Whether the St. Louis Blues make a move prior to the trade deadline or not remains to be seen. The rumor mill is churning, making plenty wonder if there’s fire with all this smoke.
The St. Louis Blues are making their calls and doing their scouting prior to the NHL’s trade deadline. Whether they make a move or not, you cannot say they are not doing their due diligence.
The addition of Derick Brassard is something new. The discussion of actual names that could depart is a big departure from the Blues normal rumor mill as well.
Normally there is a lot of talk about who should go. However, as far as the Blues go, you don’t normally see names actually leaking from the front office.
What gives a little more weight to these rumors is the fact it comes from Korac. He is the team’s beat writer for NHL.com, so you figure he is well informed.
Taking the Blues names first, it should be no surprise that Patrik Berglund or Vladimir Sobotka are listed. They’re just good enough and inexpensive enough to draw interest from other teams. They’ve underachieved enough, either this year or in their careers, for the Blues to be willing to part ways.
Berglund missed a good chunk of the year due to shoulder surgery in the offseason. After a decent start, Berglund has disappeared again. He only has eight goals and 14 points in 36 appearances.
Sobotka has done more than many thought he could. He’s got nine goals and 24 points in 60 games. It’s great that he’s played in every game, but his scoring is not as good as it should be since he’s playing in the top-six most nights and he’s not as physical as he once was.
There are some other names that the Blues should be interested in getting rid of. Alexander Steen should be up there. His offense is not great as it was and he’s not been the defensive force he used to be.
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Dmitirj Jaskin could go as well. His value might not be that great however.
Switching to the Senators, there is almost nothing to separate them.
Hoffman has 16 goals and 39 points in 56 games. Brassard has 16 goals and 32 points in 54 games. The numbers are almost identical with the slightly puzzling fact of the winger having more assists than the center.
So, if you’re a Blues fan, who do you pick? In terms of how they’re playing this season, there isn’t much to pick from.
Hoffman has averaged 27 the last three seasons. Brassard is a much streakier scorer, but had 60 points with the Rangers just three seasons ago. He’s never quite clicked as well with Ottawa.
The Blues could use either one. Hoffman’s presence gives you a legitimate scorer on the second line, which allows you to put Vladimir Tarasenko on the first line again.
The addition of Brassard gives you more options at center. You can pair him with Tarasenko on the second line and see if there’s chemistry there. You could also use him as a third line center to give you even more depth or you can push Paul Stastny to that spot to help prop up the underwhelming third line wingers.
Hoffman has the slight edge off the ice. He’s two years younger (28) and has an extra season on his deal, which runs through 2019-20. Brassard is 30, not old at all, but will be a free agent after the 2018-19 season.
Both earn $5 million. Brassard is less expensive at $5 million against the cap. Hoffman will cost you a little more at $5.18.
At this point, either would be a good addition to the Blues. Hoffman might be a better fit, but Brassard might cost you less as far as how much you’re giving up.
If it were up to me – thank goodness it is not – I’d lean toward Hoffman. He’s younger, locked up for longer and has more scoring potential.
On top of that, the Blues have a decent amount of centers in the system. Hoffman’s presence would not hinder any of them getting a shot in the next couple years.
Additionally, the Blues might be able to keep his price down due to age. Some teams might be hesitant to give a hefty raise to a 30 year old.
Regardless, the Blues are wise to be looking into these guys. Either one would automatically be the fourth leading goal scorer on the Blues.
Either one’s addition would not be a desperation move either. The Blues are not looking for a rental piece to put them over the hump this season. They need someone to help them now and down the road.
Still, don’t get too attached to these names. They might fit, but there are plenty of other teams that want them and might be able to pay more for them.