The St. Louis Blues seem unlikely to make any hockey trades in the 2020 offseason. However, a deal brought up by a writer makes more sense than you might think.
Though it always makes a splash to discuss trades and throw wild speculation out there about the St. Louis Blues making some blockbuster deal, it often does not happen. It might actually be less likely to happen before or at the 2020 NHL Draft, but Doug Armstrong has been known to pull an Ace from his sleeve now and again.
While this one is not based even on a rumor, but mere fun speculation, The Hockey Writers brought up an interesting deal. In their proposed trade, the Blues would send Alex Steen, Nikita Alexandrov and a 2020 third-round pick to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Kyle Palmieri.
Now, this particular trade, were it to happen, would not factor in to the Alex Pietrangelo situation. It would essentially be a hockey trade, which will likely be rare this offseason, for any team.
Palmieri has a cap hit of $4.65 million for 2020-21. Steen’s cap hit is $5.75. So, you do save around $1 million and every penny might count if you sign Pietrangelo, but it’s not a significant move from a cap standpoint.
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However, it would benefit the Blues. Firstly, you get younger as Palmieri is 29, though he’ll be 30 early in the season coming up. Steen is 36, though.
You get more scoring, which is something the Blues need an upgrade in regardless. Palmieri found his groove with the Devils after struggling a little with the Anaheim Ducks.
He scored 30 goals in his first season in New Jersey, 2015-16, and has averaged in the mid-20’s for goals every year after that. Steen has not scored 20 goals since 2014-15.
For a comparison, Palmieri has 175 career goals in 561 games. Jaden Schwartz has 146 goals in 520 career games.
There are other factors such as length of service and Schwartz’ injuries, but that shows you they are similar scorers with Palmieri slightly in the lead. The one thing Schwartz does better is pick up assists.
Still, Palmieri is a right-handed shot. That is something the Blues have very few of up front and they are thin on true right-wing players too.
Losing Steen is not a terrible blow, other than his popularity in the locker room. Steen has proven to be a very versatile player, still providing production in a reduced role, but in a vacuum, this is acquiring a middle-six forward (second or third line, likely) for a bottom-six forward, who is six years older.
Losing Alexandrov might hurt, but we don’t know what he’ll be yet and might not know for quite some time. He has yet to turn pro, just completing his third season with the Charlottetown Islanders of the QMJHL, though he was on a career pace before the league shut down.
Additionally, the Blues aren’t in the best spot to be getting rid of highly rated prospects. Alexandrov is their fourth-rated prospect, though their entire system has fallen to 20th in the league since the Blues have pulled up most of their prospects to the NHL and included draft picks in several trades.
That makes the draft pick a little more difficult to get rid of too, but sacrifices have to be made.
If the Blues made this deal, they’re acquiring a solid, consistent scorer. He’s not going to lead your team in goals or points, but he’s going to provide offense at a fair contract price.
The other downside is, though he’s on a fair contract now, it’s only for one more season. The Blues are already considering the prospect of losing Schwartz since he’s likely to want a raise. It seems unlikely Palmieri would be willing to stay in the $4 million range if he’s scoring goals at a similar pace to Schwartz and already being paid less.
Nevertheless, in the short term, this deal would make the Blues better and younger. That would have to be something Armstrong would consider, should this deal come across his phone.
Again, this is not a rumor, just discussion about a proposal put forth by another writer. It is an interesting proposal, though, and the likeliest of the one out of the four proposed in the linked article.
There are some other ones listed in there, but you’ll have to check them out for yourself. They were a little too off the wall to discuss here.