St. Louis Blues Free Agent Market Has Been Set For Offseason

The St. Louis Blues are in need of some changes to their 2017-18 roster lineup, whether that comes via free agency or a trade. If it comes the way of free agency, it may not come cheap.

The St. Louis Blues have a few ways to improve their roster come 2018-19. They can hand the team over to some very talented youngsters and hope they can learn on the fly.

St. Louis can also look to trade some of their pieces away for more known commodities. Or, the Blues can try to add some scoring punch via free agency.

The last one is a little easier to navigate the waters, but that does not mean those waters won’t be deep. We now know where the bar is set for free agency.

Evander Kane, a name that was linked to the Blues quite often during this past season, has re-upped with the San Jose Sharks. After being traded to the west coast prior to the trade deadline, Kane got enough of a taste that he decided he liked what the Sharks had to offer.

What the Sharks could offer, in terms of money, was seven years and $49 million. That basically sets the bar for what is to come in free agency.

Before we really dive into the free agent part of it, this basically makes Vladimir Tarasenko‘s contract look like a steal. For only $500,000 extra per season, you get around 10 extra goals and almost 20 extra points.

For free agency, it is going to make things difficult for the Blues. It basically forces the Blues to pay around $7 million or more for whoever they might be interested in.

Kane is going to get that number and he’s only eclipsed 50 points twice in his career. He’s never scored 30 goals in his career. Most of his seasons have been in the low to mid-20’s for goals and 30’s or 40’s for points.

Paul Stastny was getting $7 million per year. He never scored more than 50 points until this season under that contract. He’ll be a free agent, by the way. So, he might actually want that same amount of money even though nobody thinks he is worth it.

James Neal and James van Riemsdyk are listed as two of the other top free agent forwards in this year’s free agent class. They will probably want a similar amount of money per year.

Neal is older than Kane, so he won’t command the years. He has averaged more goals per year the last few seasons though, so he will not come cheap.

van Riemsdyk is coming off a career season in goals and has averaged more goals per season than Kane as well. He is going to command top dollar too.

Then, you have John Tavares. He’s got more goals and points than any of those names. He may end up breaking someone’s bank and ask for something around $10 million per season. There are likely teams that can afford that at the moment, but that will make any future moves to improve your team incredibly difficult.

The issue is that $7 million doesn’t buy what it seems like it should. In my mind, you should get a Tarasenko type of performer for that amount of money.

Apparently that money only gives you around 50 points if you are lucky and some streaky scorers.

Also, the Blues don’t have a ton of space. They have money to spend, but CapFriendly puts it around $12 million. St. Louis has about eight slots that need filling. That will eat up a good amount of that space.

If you pay Tavares $10 million or even nine, you are not going to get seven other players for $2-3 million. Or, at the very least, you won’t have many quality players for that little.

So, as I stated a week or so ago, the trade route might be the Blues better option. It stinks thinking about having to give someone up, but to improve the team it might be the easier route to take.

The Sharks think Kane is worth that money and the Blues thought Stastny was worth it. For goals, perhaps Kane is worth it. From an overall standpoint, I would expect more out of my $7 million if I had that much.

So, the Blues are going to have to pony up if they want the so-called big fish. There will be steals to be had, but fans want headline makers and the Blues do need top-line players. Those are not going to be cheap now that the bar has been set.