The St. Louis Blues did not have the busiest day as the 2022 NHL free agency period began. Plenty of other teams, like Detroit and Ottawa, were more active. Some teams were less active, but made bigger splashes.
However, while Doug Armstrong had some tough choices to make, he made the right ones. Social media will tell you otherwise, but you know the saying about what opinions are like.
Obviously, the tough choice for the Blues was to let David Perron walk away. Despite Perron playing for Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Vegas, this was the first time he had ever signed a contract with a team other than St. Louis.
Perron played in 673 games with the Blues. Like many scorers, he was a streaky player, but was getting better with age.
In his third stint with the Blues, he developed into a steady 20-goal scorer. His best numbers in a Blues uniform came the last three seasons.
What hurts most fans is everyone assumed he was the one staying. We knew the Blues salary cap situation was rough, but the assumption by the vast majority was that Perron was staying and Nick Leddy was out the door.
Leddy was seen as a rental, after all. Yet, Armstrong decided to go the other direction.
The Blues decided that defense was the need and more important. Defense wins championships, as the old saying goes.
What was impressive was the contract that Armstrong worked out with the former Blackhawk and Islanders defender. Leddy was coming off a contract that paid him $7 million in its final year, with a cap hit of $5.5 million.
With the defender only being 31, the wise guess would have been one, final cash in. Instead, Leddy took a bulkier sum up front, with a tier-down at the end and a team-friendly $4 million cap hit per season.
The one sticking point might be awarding him a no-trade clause. Let’s hope that doesn’t come into play at some point.
Fans of Perron will wonder why you could pony up $4 million for a defender that barely had time to unpack anything and not pay a forward that had spent parts of 11 seasons with the Blues. The thing is we’ll never know the answer.
Armstrong basically said the Blues let Perron explore free agency, knowing they did not have the cap space to make a valid offer. How much they offered or if they offered at all is anyone’s guess.
Perron signed for a reasonable two-year, $4.75 million per season in Detroit. Twitter was aghast that St. Louis couldn’t find an extra $750,000 to pay Perron.
Just because Perron took that deal in Detroit does not mean he would have in St. Louis. We can choose to believe all the flowery words, but maybe something soured behind the scenes.
Fox2’s Facebook page reported that Perron was initially seeking a multi-year, $7 million per season deal. No offense, but paying $7 million per season for mid-20 goals is not the way to go.
A personal text chain of mine had someone saying the Blues should trade Tarasenko to free up the money for Perron. How in the world does that make sense? Why does Tarasenko illicit such insane trade remarks?
You don’t trade a 30/31 year old player who scores 30-plus goals every season he is healthy to keep one that is 34 and scores in the mid 20’s. The argument that Perron would cost less is moot if he was truly seeking $7 million.
What happened to that $7 million by the way? Either the report is false or he bid himself out of St. Louis on purpose.
There’s no way you ask a team for $7 million and then settle for $4.75 million on the first day of free agency. If Perron truly thought he was worth that, he would have held out and tried to get at least mid-5 million range.
Regardless of what happened, it really does suck to lose Perron. He seemed loyal to the franchise and was performing well.
However, you have tough choices to make. The Blues have forward prospects in the ascendancy, such as Jake Neighbours now and Luc Bolduc knocking on the door soon.
St. Louis is a little thinner in the defensive ranks. That’s why it made sense to keep Leddy.
101 ESPN chose to call it an odd move, going all-in on the dumb Jakob Chychrun rumors again. I don’t care how tall he is, he’s not clearing anyone from the front of the net, so stop slurping him like he’s the second coming.
St. Louis not only made wise choices in who they kept and let go, but also who they did not pursue. Johnny Gaudreau is not worth almost $10 million in my eyes and every team that has handed out a $10 million contract has not won a championship since the deal.
There’s all sorts of chatter about Matthew Tkachuk. If he was not from St. Louis, ask yourself if you would truly think he improves this team.
Most other deals from Armstrong were “minor”. They brought in Noel Acciari, who will likely take a spot on the fourth line and fill in elsewhere when there’s injuries.
The Blues also went with Thomas Greiss as their new backup goaltender. Greiss did not do that well in Detroit, but nobody was going to with the teams they put on the ice in front of him.
He was a serviceable goalie with the New York Islanders. That’s all the Blues need from him going forward.
Maybe he won’t push Jordan Binnington, but there were not many options as far as goalies went. You couldn’t afford to keep Ville Husso and everyone else was still looking for starting minutes.
On a similar note, stop acting like Husso was the sure thing. He was not more a sure thing after his 2021-22 season than Binnington was after 2018-19. Fans quickly forget how bad they claimed Husso was in 2020-21.
For all we know, Armstrong still has an ace up his sleeve. Don’t sleep on a potential trade right before the season.
Nobody heard anything about Justin Faulk coming here until it happened. This may well not be the roster the Blues enter the season with.
But, for the love of everything holy, speculate responsibly and check your sources. Blues Nation on Facebook spouting rumors of Jordan Kyrou and Scott Perunovich for Tkachuk is pure horse puckey. There was no way that money would work.
The long and the short of it is the Blues made some tough calls on July 13, 2022. Perhaps the future will show otherwise, but they were the right decisions as of right now.