The Blues have reached a one-year, $4 million deal with Derek Roy. The center will officially join the Blues after he takes a physical, as reported by the team's official site. Roy joins the Blues after spending 2012-13 with both the Dallas Stars and the Vancouver Canucks.
St. Louis: We have a center.
First, let's stop and give credit to Doug Armstrong for making another sensible decision. Armstrong refrained from giving other centers on the open market larger contracts, instead letting other clubs overpay the few options out there. Armstrong was patient and eventually found an upgrade down the middle for a cheaper price.
With that out of the way, let's meet the new center for the Blues.
Unlike the team's other moves over the past couple of days (no offense to Aucoin or Lapierre), Roy is a forward who can play in the team's top-6. Between Vancouver and Dallas last season, Roy scored 21 points in 42 games. In 2011-12 with Buffalo, he scored 44 points in 80 games. Looking further back, Roy's numbers have been on a steady decline dating back to 2011-12, but prior to that the forward was averaging close to a point per game between 2007-08 and 2010-11.
This isn't a huge signing, but it's an important one for the Blues. The team had to bring in some help up the middle. The other recent signings added some nice depth, but it didn't address the need for another first or second line center. Roy answers that question and he does so at a fair price.
If I had to sum this up in a word, I'd probably go with "interesting". Certainly, Roy isn't likely to have the impact that Lecavalier would have, but if he's healthy (and the signing hinges on that, so we'll assume for our purposes that he is), I'd say he's at least equal to the other names that have come off the board in the 1/2C sweepstakes at the start of free agency. The difference, of course, being that Armstrong didn't lock him up for a bunch of years, and kept the dollars involved down pretty substantially.
Of course, this all but screams that a trade is in the works. Regardless of the 10% summer leeway in the cap, this move says that Pietrangelo, Stewart, and Allen can't all be part of the team as currently constituted when opening day/training camp/whatever the arbitrary date for it is in the CBA rolls around. So the next big question would be, who goes, and for what? With my usual caveat that I'm horrible at guessing Doug Armstrong's next move, here are my best guesses:
Halak goes somewhere for picks. On the plus side, it'd open up ~$4M in cap room to work on accommodating the remaining free agents. On the minus side, that's a big burden to place on Elliott and Allen. Maybe that gives the team enough room to bring in all three RFAs under the cap - depends a lot on the deals Pietrangelo and Stewart get. At least, I hope I can assume that Allen's deal would be for less than Elliott's getting at the moment, and thus be fairly negligible in the cap equation.
Stewart goes somewhere for picks. On the plus side, after last season, he's likely got reasonable value that could be cashed in for future (and cost-controlled) future considerations. On the minus side... Giving up our best scoring right winger? Sending the message that players on these one year "prove yourself" deals might not want to overdo it, and prove themselves right out of the organization?
If it's not one of those, the only way to fit the rest of this in would be in some kind of odd blockbuster deal, where the team on the other end agreed to eat significant money to make the cap work out. Other teams cap space is not really something I follow regularly, so it's tough to say who the potential trade partners might be in such a scenario.
@miendiem What a thorough and interesting reply. It's as if the season has already started!
I think you broke it down extremely well. A trade pretty much has to happen in order to keep Pietrangelo in the fold.
In my opinion there are three potential players to trade: Halak, Stewart and Perron. You summed up the situations around Halak and Stewart extremely well, so I won't go into them any further. I'd hate to give up on Stewart now considering 1) He was the leading scorer and 2) His value was higher last season than it was now.
I mention Perron because we know his offensive production hasn't been up to par. Add in some inconsistent efforts, bad penalties and a cap hit of $3.8 million and he suddenly looks like a prime trade candidate. It'd be difficult to deal Perron, but I guess it comes to who you value more: Stewart or Perron?
@David Rogers I left Perron off the list primarily because the Blues lack depth on LW. Not to the extent that they do/did at center, certainly, but if bringing in Roy lets the team move Berglund to LW, that gives us two scoring wings worth of LWs. Comparatively, the team has RWs coming out of their ears.
That said, I don't particularly disagree with your evaluation of Perron. He was definitely one of the most frustrating Blues to watch last season. Still, with a real off-season and a real training camp, and now with a playmaking center in the mix, I have most of the same reservations about giving up Perron to make room under the cap that I have about Stewart.
@David Rogers I'd question it, only because he's the few guys on the team that actually moves jerseys, or, at least, was probably the clear leader in that department until 91 came to town. Of course, if Tarasenko and Schwartz can really grow into impact players who better Oshie's numbers, they'd mitigate that quite a bit.
I think it might've been in some random twitter conversation earlier, but I saw someone commenting that they expected the Blues to take another second round ouster this coming season. Personally, I think it's more a question of when they run into LA, unless they can finally shake that gremlin during the regular season. That's another topic for another day, though. At this point, we're not even sure what the roster is going to look like. October can't come soon enough for me.
@miendiem @David Rogers I think Oshie is an extremely reasonable option to move, especially considering his injury history is pretty colorful. After yet another Cup disappointment last season, my opinion was that there were very few "untouchable" guys on the squad. For me, Oshie is somewhere on the narrow line between the "untouchable" crew and the "free to trade" crew.
@David Rogers I can definitely envision that. Especially sending Perron somewhere in the East, with their more open offensive game. I know, I'm generalizing, but I can certainly see it working out that way.
Really, I'd prefer not to give up on either of them, either. So, here's a question: If we keep them both, and we still need to make room, who gets moved if we can't find a new home for Halak? Personally, and I bet I'll get a lot of disagreement on this, but the next name that comes to mind is Oshie.
@miendiem @David Rogers Your point about LW is pretty valid. I'm not sure how well Berglund would do there, but it's certainly a possibility. Considering all the rumors about people switching positions, I imagine someone could slide over.
In an ideal world, I'd rather not give up on either Perron or Stewart. Both guys fall into the category of players who could burn this team in the future. Can't you just envision either player finally putting the pieces together upon landing with a new club? I can, but I admit it's easier to picture Stewart putting it together than Perron.