The St. Louis Blues went from sellers to buyers quickly as the NHL trade deadline approached. They now look very smart for basically standing pat.
When the NHL trade deadline came around, the Blues were looking into adding pieces since they had turned things around so much. Their only problem was that the Blues did not have a lot of currency for said purchase.
Most teams are looking to sell UFAs for draft picks and or young talent that is signed for a couple of years. We don’t want to trade young talent for a rental player and the first and fourth round picks are gone.
If you read any of my posts from 2018, first of all, thank you and secondly sorry, you probably have realized my prognostications for Blues immediate future did not hold up well. No matter how well I thought I researched them and used stats and facts to support them, they seemed to not matter.
The biggest miss being teams out of the playoffs at Thanksgiving stay out. Right now not only are the Blues in, but they are also third in Central Division, and knocking on the door for second place. The next being that after Jake Allen, the goalie cupboard was empty. Lastly, the reports of the demise Jay Bouwmeester‘s skills have been severely premature.
Never before have I been so happy to be wrong about so many things in my life. Just don’t tell the wife.
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I revel in the Binnsanity of each win, even if he doing it just to spite me. I like it even more that it confounds the national hockey media even more, but I digress.
So, given my past results, I thought I would I would hold off on making any trade predictions, researched or even just wild guesses. I did peruse the web to see what the hockey pundits were saying about the Blues trade options. As usual, the national hockey media did not have a lot to say about the Blues as buyers or sellers.
The consensus thought of whom the Blues would trade for was Marcus Johansson, of the New Jersey Devils. That would have made sense if the thought was David Perron and or Braden Schenn will be out for a prolonged period of time, including the beginning of the playoffs, which did not happen.
It looked as though Doug Armstrong would keep his powder dry and roll with the team as currently constituted. Not a bad decision considering the danger of disrupting team chemistry when making trades, or trading for somebody who gets hurt in his first game. I’m looking at you, Mats Zuccarello.
But at the last minute, Army confounded us all when he traded a 6th round draft pick for Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto was 2008 first round pick of the New York Rangers and has most recently played for the Ducks. With Carl Gunnarsson out he added needed depth at D especially in case of more injury.
He is the type of defensemen the Blues love a big, rangy offensive-minded player. I personally would like to see them acquire some rugged, stay at D men in the future to pair with the puck-rushing players; but still Mr. Armstrong refuses to consult with me before making these or any moves.
Unless Army plans on restocking the draft cupboard via offseason trades, it will be a quiet draft for the Blues this year. Having already traded their first and fourth-round picks, they now lost their sixth. Next year’s NHL draft is supposed to be a deep one, especially at the center position, where the Blues are still a little thin.
Armstrong could use some of the 2020 UFAs to trade for these picks, especially if he could convert one into a number one pick. Of these UFAs, Alex Pietrangelo and Schenn are the two that would garner the most in return and Petro’s $1.5 million greater cap hit would make him the logical choice, especially considering The Blues don’t have the cap space to sign everybody.
Then, there is whole goalie issue. Allen is signed for 2 more seasons at a $4.3 million per cap hit. That is way too much for a backup goalie. Jordan Binnington is an RFA at the end of the season, so you have to assume he is going to get a much-deserved pay raise. If they are keeping him.
That is the major rub in this situation. Is Winnington for real or is he a flash in the pan? He was bottom of the depth chart and on loan to the Providence Bruins in the 2017-18 season. So, the Blues were not expecting him to be part of the NHL club’s plans.
There might be a fan revolt if they did not sign him or signed him and traded him. Do you package Allen with somebody to get a legitimate backup goalie, a high draft pick, and free up cap by getting rid of Allen’s salary?
By freeing up some cap space with a trade or two this summer, Army could then fill any holes in the lineup via free agency. There are some very intriguing UFAs that will potentially be on the market this offseason. Artemi Panarin is one of the most attractive free agents out there.
I think that pairing him with his countryman, Vladimir Taresenko could create an even higher octane line than one Vladdy is on now. I know that the Blues have a lot of young talent coming up but that does not always pay immediate returns nor is it a given, so addingg a player of Panarin’s caliber never hurts.
Armstrong did the right thing by keeping his powder dry at the deadline but it will mean a busy offseason for him and for people like me who speculate on what his next move might and or should be for the Blues. The latter is much more fun and I am still waiting for that call Army.