The St. Louis Blues are a budget team and everyone knows it. So how can the Blues expect to resign restricted free agents Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jake Allen, Kris Russell, and still manage to stay well below the cap? The short answer is that they probably can’t. So what is there to do? Well, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong could try calling up the Ottawa Senators.
Recently Bryan Murray, GM of the Ottawa Senators, was quoted in the Ottawa Sun as saying,
"We have to score more goals. We have to find a way to create a little more offence. That may mean trying to find a player out there who will do that."
Sounds a lot like what the Blues said at the end of their season. In fact, Armstrong joking asked all GM’s in the league to please call him about sending the Blues a 30 or 40 goal scorer, but the issue might not be with the players. Many people believe that David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Berglund, and Stewart could all be much bigger contributors in other cities. If the Senators really are willing to part with younger skilled players for scoring today, maybe the Blues should take them up on their offer.
Senators Coach Paul MacLean went on to say,
"It means a lot of things: It could be a scoring winger, a defenceman, a centreman, but we want players that have size and speed and good skill at whatever position we can get them at is what I would think. I don’t think there’s one specific need, but if we can get one anywhere I think that would be a great addition."
May 5, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators centre Mika Zibanejad (93) shoots on Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) in the first period in game three of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Mika Zibanejad is a talented young center who has yet to completely blossom. What is the St. Louis Blues’ biggest cause for concern? Lack at center. So what would it take for the Blues to try and steal Zibanejad away from the Sens? As much as I love Chris Stewart, he may be the piece that would be able to get the Blues the swap. He is big and has the speed and skill that MacLean would like to see his team gain. Plus, Daniel Alfredsson is most likely retiring at the end of this season and the Senators will be looking for someone to play alongside of Jason Spezza. If the Blues were willing to let Stewart go, both teams would benefit from the situation. The Blues are packed full of upcoming right wingers who have the potential to score with Vladimir Tarasenko, Ty Rattie, Dmitrij Jaskin and the current roster holders of T.J. Oshie and David Backes. Parting with Stewart to pick up a skilled, future first line center would be a huge benefit to the Blues, but would the Senators take that trade?
May 8, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Chris Stewart (25) takes a shot against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in game five of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
It would be a hard trade to swallow for both teams. Stewart has a lot of upside for the Blues. He was picked up in a big trade and was the major piece coming to St. Louis. With the emergence of Shattenkirk it is not as hard to move him, but he was still a big pick up. Now, after two full seasons in St. Louis, Stewart is in his best shape but the fans have a hard time forgetting his 2011-12 season.
Zibanejad was a 6th overall pick in 2011 for the Senators. He hasn’t had enough time to mature into a big NHL role, but he is still a big part of the Senators team. Perhaps his lack of production has to do with who and where he is playing. Seen as a piece that would be in Ottawa for a long time, Murray would have to really believe Stewart was the piece he was looking for to make the trade, but it might just be a good fit.
Blues fans, and Ottawa fans, what do you think? Would you swap Stewart for Zibanejad? Is that a move that could help both teams? Let us know in the comments below or head over to Facebook and share some insights.
LET’S GO BLUES!