The St. Louis Blues have serious decisions to make regarding their last two free agents to be. One solution might be to seek out help from the east.
The St. Louis Blues have not even completed all their exit interviews yet, so they have not yet even thought about what the offseason holds – the players have not likely thought about that anyway. Nevertheless, fans have already turned their eyes to the offseason and we have to hope Doug Armstrong as well.
The major decision is obviously whether the Blues will attempt to keep Alex Pietrangelo. That, in and of itself, requires a lot of thought.
The Blues have to negotiate with their current captain and figure out what numbers work best. Can the two sides come to terms on length of contract and money in a way that can serve both purposes?
That is trouble enough. The problem is that situation does not exist in a vacuum.
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There is almost no scenario where the Blues can afford both Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn. The only way that might work is to trade so many pieces that you might damage the team’s ability to actually contend.
But, there might be a scenario where the Blues deal Dunn and another piece and don’t get completely robbed in the process. The staff at All About The Jersey helped us out in thinking of an option.
To be honest, the conditions set in their article don’t make much sense since the article was written after Vancouver made the playoffs, but includes a 2020 pick dependent on whether Vancouver made the playoffs.
Regardless, the other portion of the deal would be the Blues receiving prospect Mikhail Maltsev. It’s an interesting inclusion, but not overly eye-catching.
Maltsev only has one season in North America under his belt. He scored 11 goals and 21 points in 49 games in the AHL.
Maltsev is a bigger body at 6’3 and 220 lbs. He would also fill a need on left wing, which is an area the Blues are thin in the depth department.
Mostly, the trade would be beneficial to clear room. The loss of Dunn would not really help financially, since he would technically come off the book but his absence would create space on the roster and the trade of Bozak or Steen clears a little room.
Of course, the Blues would likely still need to make other moves, but it would be a start of around $5 million. That is a better place to start than nothing.
Losing Dunn at this point is only losing the devil we know, so to speak. The Blues essentially have the same type of player waiting to turn pro in Scott Perunovich.
In terms of style of play, the only thing Perunovich might not bring to the table that Dunn has is a willingness to fight. That does not mean Perunovich can’t, but we have not seen that side of him since fighting is illegal in college hockey.
Perunovich is around the same height and weighs a little less than Dunn, but he will get stronger.
At this point, the Blues might as well just go with the less expensive option. Dunn will almost surely want something in the $3-4 million range, if not much more.
While he has become a favorite among many, his defensive deficiencies are showing up far too often. During the Vancouver series, Dunn might not have been a turnover machine, but he gave the puck up in crucial moments and there were far too many that ended up in the net.
Maybe there was an injury we don’t know about, but his compete level in trying to get the puck back was not where you would like it either.
This is not a simple condemnation of Dunn. While he has shown faults, he is still a decent player and will have a decent future.
Nobody should think the Blues should just dump Dunn and good riddance. If his departure helps them keep their top defenseman, it has to be at the top of the list of considerations.
If the Blues could work something with the Devils that would be mutually beneficial, then St. Louis doesn’t have that sting of letting a player walk and getting nothing.
Maltsev isn’t the second coming of any premier player, but he has the physical tools to fit the Blues mold of a bottom-six forward. St. Louis might be in need of depth on those lines if that is where they need to make moves for cap space.
New Jersey needs a defenseman, and according to the linked article, they are especially thin on left defense. Although the utter lack of defensive responsibility on the proposed pairing of Dunn and P.K. Subban would be quite enjoyable to face for many Eastern Conference teams.
Still, this proposal seems fair for all involved. Personally, I would rather not lose Bozak, but choices must be made.
The Blues had their run with the band still together. They will be quite different in 2020-21, but if the moves they make are smart, they can still be contenders.
Choosing Pietrangelo over Dunn is a no brainer. Whether this deal would be enough is another question.