED IN TRADING?
The St. Louis Blues are a team that needs to be shaken up. With the entire second line on the injured reserve and a defense that looks more lethargic than they have since the years of Mike Kitchen, the Blues are likely candidates to turn to the trade mill to improve their roster.
St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is great at making moves quietly, but has been involved in some big rumors as of late. Most recently it was said that the Blues are interested in Philadelphia Flyer’s winger Daniel Briere, but it is believed that the asking price is too high. While any news you hear in the media is probably just speculation, Armstrong has to set priorities to improve his team and make them a contender once again.
So who would the Blues be willing to let go of during the shortened season and who would be more likely to be moved? While there are no players in the league that are untouchable, every GM has their price, there are some that are more likely to be moved. Upcoming free agents are often looked to be moved if their current team does not see them fitting into the team’s future.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
The St. Louis Blues will have a busy offseason in 2013. With seven players becoming unrestricted free agents, who might the Blues be willing to move?
UFA’S THAT WON’T BE MOVED
Jamie Langenbrunner is currently sitting out this season after having hip surgery. While the St. Louis Blues hoped that Langenbrunner would be the veteran presence in the locker room that they needed, it appears that he is going to be more of a coach than a player. No team is going to make a move for a veteran player that is likely done with his career and I think the Blues will want to be loyal to Langenbrunner and possibly offer him a role on the coaching staff moving forward. Don’t look for any news about Langenbrunner being moved the rest of his career.
Wade Redden was picked up by the St. Louis Blues after being bought out by the New York Rangers. For the St. Louis Blues it was a low risk high reward situation that saw the Blues add a veteran presence to their blueline without having to spend to get it. Redden hasn’t been great this season, but he also hasn’t been awful. The Blues will likely stick with Redden throughout this season as the 7th man on the blueline and let him find a new home come next season. While there may be some interest in Redden from other teams, no one is going to be willing to pay the price that the Blues would be asking as Redden’s major role is mentoring Pietrangelo, not necessarily his game on the ice.
UFA’S THAT ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE MOVED
Feb 20 2013; Denver, CO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Andy McDonald (10) passes the puck during the first period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Andy McDonald hasn’t been a healthy player for the St. Louis Blues. He is prone to injury and is often sidelined for long timeframes. Some fans may want to see the Blues move McDonald to get someone who would be a constant in the lineup, but the issue is what is McDonald worth? When healthy, Andy Mac is one of those guys for the Blues that you rely on night in and night out. He is just under a point-per-game in his career with St. Louis and is a leader on and off the ice. To replace McDonald would take a lot, but the asking price for him is probably higher than he is worth. His significance to the Blues is worth more than his price on the trade market. Still, don’t count out the Blues looking to move McDonald if they get the right offer.
Scott Nichol has been a great fourth line guy for the Blues. While he often gets overlooked, he is a great faceoff guy and his physical game is one that energizes the Blues. He does not carry a lot of value with himself, a team looking for the extra boost to make a run for the cup may see the real value in Nichol. If the Blues got a decent offer for aging center, I think they would take the opportunity to move him, but it won’t be a blockbuster deal of any kind.
Andrew Murray was picked up by the St. Louis Blues this past offseason as a depth guy. While his play in Peoria has been quite good, his value is not very high. With guys like Cracknell and Porter more equipped to be depth players for the Blues and youngsters Phil McRae and Evgeny Grachev able to move up into depth roles, Murray may be an easy player for the Blues to part with. The issue will be finding a team willing to pick him up. If the Blues find a trade partner, the best they could hope for would be a draft pick.
UFA’S LIKELY TO BE MOVED
Mar 3, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues center Chris Porter (32) checks Dallas Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Porter was placed on waivers at the beginning of the season and was not claimed by any teams in the league. Now, with just 20 some games left for each team, Porter is worth more than he was in January. When the Blues called up Cracknell, Murray, and Porter, some Blues fans questioned why guys like McRae and Grachev were called up instead. I think that part of it has to do with GM Doug Armstrong wanting to show their trade value. Porter has been playing very well in the AHL and will have to go through waivers once again when the Blues are healthy. While the Blues could risk the move and get nothing in return, I think Armstrong has a plan to move Porter for a draft pick when Steen, McDonald, and Tarasenko return from injury. Only time will tell, but I say look for Porter to be moved.
Adam Cracknell is in a very similar situation as Porter. Called up and having to pass through waivers to get back to Peoria, Cracknell’s play has been great in the AHL and not bad at all in the NHL. In the couple games he has played in the Blue Note so far, Cracknell has showed a great ability to get the puck on net and his ability to keep up with the speed of the NHL. Look for Armstrong to move Cracknell instead of letting him go for nothing.
Restricted Free Agents
If you thought the Blues had their hands full with seven unrestricted free agents, then you will really think the St. Louis Blues have a lot of work to do when you see that they also have seven restricted free agents that they will need to resign.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS THAT WON’T BE MOVED
Alex Pietrangelo is due for a long term contract and that will be GM Doug Armstrong’s first priority this offseason. While the Blues seem to have limited their contracts to five years with deals signed with David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and David Perron, Alex Pietrangelo could break that mold. Blues fans and management alike want to see Petro in the note as long as possible. The potential that the young star has is only going to show more and more throughout the next few years and the Blues wouldn’t consider trading him unless someone offered way more than his value. Don’t expect to see Petro out of the Note anytime soon.
Kevin Shattenkirk was rumored to be a target of the Philadelphia Flyers, but I don’t think the Blues would take the chance in moving the young blueliner. Shattenkirk is one of the leaders of the Blues defense and won’t be involved in many rumors. Expect Armstrong to lock up Shattenkirk to a long term deal in the offseason as well.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS NOT LIKELY TO BE MOVED
Mar 1, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Chris Stewart (25) takes a shot during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Stewart had a horrible season last year, but that all seems to be in the past now. While Stewart has had his issues while with the Blues, he appears to be on the path to becoming a top 6 winger for a long time to come. The Blues seem to want to stick with Stewart which seems like a good idea, but with Tarasenko and Oshie securing their spots on the right side in the top 6 for the Blues, Stewart could find himself as the odd man out. The value for Stewart on the open market could be relatively high, but don’t count on Armstrong to move him without getting something worthwhile back.
Ian Cole is seem as a partner for Pietrangelo, but the St. Louis Blues coaching staff and management does not seem to be confident in him as of yet. The Blues are known to be looking for a long term partner for Pietrangelo and if the opportunity arose, Cole would be the odd man out. Even if he is not the partner for Petro moving forward, don’t expect the Blues to just give Cole away. They know his value and could be willing to keep him around as his value will only continue to climb.
Patrik Berglund has been great for the Blues this season, but fans have often complained that he looks uninspired from time to time. The effort that Berglund puts in directly reflects how he plays the game, but the Blues might not be willing to move him along unless they can get another top center in return. With the price of Berglund fairly high, it would probably suit the Blues to keep him in the lineup a bit longer.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS LIKELY TO BE MOVED
Mar 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save against St. Louis Blues right wing Matt D
Matt D’Agostini can be a 20 goal scorer and deserves to be a regular in an NHL lineup. The problem with the St. Louis Blues is that they have too much depth for Dags to crack the lineup when everyone is healthy. Given the value that D’Agositini could have, it might be in the best interest for the Blues to part ways with the young winger. If Doug Armstrong could package him with another player to improve the Blues, I think he would do it in a second. Watch to see Dags name in the news, but again, don’t expect a blockbuster trade.
Kris Russell’s play has been less than impressive all season. While he showed flashes of brilliance and offensive ability last season, it may be time for the Blues to part ways with Russell. His value could be rather high as many teams are looking to improve on defense, and given Russell’s youth and ability to join the offensive game, teams could be inquiring about his services. Ken Hitchcock is a fan of Russell and has worked with him in Columbus and St. Louis, but that bond is not strong enough to protect him from being moved.
The St. Louis Blues are a team full of assets. In a deep draft year the St. Louis Blues have all of their own picks as well as a second round pick from the Ottawa Senators and a fourth round pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Looking forward into 2014, the Blues will have another fourth round pick from the Lightening as well. GM Doug Armstrong seems to have piled up draft picks to help the team in the future, but with prospects piling up within the system, the Blues may be willing to move a pick or two. If the Blues are willing to move a first, second, or third round pick, they could add a considerable amount of value to some of the guys they are ready to move. If the Blues make a trade, look for Armstrong to part ways with a pick to increase the value of what the Blues get back.
The St. Louis Blues have a lot of options of who they may be willing to move, but don’t expect Armstrong and company to jump head first into any trades. The management of the Blues is looking to the future and understands that they need to build this team around their current core of players. A rebuilding process is not going to happen despite the lack of intensity the Blues have shown as of late. If any moves are made, expect them to be smaller trades that would enhance the Blues lineup past this season. I don’t think that Armstrong is going to be looking to rent anyone like Jarome Iginla when the Blues are looking to have a great run for the next few years and not just make a push this season.
If you were the GM of the St. Louis Blues, who would you be willing to move? Let us know in the comments below and let us know what trades you would like to see happen.
More as we have it. LET’S GO BLUES!