The St. Louis Blues are coming to that point in the season where a major decision must be made. Do they stand pat and hope or do they make a deal and change the future of this team?
The trade deadline is approaching and the St. Louis Blues have some serious decisions to make. They are in a guaranteed playoff spot today, but tomorrow promises nothing.
The Central Division has long been one of the toughest in the NHL and this season is proving to be just that, times ten. Right now, the Central would have five of the eight playoff spots in the Western Conference.
The perennial Cup favorites, the Chicago Blackhawks, are currently in last place in the division. That gives you some idea how tight this race will be down the wire.
That means the Blues are guaranteed nothing. They’ve played the most games of any team in the conference, so every other squad will have opportunities to pass them up given games in hand.
The one thing St. Louis has going for it is being able to play every team in the division twice the rest of the season. That allows the Blues to potentially control their own destiny within the division.
That being said, the current group assembled is not getting it done – not well enough anyway. They need to make a change of some sort.
Right now, despite being third in the division and fourth overall in the conference, there is something missing. The Blues seem to have spent their load at the beginning of the season. We keep saying “if they can just get back to playing that way…”, but it has not and likely will not happen.
For whatever reason, there is something fundamentally wrong with this team right now. Shooters aren’t shooting, defenders are not defending and win or lose, goaltenders are having to put up superhuman efforts to get wins. That’s not how it is supposed to be.
Doug Armstrong has to roll up his sleeves and figure out what kind of trade he can make that will benefit this team and the ones to come. We said the Blues made the right decision to extend his contract earlier this year. Now, he has to show why it was correct.
The biggest reason Armstrong is going to earn his money with a potential deal this season is because of all the moving parts. There is no clear fix for this team.
Despite the constant fan claims, acquiring a goaltender would have little impact. Yes, goaltenders can win you a Cup, but the Blues goalies have been winning them games all season long. Having a Vezina candidate in net wouldn’t change anything happening outside of the blue paint.
Acquiring a defender might help – then again, it might not. For all their flat-footedness and defensive breakdowns, the Blues are still a good defensive team statistically. Only two teams in the Western Conference and three teams overall have allowed fewer goals than the Blues. Considering the Blues have played as many or more games than anyone in the NHL, that’s pretty impressive.
Acquiring a forward makes the most sense. St. Louis is not terrible, but is falling behind when it comes to goals scored. Of all the current playoff teams in the conference, only Los Angeles has scored more but even they are creeping up.
In 2018 alone, the Blues only average 2.6 goals per game. That includes two four goal games, one of which was a loss. Remove those games and the average drops to 2.3. While that number is not terrible, it is not awe-inspiring.
Over the same amount of games, the Blues averaged 3.4 goals per game to start the year. That’s why we were all buzzing about the team. They were scoring goals for fun and doing it without some top names like Alexander Steen and Robby Fabbri.
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
This team actually seems to lose some jump and skill almost every time they got someone back healthy. So what change do you make? Who do you pick up?
We’ve done a few articles with names like Rick Nash, Max Pacioretty, Mike Hoffman, Evander Kane and John Tavares. The problem with every single name on that list is the teams are rumored to want a king’s ransom in return. We are talking multiple picks, a prospect and a roster player.
That is a huge problem for this team. They have talent, but do we really believe they are one piece away? Would adding a top-line winger or center really fix the problem of the third line doing basically nothing this season? The answer is likely no.
It would be a huge boost to the morale of fans, but you might be mortgaging your future – depending on what you dealt away – for an extra round of the playoffs at most.
The answer is likely not a popular one, but a pragmatic one. The Blues need to do a like for like trade. It would be met with the most shrugs by the fans, but might have a better impact on the team.
The Blues are to the point where even the radio announcers were commenting a trade might be necessary to shake their foundations.
If that is the case then you might need to rid yourself of more long standing players as they have done in the past. Maybe you trade a Steen or Patrik Berglund for a player putting up the same numbers on a different team.
The idea would be more to shake up the players still around, while losing no production and possibly gaining some with a new locale for the incoming player. You’d have to give up the least and potentially gain the most.
Whatever the Blues do, it cannot be focused on this season alone. We have no clue what some of the prospects will truly be, but the idea of trading away Jordan Kyrou of Robert Thomas for players that might not fix the depth problem makes little sense.
That’s why they pay Armstrong the big bucks. It is up to him to figure out a deal that makes sense for the team now and for the franchise over the next few years.
It’s sad that we have reached this point. People that read this space regularly know I rarely ever advocate for a trade. However, this team seems to be in need of a constant shakeup.
We saw what a simple coaching change did to last year’s team. You can’t fire the coach every season though and blowing up the team would not have the desired affect that some fans clamoring for it want.
A minor tweak might be all that is needed. A new face and a new voice. We’ll see what happens, but as talented as this team can be, they seem to be headed for the same fate if no change is made.