It’s funny how time, even a brief amount, can completely change your opinion. If you had said an expansion team would claim Oskar Sundqvist a few seasons ago, most fans would not have batted an eye and some might have rushed him out of town.
Sundqvist was an afterthought inclusion in the trade that sent Ryan Reaves to Pittsburgh. He showed absolutely nothing in half a season with the Blues in 2017-18. One goal and five points did not even seem worthy of a fourth line role.
Then, he had a breakout season in 2018-19. 14 goals and 31 points were only half the story as Sundqvist managed to become a physical player and a very good defensive player as well.
He was on the path to another personal best in 2019-20, prior to the pandemic. He had 12 goals in 57 games.
While the numbers were not astounding, perhaps his absence after an injury, and then a season-ending injury shortly after that, proved how valuable he was to the Blues. The team’s depth was severely challenged and it felt like there were far too many players in roster spots they were not meant for, mainly due to Sundqvist not filling that void.
So, why would the Blues want to get rid of him? They would not. But, he is still a player you could likely afford to lose more than your true core players.
Fans cannot think of exposing a player as wanting them gone off your roster. It’s easy for social media or talk radio to just throw the current unpopular name out there, but the truth is the Blues don’t want to lose any of their players for nothing.
Out of the three listed, Sundqvist would probably hurt the most. He can play center or wing and can play anywhere on the second, third or fourth line and fit in just fine.
He is a proven playoff performer now as well. He had four goals and nine points, many of them in the clutch, during the 2019 playoffs.
If he was taken, the Blues would free up $2.5 million. Given how close they are to the cap already, plus needing room for raises for guys like Robert Thomas or Jordan Kyrou, every penny will count from a bookkeeping standpoint.