St. Louis Blues: Would A Ryan Reaves Reunion Benefit Blues?

If the St. Louis Blues lack anything on their roster right now, it is an established enforcer. Would a Ryan Reaves reunion make sense for St. Louis?

Though the St. Louis Blues did not have an established enforcer, they did have players that resembled somewhat of a playstyle comparable to Ryan Reaves, but should they explore reacquiring him?

The Blues have had a history of being a tough, gritty team that can wear out opponents over a 60-minute stretch. One of the best examples of this was Reaves and what he was able to accomplish in his seven years wearing the note.

Reaves was traded away in 2017 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a trade that involved bringing Oskar Sundqvist and a first-round pick to St. Louis. The Blues eventually used that first-round pick to draft Klim Kostin.

Reaves, however, did not last long in Pittsburgh. He played in 58 games for the Penguins before being traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in a three-team trade at the trade deadline.

In short, the Golden Knights acquired Reaves, Derick Brassard, and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

Before we get into whether or not a trade for Reaves would be worth it, let’s explore what it would cost.

Reaves is 32 years old and is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed after the 2017-18 season. The former Blue is owed $2.775 million this year before earning unrestricted free agent status next offseason.

Despite only being in the league two years, Vegas has every intention of competing every year. Like the Blues, I would imagine the Golden Knights are happy with the way their roster is constructed.

The only way I see a trade happening involving Reaves would be if he were dealt in the middle of the season if Vegas is struggling and in need of help.

The price tag for Reaves does not figure to be high. The 32-year-old would fall into the ‘rental’ category and would likely draw a late-round draft pick in return for his services.

Theoretically, the Blues would be able to meet the price tag for Reaves. The question, however, is whether or not they can afford his salary. There is still a long way to go before the puck drops on October 2, but as it stands today, St. Louis has just over $7 million in cap space.

The team still needs to sign restricted free agents Joel Edmundson and Oskar Sundqvist to deals before they can explore any other options, including the possible return of Pat Maroon.

If Maroon comes back to play for the Blues, then this whole argument is invalid. In no world do the Blues need both Reaves and Maroon on the same team, they are too similar of a player to justify bringing them both to St. Louis.

Let’s imagine for a moment that Maroon goes elsewhere. Reaves in 2019 scored a career-high nine goals and netted 11 assists en route to a 20-point season. The former fifth-round pick by the Blues had never posted more than 13 points in a season before putting up 20 a year ago.

This could be a fluke. Reaves could go back to his career norm of 10 points a season and still contribute in other areas, and if Reaves continues to score, Vegas would be more inclined to keep him.

Even if Reaves defaults back to a non-existant offensive player, the Blues could still use his big body on the team.

St. Louis has players willing to throw their bodies around, but none like Reaves. We saw players like Sammy Blais, Robert Bortuzzo, and Maroon get into the occasional scrap, but they were not blowing kisses to the other bench afterward.

In a game that is getting faster, and leaner, the Blues still found a way to win with slower bodies who were able to protect and control the puck below the red line, and Reaves can fit that mold.

The Central Division is one of the heaviest divisions in the entire league, and if the Blues are unable to bring back Maroon and are able to maneuver around Reaves’ $2 million cap hit, I would be all for bringing him back as a rental.