Free Agents The Blues Could’ve Signed this Summer
The 2022 NHL summer trade and free agency deadline has now come and gone and all eyes are on upcoming team training camps. It was a relatively quiet search for the St. Louis Blues, as they only managed to resign a couple of players to bigger contracts, but seemed to shy away from league-wide RFAs. There were a select few that the Blues could’ve picked up on. Here’s a brief rundown.
The Biggest Free Agency Miss: Matthew Tkachuk
First, let’s get the obvious slip out of the way. After trading away Johnny Gaudreau to Columbus earlier, the Flames may have ignited their fanbase even more by getting rid of their other franchise player in Matthew Tkachuk.
St. Louis was a great potential match for Tkachuk. After all, Matt and younger brother Brady’s dad Keith played 9 years with the Blues from 2000-2010.
Blues fans would’ve loved to see another Tkachuk put on the Note sweater for a few years. Ottawa might’ve even been a better fit for Matthew, as he would’ve gotten to play with Brady himself. But the Florida Panthers managed to step in and add the elder of the two brothers to their already strong offense. That’s some real cannon fodder, isn’t it?
After scoring an impressive 22 goals with the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks in 2021-22, Strome would’ve been a solid addition to the Blues’ forward line. This would be an especially good replacement for left winger David Perron, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings earlier this summer on a 2-year, $4.75 million contract.
Strome is also quite versatile for a guy in his position, able to play at left wing like he usually does or at center, making him an NHL dual-threat. Add that to a potential line with Brayden Schenn and Ivan Barbshev, and the Blues could’ve had a 3rd line trio with 60 goals total in 2022-23.
After being on a solid Carolina Hurricanes team for the past 4 seasons, it may have come as a bit of a shock that a talent like Niederreiter was on the free agency market. As a matter of fact, he was on the auction platform for a good week and a half before Nashville snapped him up for 2 years with $8 million guaranteed.
Nino is one of the league’s strongest players analytics-wise, as he racked up not only a combined 44 goals in the last two seasons, but is one of the best at creating scoring chances, helping maintain his team’s puck possession, and one of the NHL’s top forecheckers. With a recipe like that, St. Louis definitely could’ve benefited from a guy of his skill level instead of leaving him to be snatched by a Central Division rival.
Several big-name free agents got pinged around the league this summer like a puck bouncing off the goalpost. Obviously, there are more than these three listed here, but what do you as the average St. Louis Blues fan think? Should they have done more? Or did they do what they had to in order to bolster their lineup a tad?