St. Louis Blues: No Trade Can Save This Team As They Are

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues are in a very bad spot heading into the second quarter of the 2022-23 season. They’ve already had a near-dooming eight game losing streak.

After a seven-game win streak, the Blues reversed course again. If not for a come from behind overtime win against the Florida Panthers, the Blues would be in the midst of a six-game losing streak. As it is, they’ve lost five of six as of writing this.

As happens in these situations, the fans get agitated and restless. Something has to change.

Fans have every right to be upset about the quality of play we have seen from the Blues. However, it’s not as simple as so many think.

The Blues cannot afford to keep doing the same thing night in and out. Yet, despite what many say, a trade is not coming to save this team.

That is not to say the Blues might not make a move at some point during the season. Anything right now would not have the impact that so many believe it might.

The problem is that removing one person will not work. This is a team-wide epidemic.

Many want Vladimir Tarasenko out. Firstly, that is still born of this ridiculous idea that he was selfish to ask for a trade when the doctors that performed his initial shoulder surgery did not accomplish their goal.

We forget that Ryan O’Reilly is only in St. Louis because he demanded a trade too. Why is he revered for forcing his way out of Buffalo, but Tarasenko is reviled for being upset in his own way?

Regardless of your answer, what good does that do the Blues to trade him? St. Louis has only scored more goals than four other team in the Western Conference.

Detractors will say Tarasenko only has six goals to this point. He’s always been streaky and is still capable of scoring 30-plus goals.

You’re not going to get a 30-goal scorer in return for Tarasenko. Teams looking to add scoring are simply not going to part with anything close to equal value when they know the Blues are in a precarious spot.

So, perhaps you say trade Tarasenko for a prospect or draft picks. We’ve seen that the draft is not always that great to the Blues and even when it is good, you’re still not getting an elite player more often than not.

Trade Tarasenko now and you’re not seeing the value of the trade for several seasons.

The Blues don’t really have anything else they can do. O’Reilly is the only other player not currently on a long-term contract.

That is both a good thing and bad thing when looking at trade value. You don’t have the burden of trying to trade a hefty deal that other GM’s might not have given. However, any team looking to acquire him also does not get the benefit of any certainty O’Reilly would stay there.

What would the Blues gain from O’Reilly in the current state anyway? He’s scored some goals, but the once-elite center only has four assists through 24 games.

As much as Blues fans love him, you’re not going to get much return for a playmaker who has not made many plays. Maybe teams want him for his defensive ability, but even that only has so much value if that is the only thing teams see in him.

Who else can the Blues trade? Any check on social media wants Colton Parayko gone.

That boils down to another issue with any fanmade trade scenario. If he’s as bad as some believe, why would a team trade anything for him. If he has value, then there are still not that many teams that have the cap space to take on $6.5 million.

The same is true of any player that might bring anything of value in return. Brayden Schenn is under contract until 2028, Torey Krug and Justin Faulk through 2027.

Even Brandon Saad and Nick Leddy have deals until 2026. Again, teams might be willing to take a flyer on someone with an extra year or two, but length of contract is often a detractor in these kinds of deals.

Even if you erase all of those factors, it doesn’t change one huge factor. The things wrong with the Blues right now are wrong with every single player.

If you say scoring is an issue, it is an issue with everyone. Jordan Kyrou has nine goals, which is great, but too often he has not scored when the team needed it most.

The same is true of Tarasenko and Schenn Robert Thomas.

Let’s say defense is the issue. After all, the Blues have allowed 90 goals so far. That’s more than Arizona and Chicago.

Trading Parayko doesn’t help because you’re not going to get a top-pair defender in return. Even if you don’t believe Parayko is a number one or number two defender, you need something to replace that spot. Nobody in the Blues system is poised to be a number-one defender now or anytime soon.

The depth of this team is not what we had hoped. If you choose to blame Doug Armstrong for that, so be it. Yet, you cannot expect him to deplete the team of proven talent simply because you don’t like them right now.

Trade a forward that can score 20-30 goals and you don’t have anyone to replace that scoring. Let go a defender that can eat up 20 minutes and you don’t have another waiting to eat up those minutes.

The likelihood is that teams are not going to give you one in return either. If they’re looking to buy now, in December, they’re not looking to send anything of value away. Hockey trades just don’t really exist now.

Make a big trade to “shake things up” right now and you’re essentially giving up on the season. The Blues are not ready to wave that white flag.

Last, but not least, is the fact that it is still too early. As bad as the Blues have been, they’re still only five points behind the Avalanche and six points behind the Minnesota Wild.

That’s true for many teams around the league. Nobody is in a place where they know whether they’re buying or selling.

Maybe someone is interested in Tarasenko or O’Reilly. They can’t really know that adding that player now will put them over the hump when they can’t really tell if their current record is who they are or just a good or bad spell.

Think of how many times the Buffalo Sabres have had a fiery start the last few years only to fall off and still miss the playoffs. Adding a player this early would not have changed whether they made the playoffs those years or not, but they would have thought it might if they made the trade this early.

The bottom line is there just is no trade that will save this team – not as they are. If there were multiple players that were doing their job and the rest needed something to spur them, perhaps. When it’s the entire team that is underperforming, I don’t see one person being gone making a big deal.

The Blues have to figure this out on their own. There’s no legendary figure walking through that door to save them.