We all wondered what would happen to the St. Louis Blues if they suffered another first-round loss.
And then they went ahead and did it.
While the fallout in St. Louis ultimately didn’t include firing the coach, we may find out in the next few days if there’s a significant trade to be made, possibly one involving a forward.
From the Post-Dispatch:
The Blues ranked No. 5 in the NHL during the regular season with 2.92 goals a game, but among the 16 playoff teams, they were No. 9 at 2.33.
The trio of Alexander Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie teamed up for 177 points in the regular season but went silent in the postseason, combining for just eight.
It’s the reason that entering this week’s NHL draft, a time on the calendar in which several significant trades are made around the league, the possibility of the Blues moving one of their household names shouldn’t be dismissed.
In addition to their playoff performances, Steen, Backes, and Oshie are also trade candidates because of their contracts. Backes is only signed for one more year before he can become an unrestricted free agent; Steen and Oshie have just two more years before they can do the same. (For that matter, ditto for Patrik Berglund.)
Perhaps another position to watch is goaltending. Though Ken Hitchcock called it “the least of our problems,” it wasn’t exactly a strength in the postseason. Jake Allen finished with a .904 save percentage in making all six starts. And that was after Brian Elliott was supposed to be the starter, but had the opportunity yanked at the last minute.
Think Elliott was happy about that? This is a guy that’s been waiting a long time to go into the postseason as the number one. Not saying he wants out, but for a team looking for a veteran netminder with an affordable cap hit ($2.5 million), he could make sense to target in a trade.
All that being said, GM Doug Armstrong insisted in April that he was wary of making a move just for the sake of making a move.
“What I don’t want to do is hurt the franchise long-term,” he said. “I don’t want to do something that is going to be a good headline tomorrow, and that we’re going to regret for five or six years.”
So far, Armstrong hasn’t made headlines, other than retaining Hitchcock and telling Barret Jackman that he won’t be re-signed.
We’ll see if that changes this week.