Free-Agency 2024: Could the St. Louis Blues potentially add a top defenseman to their lineup?

St Louis Blues v Montreal Canadiens
St Louis Blues v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

In a March column, NHL FanSided Lead Editor Todd Matthews shared the St. Louis Blues have a real possibility of addressing needs through free-agent signings or trades. Matthews pointed out that the Blues have about $16.3 million in cap space.

Despite free agency being months away, speculation on available players has already begun. The St. Louis Blues are a good team and need the right guys to fill a few gaps. Most Blues fans want to see physicality, aggressive play, and improvement in defense.

Here, we analyze three top defensemen who, as of now, will hit the free-agent market once July 1st comes.

Brandon Montour

Listed at 6’0, 199lbs Brandon Montour is still young, just turning 30. However, we must ask, would he leave the Florida Panthers? Does winning solve everything? Only time will tell…

Montour is expected to secure a significant contract. His best year was 2022-2023 when he recorded 73 points and 57 assists. He’s arguably the highest-ranked defenseman hitting the market, which signals there will be significant competition to sign him.

Due to his past play, he will be one of the most sought-after free agents.

Brady Skjei

Like Montour, Brady Skjei just turned 30. His best season came in 2023-2024, recording 47 points with 34 assists. He’s listed at 6’3 and 210 lbs.

Skjei is an experienced player who brings reliability and top defensive skills. He has an impressive record of 70 playoff games and is highly valued by the Carolina Hurricanes. While it’s unlikely he’ll leave, a lucrative contract offer could potentially change the game.

Brett Pesce

Another Carolina Hurricane that is possibly leaving is Brett Pesce. Pesce is 29 and recorded his best season in 2022-2023 with 30 points. He’s played his entire career in Carolina, though it may be difficult for the Hurricanes to sign both Skjei and Pesce.

Listed at 6’3 and 206lbs, Pesce shares a nearly identical build with his teammate Skjei.

His recent injuries shouldn’t discourage teams from pursuing him once free agency arrives.

Could a Hurricane be coming to St. Louis?

While Carolina may keep both Skjei and Pesce, the odds might not favor them. The Blues' cap space is enough to attract top free agents, ranking around No. 19 in available space. But obviously, the Blues don’t want to spend it all in one place. They also don’t want to overspend on a limited class of available defensive players. If size is a factor, the Blues should consider either Hurricane.