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The Blues will head into the trade deadline without their #2 scorer (Steen) and the league leader in GAA/SV% (Elliott). The Blues GM Doug Armstrong is known for his craftiness, but also for his aggressive trades. From the Ryan Miller trade to the Erik Johnson trade, Armstrong is not shy about making deals at the deadline.
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Due to injuries, this trade deadline could make or break our season. So far, our next man-up philosophy has worked fairly well with young players like Fabbri and Parayko stepping up, but it will be truly tested with the large holes made by key players being hurt.
Option 1: Jonathan Drouin (Age:20, Cap hit:$925,000, Years left:2)
Drouin has been on quite the rollercoaster ride that is his career. Drafted 3rd overall in 2011, Drouin has always been seen as a supremely talented player. The asking price for Drouin is unclear, but it has been noted that the Lightning are in desperate need of a right-handed defenseman such as Kevin Shattenkirk. Drouin has recently been seen as a negative presence in the Lightning organization. He is currently suspended indefinitely after skipping an AHL game, and has asked for a trade on an entry level contract- showing further immaturity. While this is a concern, the left winger still has been very good at the NHL level, and his trade value could be lower due to the issues of the past.
My opinion: Acquire him and set him straight. Do not give up Shattenkirk, but I wouldn’t mind giving up a pick or two grouped with a top 9 forward.
Option 2: Eric Staal (Age 31, Cap hit: 8.2 million, Years left: 1)
His name has been tossed into the hat recently with the Blues among other teams. It would be quite an aggressive move, but Staal’s high level of talent combined with his leadership skills and cup winning experience make him an interesting fit with the Blues. Eric Staal would be a high priced elite rental for the Blues, but would undoubtedly provide immediate impact.
My opinion: Many things make this trade unlikely. Although I would like to see this happen, and some media sees it as possible, Eric Staal will very likely not be wearing the Blue note. A large cap hit, a no trade clause, and a move to wing would all be in the way for Staal and the Blues to work. Also, the return would likely include future picks and Ivan Barbashev.
Option 3: Another player on the market
This option seems the most-likely at this point with talks on Drouin at a standstill and Staal being hard to move for reasons mentioned above. Forwards such as Loui Eriksson, Mikkel Boedker, and Andrew Ladd are all on the trade market as well as defensemen such as Keith Yandle and Justin Schultz. With Pietrangelo practicing today, it seems unlikely we would acquire defensemen unless Shattenkirk was traded. If that is the case, I like Justin Schultz as a young, buy-low defenseman from Edmonton. In regards to Eriksson, Boedker, and Ladd, it is hard for me to see a deal being done for any of these three.
If the Blues do target another forward at the trade deadline, it will likely be none of the headliners. Some interesting names brought up recently have been Ex-Blues Brad Boyes and Lee Stempniak.
My opinion: while I would love to see the Blues acquire a big name player for the playoff run, I wouldn’t mind getting an experienced forward to bolster depth and be able to keep many of our trade pieces.
Option #4: Stick with the current roster
It has worked all year right? Why do we need to make a splash when we have such a deep lineup as is? These are just a few of the possible questions being asked in the Blues front office. The Blues have put up a very respectable record for the amount of injuries sustained this season.
My opinion: The Blues have done well in spite of injuries, but when is enough enough? The team has to be drained and a trade could boost player morale. While this is a possible option, I hope it doesn’t happen.