Is a Trade in the Works?
As the Blues add Andy McDonald to their increasing list of injured skaters, the eyes of the organization may turn away from Peoria and to the open market in an attempt to bring some depth back to the ranks. Is a trade really a possibility? If so, what might the Blues part with and who might they target?
The situation isn't pretty. McDonald departs as the team's leading scorer and has no clear timetable on when he may return. If his situation is anything similar to teammate David Perron, I wouldn't hold my breath anticipating a quick return. With the number of injured starters from opening night mounting, the Blues might be forced to make a deal.
From a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, GM Doug Armstrong made it clear that he would like to improve the roster, but he also stated that he makes that a goal of his at any time - not just when the injuries mount.
Armstrong also mentioned that he does not feel rushed to make a trade and that he doesn't intend to open more areas of weakness by trading to patch the offense.
I have given the current organization a lot of credit. Plenty of times they could have splashed out, made a huge deal and gone on to watch it blow up in their face. The team made a deal for Jaroslav Halak, but made sure the price was on their terms. So far so good on that deal.
Realistically, the Blues aren't in a position to make a blockbuster trade. First, the Blues really don't have much that they would agree to part with. The youngsters appear to be mostly hands off. Erik Johnson, Alex Pietrangelo, Ian Cole and a few others are skaters we'd label as the few who are guaranteed to remain with the team.
To make a deal the Blues would seemingly have to offer a prospect or two, and that doesn't seem to be an area that Armstrong particularly wants to go in at this time, though I wouldn't rule it completely out. Outside of younger prospects, the Blues really don't have many pieces at the NHL level that they'd be willing or able to part with.
Just as we know the Blues are desperate for depth, every other club in the NHL is aware of this too. As a result, teams will likely offer less as they know the Blues are firmly backed into a corner. This makes for some tough negotiating.
If the Blues do pull off a trade, don't expect any huge names coming our way. A forward the Blues might be able to secure would likely make somewhere in the $3-$4 million range - a view supported by the same article in the Post.
With all that being said, let's take a step back and look at the overall picture.
- The Blues are definitely looking to improve the squad now that guys have gone down, but will not break their principal interests in order to find a quick fix.
- The organization is in a tough spot as other clubs know they are pressed in a corner.
- If the Blues do make a deal, it wouldn't be a blockbuster. It'd likely be for a middle of the road forward.
- Plenty of other teams could use help at defense, so that'd likely be the first area the Blues look to deal.
This team will not rush to make a deal, but will keep their options open.