In years past, the Blues have virtually stripped their roster at the deadline by trading away veteran UFAs for picks and prospects. From Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin alone, the Blues received: 3 first round picks (Ian Cole, Patrick Berglund, David Perron), a second and third round pick, Jay Barriball (the former leading goal scorer at the University of Minnesota), and Andy McDonald, who will be a good player for a while despite his age.
Take note, Leafs fans and players leery of waiving no trade clauses. A big bulk of our rebuilding effort came from trading away three stars.
So, are the Blues sellers this time around? Yes and no. A recent upswing has sent a surge of optimism through Blues fans, but even at that, Andy Murray estimates a .667 winning percentage in the remaining games to get into the playoffs.
That said, who are the Blues going to trade? There’s not really anyone on the team that anyone wants…although I’ve said that about Keith Tkachuk in the past, and he’s surprised me before.
Most of the potential “tradees” include defenseman.
Jay McKee – The salary makes him hard to move, but many teams would love this guy. His salary likely means the Blues will have to take a bit of salary on themselves, but Jay could bring a prospect or a pick that the Blues covet.
Christian Backman – His mediocre-at-best play has frustrated Blues fans for years now. He’s never lived up to potential, although a change of scenery could be what he needs.
Barrett Jackman and/or Bryce Salvador – General consensus is that the Blues will not be able to resign both potential UFAs, and we all know that JD hates to lose players to free agency. Just ask Atlanta, San Jose and Carolina. Whichever one isn’t resigned will be traded. Jackman hasn’t had the best year, but he could be attractive to teams seeking a physical edge, and Salvador is quite possibly one of the most underrated defensive defenseman in the league. Sal gets the job done.
Martin Ruchinsky – His play has been so terrible that his name is almost like a dirty word among Blues fans. I’d feel guilty if we were able to rip someone off for a bag of pucks in exchange. He’s returning from injury, and as much as the Blues would like to get rid of him, we may be stuck with him.
Ryan Johnson – This guy has a cult following for some reason, and is praised by Andy Murray on a nightly basis. He’s an UFA and could be on the up and out if the Blues can’t resign him. He’s the fourth line supplementary piece that some contenders might look for to shore up their team, although he won’t bring much in return. Penalty killers/forecheckers are dime-a-dozen compared to goal scoring and solid defense. Then again, rumor had it that the Blues were trying to get a first round pick for Jamal Mayers, so you never know.
Who would the Blues get?
Goal scoring at the right price. I’d like to think the Blues would make a trade for someone like Vinny Prospal if they could avoid giving up draft picks. A package of defenseman may be attractive to Tampa if they don’t think Boyle will return. Hossa and Sundin are going to command to many players critical to the rebuilding process in St. Louis. More than likely, the Blues would like any young players and draft picks they could tack on in addition to any roster players they might receive.
It has been suggested by some on this site that the Blues “need” to make the playoffs. I’d really like to know where these people read this. The mentality in St. Louis is not to “win now” even among the casual fans. The Blues have been very clear about their plans from Day 1. Attendance may take a hit if the Blues miss the playoffs, but the larger payoff is going to be in three years when Oshie, Perron, Johnson, Berglund, Wagner, Schwartz and Co. are selling the arena out every night.