The St. Louis Blues are in both a position of strength and weakness when it comes to their salary cap beyond 2020. However, looking at some familiar faces might give them some options.
When it comes to the St. Louis Blues roster for beyond 2020, the outlook is a bit strange. They have so many big names locked up that you know they’ll be good.
However, salary cap restraints make it all the more likely their captain, Alex Pietrangelo, will head elsewhere. There are reports of him staying, but those are based on very little. Put your money on him being elsewhere.
While there will not be much money to spend, that does open up a roster spot or two on the blue line. There are a couple ex-Blues that should at least have the tires kicked on.
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Edmundson was making $3.1 million on a deal he signed with the Blues before being traded to Carolina. It seems unlikely he would want a paycut.
However, reality is that Edmundson’s 2019-20 doesn’t automatically require a raise either. He had seven goals, which tied a career high, and 20 points, which was a new best and would bolster his side for more money.
However, he set a new career high for turnovers too, which was already becoming an issue while with the Blues. He had fewer hits than any season other than 2017-18 and fewer blocks than any other season than his rookie year.
His offensive point shares went up, his defensive point shares were down and his expected plus/minus was a career worst. Basically, Edmundson breaks even.
So, the Blues best hope would be around $2.5 or $3 million with him. That’s based on performance and age.
Another former Blues defender is also a free agent. He might be more affordable too.
Shattenkirk has not been the same player since leaving St. Louis. He had an awful run with the New York Rangers and rebounded a bit with eight goals and 34 points in a partial season with the Lightning.
His slightly dwindling numbers as well as being 31 now and 32 when the next season rolls around would benefit the Blues in negotiations. However, even this addition seems unlikely.
In a recent mailbag, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic said the Blues were not likely to show any interest in Shattenkirk. Apparently, the breakup between the two was more acrimonious than we even thought at the time.
Still, it would be interesting to see both of these guys report back to St. Louis in the right situations.
If Pietrangelo left, but you added these two, your defensive core doesn’t take a hit. It’s not addition by subtraction, but you still bring in some decent players.
On the left side, you have Marco Scandella fitting in with Parayko. Then you can put Edmundson with either Faulk or Shattenkirk and Dunn with the other. Carl Gunnarsson and Robert Bortuzzo would rotate in to keep guys fresh.
That’s a solid top six unit for the blue line. The only qualm would be who plays defense since Dunn and whomever he plays with on the right would both be offensive D-men.
Still, one can dream.
Beyond the Shattenkirk breakup, this won’t happen for several reasons. Most notably, the Blues don’t have $5 million or more to spend unless I’m not reading their projected salary cap space right.
On top of that, adding both Edmundson and Shattenkirk would likely give the Blues eight NHL defensemen. Teams rarely have more than seven unless there is an injury situation going on.
You could try to move Gunnarsson, if for no other reason to respect his efforts given to the team and give him a chance to start elsewhere instead of riding the bench. That would be hard to pull off too.
Regardless, the Blues have to pursue all options. They’ve done that plenty of times and Doug Armstrong has pulled some rabbits out of his hat just when we thought there were no options.
Don’t hold your breath on either of these guys putting a Blues jersey on again. It would still be smart for St. Louis to at least kick the tires on both players though.