Overall, I’d prefer the Blues look for guys in their 20’s that they can give healthy contracts to. That said, you have to find players that will help and make the contract fit what they can provide and how long they’re likely to be of service.
So, term and dollar amount would be extremely key if Tomas Tatar came available. Tatar is an interesting case based on expectation vs. reality.
He seemed poised to become a star scoring 29 goals and 56 points in his second full season in Detroit. The goals evened out and the points took a slight dip after that, though Tatar has been a reasonably consistent player.
Outside of a poor season in 2018-19 with Detroit and Vegas, Tatar has been a very consistent scorer. Like many in today’s NHL, he never passed the 30 goal mark, but when you know he’s likely to get you mid-to-high 20’s, that still has good value.
Like David Perron, going to Vegas seemed to click something with Tatar, though Perron had a good year in Vegas and Tatar, not as much. Still, once Tatar went to Montreal, he rebounded his point totals, scoring 58 and 60 points, both career highs, and then 30 points in 2021.
As mentioned, how much he wants and for how long would be a big key to the Blues looking into that. He’ll be 31 when the next season kicks off and he’s coming off a contract that paid him $5.3 million.
He’s a consistent scorer, but how much of a raise could the Blues afford to offer? Much of that would depend on whether Schwartz comes back or not and how much the Blues give raises to their own RFA’s.
Similar to the Palmieri thing, the 2021 playoffs have me all about Phillip Danault. This guy is not about stats, but if the Blues cannot bring back Bozak, Danault can easily fill those shoes.
Offensively, you might actually give a slight nod to Bozak. Danualt will score, but he’s not a goal scorer. He’s a pass first guy and gets most of his points as assists.
However, the responsibility that Montreal has given Danault and how he’s stepped to the plate has impressed me a ton. The guy is just a faceoff machine.
He wins well over 50% of his draws and that was in the regular season. I’m actually very surprised he’s only won 53% of his faceoffs in the 2021 playoffs, heading into the Final. It seemed like he won every draw he took against Vegas.
Again, the points are not there, but he can eat up minutes, wins important faceoffs and is a solid, steady player. He’s only 28 and coming off a contract that paid him just over $3 million. The raise couldn’t be too much higher, but there’s wiggle room there and you get a player that provides all the intangibles that Bozak brought, with a little less point production potential.
If the Blues are looking to add some size up front, Joel Armia might be a name to keep on your board. Like some of the other names on here, he’s not going to light the lamp a ton, but he provides size and still has some skill.
Armia had 16 goals in 2019-20 and his totals have trended in an upward direction, even if only slightly. Even in the shortened season, Armia chipped in seven goals and 14 points in 41 games.
Those numbers aren’t going to impress many, but you’re not bringing him in to play with the top line. Armia would be a guy that plays third line minutes and maybe slides into the fourth line if you get good seasons out of some younger guys that aren’t a lock to make the NHL roster.
Like almost all the names chosen for this list, Armia won’t shy away from the physicality. He’s not going to put you through the wall, but his hit totals are more than respectable.
If nothing else, Armia gives you a bigger body to provide some net-front presence the way Pat Maroon had. Armia isn’t as bulky, but he’s still got a 6’4 frame.
Having another right-handed shot to balance out the plethora of lefties the Blues have wouldn’t hurt either.
He’s coming off a modest $2.6 million contract. As long as the raise was not that much, or not at all, he’d be a good addition for a Craig Berube team.