The St. Louis Blues need some help in freeing up cap space. They cannot look to the desert dogs for any help.
The St. Louis Blues need to dump some salary. We all know that.
Even if they don’t intend to go all in on Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues need some wiggle room in their cap. The problem is how to go about that.
Most sports have their oddities when it comes to how the team is run. In baseball, for the longest time, the Kansas City Royals were essentially a feeder system for the New York Yankess. The Florida Marlins would build a team every so often, win and then blow it up.
The oddity for the NHL, at least recently, has been the Arizona Coyotes. The joke used to be that if you had a bad contract, especially one on a retired player, the Coyotes would gladly take it off their hands.
The Blues don’t have anybody under contract who won’t be playing in 2020-21, but they do have some contracts they will be looking to put somewhere else. Arizona won’t be open for business this time around as they are suddenly cap strapped.
According to CapFriendly, as of mid-September in 2020, the Coyotes have a little over $1 million in cap space. The issue they have is they have a big name unrestricted free agent and also about five or six spots to fill with that little amount of money.
The CapFriendly Arizona roster lists them as having 17 guys signed. Most NHL franchises have 23, but you might get away with 22.
Taylor Hall is the big name free agent. Despite only playing 35 games, Hall was still the 10th highest scorer on Arizona with 10 goals and 27 points after being traded from the New Jersey Devils.
Maybe Arizona always knew Hall was only a rental. While the Blues have to make deals to keep Pietrangelo, the Coyotes would have to make huge moves to keep Hall and still need to find money to fill out their roster.
The Blues have Vince Dunn as an RFA, in addition to Pietrangelo. They still don’t have the problems Arizona have.
The problem it poses for St. Louis, the more teams that have cap issues, the fewer options you have to make salary deals. I have seen fans mention Arizona as a spot for Tyler Bozak or Alex Steen, as a salary dump, but the Coyotes can’t afford their own players, much less take on one of the Blues’ contracts.
The only way Arizona could help out the Blues is if they are part of a three team deal. Basically, the Blues would swap players and a third team would come in to take a player from the Blues in exchange for draft picks. Even that seems unlikely.
There is little doubt the Blues will still try to find a partner to take some salary off their hands. It just won’t be Arizona.