Assessing the Impact of St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong’s Decisions: A Case for More Patience

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Seven
2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Seven / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

First, don’t let the title of this article fool you. Fans shouldn't anticipate major changes in the St. Louis Blues management, including the possible dismissal of general manager Doug Armstrong.

As a basic Google search shows, many of Armstrong’s decisions in the past few years have resulted in disappointment. Some fans have long requested his firing.

In particular, the devoted followers of Bleedin’ Blue have consistently voiced their frustration, advocating for changes such as Armstrong’s termination.

We don’t have the time to list out all the questionable decisions Armstrong has made, but we will note a few:

1. Armstrong let Alex Pietrangelo get away. Pietrangelo’s desire to stay and his role as the team’s leader were undeniable.

2. Why break up the 2018-2019 squad? This team made history and had an impressive comradery.

3. The firing of head coach Craig Berube in St. Louis surprised fans, emphasizing the importance of a coach over individual players. The fans loved Berube.

4. David Perron, like Pietrangelo, wished to stay in St. Louis, demonstrating exceptional leadership and a tenacity few can match.

There are endless questionable calls made under Armstrong’s leadership. But there is a solid case to give the man time and a call for caution.

Under Armstrong, St. Louis celebrated its first Stanley Cup in franchise history. He won a cup while on staff with the Dallas Stars, and several of his decisions have allowed the Blues to contend, even this year.

It’s impossible to say how Berube would have fared had he not been fired. But we know interim coach Drew Bannister finished the season with a respectable record. It took guts to fire Berube, and Bannister, by all accounts, performed well.

Armstrong has made poor contract choices, locking some players up in no-trade clause deals, which proves a second point: This team did relatively well with its current roster.

Surely, some changes will take place during the offseason, most likely through free agency, and this alone should encourage fans. However, most key players are returning, and St. Louis remains a sought-after city for any free agent. The fans are loyal, and expectations are high.

The Blues surpassed expectations and came close to making the playoffs.

After winning the Stanley Cup, it’s hard to see so many changes and a departure from the playoffs, but Blues fans must remember that Armstrong was the man in charge who led to the first championship. We cannot overlook the fact that COVID-19 had a significant impact on the Blues’ momentum and gameplay.

Armstrong’s resume calls for patience and more time. All eyes are on this offseason. The first decision Armstrong should make is to remove the interim tag from Bannister.