No offense to Kyle Clifford, who actually played quite well, compared to expectations, in the 2021 season and scored more goals than we thought possible, but it made little sense for the Blues to sign him to a two-year deal. St. Louis has prospects that could have used that spot, even if they do not provide the same toughness.
While the likeliest answer is that Clifford would not come without a two-year deal, there is the possibility that the Blues signed him to that contract specifically to give them an easy name to expose. Nobody would ever admit to that, but given the odd nature of the build ups to expansion drafts, nothing is really out of the realm of possibility
Depending on what kind of team Seattle is looking to build, Clifford might not be that high on their list. However, the NHL has likely learned from the mistakes they made with Vegas.
Too many teams exposed guys that were mainly middle-six forwards because they wanted to keep their top lines and their prospects. What happened was Vegas grabbed all those, nurtured the right guys and had depth most long-tenured franchises hadn’t seen in years.
This time around, teams might be much more willing to part with high-character guys, but ones that are not as skilled. So, if Seattle is looking to get some experience and sand paper right away, Clifford might be their man.
If he was taken, it’s not the biggest loss in the world. He was a valuable asset in 2021, but St. Louis can find a replacement if needed.
The Blues have enough depth to absorb a fourth-line player being taken or they can look outside for help. If Clifford did not get taken, the Blues still have a reliable player, with plenty of grit, who understands his role.