The St. Louis Blues have some serious decisions to make as the annual trade deadline approaches. Fans need to start coming to grips with the idea that the team may do nothing.
The St. Louis Blues are in a precarious position right now. They are sliding out of the playoff picture and clearly need additional help. However, they are also clearly not a championship contender this season, so how much do you want to give up to risk your future?
The one main question we have to ask ourselves is whether the Blues standing pat at the deadline would really be such a terrible thing. Yes, it would be incredibly frustrating, but not doing anything might send as loud a message as anything.
There are so many variables going around such as how we rate the prospects and what immediate impact any deals could have. You also have to weigh the potential of bringing in a player now against waiting until the summer.
With all that in mind, I think it is quite likely this team does nothing at the deadline. As frustrating as it will be, it might not be the worst thing.
From a prospect perspective, I can actually understand not doing anything. The Blues have several talented players in the pipeline.
Klim Kostin, Tage Thompson, Robert Thomas, Jake Walman and Jordan Kyrou are all guys that have the fans talking. Are you really willing to give up on one or more of them for a player that might be gone after a few months or a year at most? There is always the chance of re-signing, but if I have any issue with Doug Armstrong, it is his track record with extensions.
The argument for making a deal is clearly taking known production of a current NHL player over the potential of players that might never become what you want. That makes sense, but cost control is very important as well.
If those guys came up to the NHL at a staggered rate, then you have probably five seasons or more of cost controlled talent. Despite some injury woes, the Blues have that now with Colton Parayko, Joel Edmundson and Robby Fabbri.
Standing pat also lets the current group that will be back next season know they have to fix their own issues. You’d tell the players no bail out is coming and the stuff you’re producing on the ice is not good enough warrant a push.
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Additionally, you might be able to get more help in the summer. Whether you re-sign him is another issue, but you have at least part of Paul Stastny’s $7 million coming off the books in the summer.
John Tavares is the biggest name becoming available this summer. Evander Kane is a name mentioned with the Blues at the deadline, but why not keep your prospects and just sign him this offseason? Pat Maroon, James Van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak, and Michael Grabner are all names the Blues have been linked to over the last few seasons and will be available. David Perron is also a free agent if they wanted to go back in that direction.
If you wait until the summer, you’re also less likely to get fleeced. The Blues made their best deal in recent memory, involving Brayden Schenn, at the draft. Those same types of trades tend to cost much more at the deadline. It might be smarter to wait to make a deal during the summer than now.
Last, you simply have to ask how much a trade will really change things for this season. Even if the Blues got a Mike Hoffman, he’s not going to be the difference between a first round exit and a Stanley Cup run.
If you give up too much of the team’s future just to get Hoffman or a player like him, have you actually improved this team for when their true championship window opens? Maybe if you can sign Hoffman past his current deal, but there is no guarantee of that.
I’d rather they see what they have in these kids and then find supplemental players when the Blues are clearly on the cusp.
Believe me, I’ll be upset if this team does absolutely nothing at the deadline. There is a certain group of players that need to be jettisoned, though the names differ fan to fan.
However, the future of this team seems more important than the present. Teams have backed into the playoffs and won, but this team doesn’t seem set up to do that.
If deals are made and the Blues could have easily afforded the upgrades, then we can be upset. Until that time, the prices seem extraordinarily high for trades right now. Not doing anything might actually be best. Now, I’ll prepare for the eventual firestorm of hate since this will be a highly unpopular opinion.