When the St. Louis Blues take the ice against their division rivals, there are always players you love to hate. Interestingly, in 2021-22, the Blues will have a lot of those familiar faces playing in different sweaters.
Maybe, if the price is right, one of those faces might be wearing a Blues sweater.
Blues should kick tires on Parise or Suter
Whenever you bring up the idea of the Blues, or any team, taking a look at a certain player or not looking at a certain player, it tends to cause division. Some will put their hand to their chin and ponder the possibilities.
The ones on the other side of the equation will throw their hands in the air, call you some obscenity and perhaps go to social media to tell how dumb you are. Regardless, that is just the reaction to all things sports.
However, one of the more interesting bits of news to come out of the NHL in recent days is the Minnesota Wild buying out the contracts of both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. It was surprising because both were brought in at the same time and had been the faces of the franchise for nine seasons.
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Both of them were on big-money deals, with Parise and Suter having a cap hits of just over $7.5 million. Minnesota had them signed for another four seasons.
We can argue the sense of buying them out, since it actually does not save the Wild much cap space beyond the 2021-22 season, but that’s for Wild fans to worry about. Despite the advancing ages of both players, St. Louis should show interest, even if just a little.
If I am Doug Armstrong, the pitch I make to either of these two players is that they can come in on short-term, team-friendly deals in an attempt to win this season because they’re already getting paid by Minnesota. Offer one, or both – I would prefer just one or the other myself – a $1 million contract for one year (maybe two, maximum).
They get the benefit of getting paid a regular salary, in addition to their buyout money, and also the chance for revenge. Suter was rumored to be especially upset by the way the Wild handled the situation.
Nobody expects a 36 year old player to come in and save the Blues. Yet, both still have something to offer.
Not incuding the shortened 2021 season, Parise has still proven to be a 40-plus point scorer. He has never failed to scorer over 20 goals in a season he played 70 or more games. Again, while nobody is going to get overly excited about a 36-year old player, the Blues need scoring and if you can get a player of Parise’s caliber for your third line, you’re in good shape.
Suter could also fill a need. While the defensive corps are better than many fans give them credit for, they have gotten smaller in a hurry. Adding Suter, who is 6’2 and over 200 lbs, would bolster the defensive size and also give Craig Berube and staff more options.
As the team stands today, you almost have to pen Justin Faulk and Torey Krug as your top two defenders. If you add another high caliber defender, suddenly you’re not forced to have Krug on the top pair every game. You can mix and match.
As long as you get him to buy into the concept, you can freely move Suter onto any pairing, from top to third, depending on where you want to slot Krug and Marco Scandella. Flexibility is never bad.
Suter is no slouch offensively either. He won’t score many goals, but even in a slightly smaller role in Minnesota, he was cashing in 40-plus assists. Pair him with Parayko on the second pairing, move Scandella to the third pair for a more defensive minded pair with Robert Bortuzzo and you’re good.
All of this boils down to what these guys are after. If they want a chance to win and decide they’ve already made their money, they could easily fit into the Blues plans.
If you sign them to short contracts, you’re not stunting anyone’s growth because we don’t know if Niko Mikkola or Scott Perunovich are ready. Klim Kostin would still likely have a spot because it seems unlikely the Blues are keeping Vladimir Tarasenko or Jaden Schwartz – one will surely stay, but not likely both.
However, if either one wants more than $2 million or so, you may have to pass. That’s not to say they might not prove worthy of a contract above that amount, but from the Blues perspective, it may be dangerous to spend that much on players where the floor could fall out at any moment.
The Blues still have a window open and bringing in a player, or two, who see their chances dwindling might give everyone enough drive to get back over the hump. If it does not work out, no worries, but Armstrong should at least give one or the other a call.