3 More Potential Free Agency Targets for the Blues at the Deadline

Soon the 2024 NHL Free Agency Market opens up. Who are some of the top players the Blues could snap up with new contractual offers?
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

July 1 marks the biggest day in the offseason for teams that failed to make this year's Stanley Cup playoffs. For the St. Louis Blues, one position needs to be bulked up on if they want to see a return to the postseason. And it's arguably the most important piece of a whole team: the defense. Here's a few defensemen and goaltenders the St. Louis Blues could pick from the unrestricted free agency pool.

Brady Skjei, Carolina Hurricanes

Skjei may be getting a little old, at 30 years, to be precise, but his offensive numbers are about as good for a defenseman as you could ask for, especially in the last two seasons. Skjei finished 2023/24 with 13 goals and 34 assists for 47 points across 80 games played, and in 2022/23, did even better, with 18 goals, 20 assists,he and 38 points where he played in all but 1 regular season game. 2023/24, in fact, marked Skjei's 3rd straight season where he played in almost every regular season game. Definitely a consistent scoring defenseman who also has the iron man streak to boot. Skjei had a pretty good 2023/24 postseason too, 11 games played with a goal and 8 assists for 9 additional points. The Blues could definitely benefit from the 2012 1st round pick out of NCAA powerhouse Minnesota. Skjei himself could even reach the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career or reach 50 points in a season, which he came very close to doing this past campaign.

Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets

Morrissey is 28 and while he may not necessarily be available at the free agency deadline on June 1, he's still someone the Blues should keep their eyes on, given that his current contract expires at the end of 2024/25. Another lefthanded defenseman, Morrissey played in all but 1 regular season game this season, scoring 10 goals and racking up an astonishing 59 assists for 69 points. He now has 3 straight double digit goal seasons, going back to the 2021/22 campaign, and has played in all but 3 regular season games in both seasons since. Morrissey is also a former 1st round draft pick, in 2013 out of the Western Hockey League's Prince Albert (Saskatchewan) Raiders. His 69 points put him at 8th best in the league in points by a defenseman this season, and you can argue he could bump that up if he finds the net a few more times if and when the Blues are able to pull him down south a bit.

Ilya Samsonov, Toronto Maple Leafs

Even without the 27-year-old Russian goaltender, the Leafs could still contend with young superstar Joseph Woll, which makes this trade all the more worth it for the Blues. 2023/24 saw Samsonov start all 40 games he played in, and he picked up a very impressive 23-7 record even as the Leafs fell in the 1st round of the playoffs for what seemed to be the billionth time. Samsonov has gotten a nice win loss record trend going, nearly managing 20 wins and just 10 losses for the past 3 campaigns. If the Blues want to upgrade their goaltending just a bit, Samsonov is a pretty good choice.

Kevin Lankinen, Nashville Predators

While the Blues could also go for the Preds' top netminder and of the league's best in Juuse Saros, it's probably unlikely Nashville lets go of one their franchise's greatest players. So as a backup, how about their backup, Kevin Lankinen? Sure, he's only played in a few games and started even less, but remember, he's behind one of the league's best netminders, and one would also be sure he'd enjoy more playing time, even if he was with a divisional rival. The 29-year-old Finn had a 17-11-6 record in 2023/24 and was instrumental in helping Nashville set a single-season franchise record for the longest points streak at 16 games. Lankinen is a top unrestricted free agent among goaltenders as well, so picking him up would be a major steal at the June 1 deadline.

These 4 players are key pickups for the Blues not only because of their playing prowess, but also their age. For most NHLers, upper 20s is their prime, which makes them all the more valuable to teams looking for the missing pieces they need for a postseason return.