The St. Louis Blues had somewhat of a busy offseason and deadline in terms of the moves they made. Some resonated with fans and some made them downright mad.
The St. Louis Blues were not the most active team this season, in terms of pure deals made. However, they had to make some difficult decisions at every corner. Some have paid off and some, well some Doug Armstrong might like a do over.
The Blues made plenty of deals, though fans always want more. Sometimes, I wonder if fans would like the European soccer model better where half your roster can be different season to season, if you choose. I digress though.
The Blues started off their offseason having to make the tough decisions about who to protect in the NHL Expansion Draft. They left David Perron unprotected. Like the team he is playing on, his production is quite surprising, even to those that like him.
Last, but not least, in the offseason, the Blues acquired Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia. They traded away Jori Lehtera and his contract.
Then, the Blues wrapped up their dealings by sending Paul Stastny packing. Stastny went to the Great White North and now plays for the Winnipeg Jets.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how each guy is doing.
David Perron is probably the biggest surprise on this list. Nobody thought he was washed up, especially since he had a very solid season with the Blues in 2016-17.
Nobody saw his current run coming though. However, nobody saw the Vegas Golden Knights coming either.
Perron has 13 games remaining in his 2017-18 season. He already has a career high for points.
Perhaps his 62 points should not be so surprising. He did set a Blues career high with 18 goals just last season. However, the amount of assists he has is astonishing.
He has only had 30-plus assists in one season prior to this year. Right now, he’s at 46. That’s a huge jump. His 62 points puts him in a tie for second most on the Knights.
Perron won’t set a new career high for goals. His 28 from 2013-14 in Edmonton is too far out of reach with the short time remaining.
With the Blues struggling to score, fans are, no doubt, wondering why we would not keep him. You have to remember that it was not as simple as protect whoever you want. You had contract issues clouding things.
For example, the Blues had to protect Patrik Berglund because he had a no-trade clause. Some players did not fit the profile for age or games played to be exposed to the draft. So, why not keep Perron and expose Ryan Reaves. Reaves made his way to Vegas anyway.
Well, the Blues clearly had something worked out with Pittsburgh at this time. Had they not, they might have gone that route and Perron could still be here. Instead, the Blues protected Reaves and then pulled the trigger on a trade at the Entry Draft.
Still, it would be nice to have those 60 extra points this season. It should be said that Perron is still a defensive liability.
Despite his points and the glut of goals for Vegas, he’s only a plus-5. Additionally, his Corsi scores are all lower than normal, with a Corsi For % of 48.8%.
Speaking of Ryan Reaves, he has bounced around quite a bit this year. In less than a year, he has gone from the Blues to the Penguins to the Golden Knights.
Reaves started the season in Pittsburgh. The Penguins made the deal at the draft because they wanted a heavy presence to protect their stars. That changed at the trade deadline.
Pittsburgh had some monster deals worked out and part of some multi-team trades, Reaves ended up going to Vegas. It’s kind of funny since it was a choice of whether to protect Reaves or Perron and by the end of the season both are on Vegas.
Reavo has not seen a ton of the ice since being dealt. Due to some injuries he might be in line for more playing time.
Reaves actually had a decent run in Pittsburgh. In 58 games, he had four goals and 8 points. He also set career bests in some of his analytical numbers.
However, he also had a career low in ice time at just over six minutes per game and has a career low with minus-9. His ice time is up in Vegas, averaging around nine minutes and he has an assist too.
Again, fans have to keep everything in perspective. There are so many fans online saying they wish they had Reaves back. He wouldn’t have helped.
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His nine points would not have made a difference. Some point to his leadership abilities. The Blues had a terrible struggle last season prior to the coaching change. Reaves was in that locker room and had minimal impact, not for lack of trying. There is only so much guys will listen to a fourth line player.
Lastly, we cannot fully judge this trade until we see Kostin in a Blues uniform. Kostin has underwhelmed in the AHL, but he’s getting used to the culture. If, in a year or two, Kostin is a top-six forward then the deal is more than worth it. Sundqvist is likely a bust.
This is the one that burns my rear more than the others. When the trade happened, it made sense.
The Blues were freeing up salary, in case they wanted to make other moves at the deadline. They were also getting a first round draft pick, which was a piece they did not have. That gives them the freedom to trade at the draft or make a first round selection.
However, Paul Stastny was not performing up to snuff in St. Louis. I always defended his contract, not because he played like he was worth it, but because it was the going rate at the time. The Blues needed a top center and any team was going to pay $7 million to get Stastny at the time. St. Louis did not overpay.
That said, he never quite lived up to the deal. He went from a 60-point player to the 40’s. Injuries played a part, but he never quite clicked.
Something is clicking now in Winnipeg and it bothers me. I do not begrudge him success. I do dislike the sudden change in effort.
Stastny now has points in every single game he’s played with the Jets. He has two goals and eight points in seven games. Much of that can be attributed to playing with better players, but still.
Making matters worse, Stastny is doing the little things. He has a hit in about 75% of his games as opposed to 57% with St. Louis. His relative Corsi score is way up.
On top of that, he’s going to the front of the net. His very first game in Winnipeg, Stastny was parked in front of the goaltender on a power play.
I get the whole wanting to impress the new teammates and coach, but he almost never did that in St. Louis. That burns me quite a bit that a player that shrunk away from the dirty areas with the Blues is so ready to get there for Winnipeg.
Last, and probably least, we come to Jori Lehtera. I, like so many, were super high on him after his rookie season in St. Louis. It seemed like they had a budding top-line center. What happened after that is anyone’s guess.
Lehtera turned into a bust and somehow Doug Armstrong swindled the Flyers into giving up a top-six forward for him. Things have not improved from their perspective.
Brayden Schenn is second on the Blues in goals with 24 and tied for the team lead in points with 58. Two more goals and points and he’ll have career highs.
Meanwhile, poor Jori. He’s finally gotten a little groove late in the season, but it’s been a rough year.
He’s been a scratch almost as often as not. Lehtera’s played in 52 games so far. He’s only managed three goals and seven points in that time. The Flyers still owe him $4.7 million next year too, if they cannot unload him.
I feel bad for him, really. It was such a relief to drop that contract, but these are people, in the end.
It’s just puzzling how it went so far south for him. The numbers have gone down every single season, but we’ve heard no whispers or rumors of home sickness or injuries or personal problems. Talent does not normally degrade so quickly.
Hopefully he can have some sort of resurgence next season. Clearly the Blues got the better of that deal.
Overall, the Blues actually did fairly well with these. Yes, it would be great to have Perron’s points, but he’ll be a free agent and the Blues likely wouldn’t be able to afford what he’ll cost this summer.
Additionally, if they don’t protect Reaves, they do not get Kostin. We need Kostin to hit in the NHL for this to be worth it, but I still have confidence he’ll be a top-six forward soon enough.
Stastny is a rough one. He’s playing out of his gord, so the deal looks bad. Still, the Blues have $7 million extra to spend this summer and the word going around is Stastny likely would not have re-signed here anyway.
At least the Blues clearly won the Schenn/Lehtera trade. They now have a cost-controlled center who seems to be a consistently high performer. Schenn has also shown himself to be a leader as well, so St. Louis came out all roses with that one.