St. Louis Blues Doug Armstrong Continues To Pull Great Trades

St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis BluesMandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Just when you thought a big trade was dead in the water, Doug Armstrong may have pulled off an even better deal for the St. Louis Blues. The Blues picked up Kevin Hayes for, essentially, nothing.

For those that missed it, the Blues originally had a trade in place that would have acquired Hayes and a top-line defenseman in return for a draft choice and what many assume was Torey Krug. Whether it was Krug or not, the trade was held up by a no-trade clause and fell through.

While the acquisition of a top-pair left handed defenseman would have been a huge pick up for the Blues, there were plenty of questions about that deal. Most fans seemed focused on the quality of the contracts coming in, saying they were bad deals.

That’s an argument to be had. However, since that never happened, we can only look at the trade that did happen.

Armstrong pulled another fast one on his GM counterpart. Not only did he only part with a sixth-round pick that likely turns out to be nothing, he got Daniel Briere to retain half of Hayes’ salary for the entirety of the contract.

Of course, fans will look at Hayes’ stats and wonder about the quality of the deal and also compare it, wrongly, to his salary. Hayes is earning just over $7 million per season and his career highs are 55 and 54 points.

For comparison, Brayden Schenn’s career highs are 70 and 65 points and he’s had seven total seasons of over 50 points. He gets paid an average of $6.5 million.

So, in a vacuum, Hayes is definitely overpaid. However, from the Blues perspective for this specific deal, that doesn’t matter.

Hayes will only cost the Blues a little over $3.5 million. As far as the Blues are concerned, they just acquired a potential top-six center (third pair at worst) that can score you 50 points and come close to 20 goals, for under $4 million.

Try getting that on the free agent market. Frankly, teams overpaying in the free agent market is part of why guys like Hayes end up getting paid $6 or $7 million.

By keeping the discussion alive with the Flyers, the Blues picked up a solid addition to their forward group for millions less than it would have cost to get an equal, or possibly lesser, player on the market. That’s huge.

In addition, as mentioned, Armstrong only gave up a sixth-round pick. The original deal was rumored to include a first-round pick.

Granted, that also included a big defender, but that’s a huge swing. Nobody is saying that no NHL player has ever been selected in the sixth round, but the odds are against you.

Armstrong basically pulled another big trade out of nowhere while he gave up nothing. He got Brayden Schenn for almost nothing. Yes, the draft pick turned into a solid player, but there’s no guarantee the Blues pick that same player.

Tage Thompson has taken off now, but he was on the verge of being a bust even after the Blues acquired Ryan O’Reilly for Thompson and others, including the bad contract of Patrik Berglund.

No trade is completely one sided, but Armstrong gets them pretty close. Whether Hayes keeps up his recent pace or is a bust remains to be seen.

dark. Next. Blues have 2, er I mean 3 Hall of Fame Inductees

As long as he stays a 45-50 point producer, this is another steal for Armstrong and he’s clearly not done.