Rumors have begun circulating on social media about a potentially huge, impacting trade proposed by the St. Louis Blues. However, rumors are just rumors, especially when given context.
Most of the time these articles are used to have a little fun and help vent some frustrations with the season and what not. However, every now and then there is a feeling of being a Public Service Announcement for St. Louis Blues fans. While attempting not to be condescending, because nobody knows everything, there are some important contexts to some rumors going around.
We’ll jump right into it. On social media, there have been some rumors that the Blues are interested in acquiring Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens.
There are so many different layers to this, with fans coming at it from different angles, it might be impossible to cover them all. Perhaps vainly, we’ll try to cover as many as possible.
First, what are the facts. Well, with rumors there are no clear facts, but the main topic is that the Blues offered some combination of a player, prospect and a draft pick or picks.
The inclusions have changed here or there. Some had two draft picks, others only one. One included “Thompson” though that might have been a typo given the player actually mentioned most.
If we take the picks alone, it would depend on what Montreal wants. The Blues do not have a first round pick in 2018 as that is currently held by the Philadelphia Flyers.
St. Louis does have first round picks for the next few years after. However, trading out of the first round in consecutive years is not a great gameplan.
The Blues have already reloaded their farm system pretty well in one or two drafts. Missing out on that same amount over the next two seasons could be detrimental.
The prospect issue is an interesting one. Clearly the Blues are high on Tage Thompson, so it would seem odd to give up on him so early.
The Blues did something similar when trading Lars Eller, which has worked out since his career has been mediocre. Thompson seems to have more upside, though, and can play multiple positions.
The Robert Thomas rumor seems to be a non-starter from my perspective. Who knows what this guy is going to turn into. The team seems ready for him to play a significant role.
From my own sources, all indications are that the Blues are ready to make Thomas their replacement for Paul Stastny. That might not preclude re-signing Stastny to a much lower contract this summer. Nevertheless, the Blues are more than prepared to move on and give Thomas the role, either in 2018-19 or the year after.
It does not make much sense to ship off the player you think will be your number two center. As talented as Price is, if you intend to let Stastny walk, you cannot ship off your center depth.
Then we come to the goaltender issue and this is where St. Louis Blues fans will drive you nuts. With all the complaining about goaltending this year and every year, there were fans basically saying they would not give up Hutton.
There was no context to those statements. There was no mention of salary cap issues or the prospect problem. It was based purely on not giving up Carter flippin’ Hutton (or Jake Allen in one or two cases).
If everything was equal and salaries were not a concern, it is absolutely insane that anyone would turn down a Vezina winning goaltender for a lifetime backup. Additionally, Price is younger – only by two years, but still.
Myself, I love Allen, but if the financials of this deal worked out and Thomas was not the name included, you make this trade.
More from Editorials
- St. Louis Blues Need Kasperi Kapanen To Be On Best Behavior
- Hayes’ Debut And Other Bold Predictions for the St. Louis Blues
- St. Louis Blues Captaincy Is Suddenly A Huge Problem For 2023-24
- St. Louis Blues National Games Cause More Problems Than They’re Worth
- St. Louis Blues Brayden Schenn Has To Be An Impact Player In 2023-24
However, the flip side of the argument is just as mind numbing. After the Allen rumor came out initially, rumors said the it was the Canadiens that countered with Hutton.
There is no way on this Earth that is true. I am grateful for Hutton in Allen’s time of struggle. He has been the ultimate professional and a true teammate as well as a fantastic goaltender the last two years.
However, there is no way – unless the Canadiens are looking to rebuild and dump salary – that Montreal is looking to acquire a 32 year old backup goaltender who is a free agent in the summer. It does not matter what his stats are right now or how hot he has been, Carter Hutton is a backup.
It is not a matter of Ken Hitchcock or Mike Yeo being biased. Doug Armstrong is not plotting against anyone from on high. Hutton has been a backup his entire NHL career because that is what his talents suit best.
Again, unless it is a salary dump, you do not give up a Vezina winning goaltender for a career backup. Unless Montreal is willing to hand the reigns to a couple college goaltenders in the coming seasons, nobody in their system is putting up good numbers right now.
Price…money that is
Lastly, and most importantly, we come to the salary issue. After this season, Price will have a cap hit of $10.5 million and a no-movement clause. That contract runs through 2026, when Price will be 38.
You can take Stastny off the books for next year and give up Thomas or Thompson as well and the Blues cannot afford that. Mathematically it is possible, but not wise.
The Blues are projected to have $13 million in space in 2018-19 right now. Make that $20 million with the removal of Stastny’s contract. However, those projections are based on only 15 roster spots being locked up. If you eat up half your space with one contract, you only have $10 million to spend on nine players.
Yes, the Blues will bring up some inexpensive prospects, but that still gives you next to no wiggle room to add salary for your forwards or give a raise to Joel Edmundson. If you trade Allen, you gain an extra $4 million or so. Trading Hutton gains you no extra space because he is a free agent anyway.
As passionately as some of the points were made, I’m not here to bash the rumors. There may have very well been an offer or something similar made by one team or the other.
Armstrong would be crazy not to contemplate upgrading a position, no matter how much they’ve invested in a certain player. However, it just seems so unlikely on so many levels.
It makes no sense to give up the player you intend to be a cornerstone center. This trade would also reek of the Ryan Miller deal all over again.
Price now is better than Miller was then. The Blues are still in the same spot though. Goaltending can steal you a championship, but the Blues are not one goaltender away. Price will not cure the power play.
Like the Miller scenario, you’d be putting a band-aid on larger problems. You’d also be heaping a ton of pressure on one man and despite the lack of comparable media coverage, players feel that.
Miller clearly felt the weight of an entire city’s expectations on his shoulders after being here five minutes and he could not take it. We are foolish to think the same might not happen to Price.
Then, the financials just do not make sense for the Blues. This ownership group has proven they want to win and will do what it takes, within reason.
They are not, nor are the Blues as a squad, prepared to take on that financial burden for one player and be able to surround them with enough talent to go further than they would with their current group.
It’s fun to speculate and dream. I would love to see Price in a Blues uniform. It just would not have the impact on the team many would hope for.
Goaltender is always the easiest position to say make a switch. That does not always mean it makes the difference.
Perhaps the Blues are interested in moving on from Allen. Maybe they are willing to make a big change. This particular deal, as currently rumored just is not likely to happen, nor should it.