(Photo credit: Michael Miller)
The Blues largely stood pat at the deadline and did not address glaring weaknesses. It will be ok.
For years, fans of the Philadelphia 76ers had to listen to the phrase “trust the process.” In the Gateway City, the Blues might want to follow the lead of, dare I say, Philadelphia.
Early this season, the Blues were firing on all cylinders. They were scoring, almost at will, and were getting solid goaltending from the one-two punch of Jake Allen and Carter Hutton. One injury derailed the Blues offense, and a few bad goals got into the head of several Blues.
At the trade deadline, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong made two moves. He acquired Nikita Soshnikov from Toronto and sent Paul Stastny to Winnipeg. Both moves are significant and here is why.
The Russian-born winger is gifted in the offensive zone. He was never given much of an opportunity in Toronto, thanks in part because of their depth. Soshnikov, when developed the right way, has a decent upside and could be a valued contributor on the offensive side of the puck.
The Blues did not give up much to get him and could come out smelling like roses when this deal can fully be evaluated in a year or two. It was a low risk with the potential of a high reward scenario.
This one was more of a head scratcher than anything else. The Blues needed to add pieces to try and keep themselves in the playoff hunt. Granted, Stastny is on the back nine of his career, and probably was not worth the contract the Blues were paying him. However, for a team that has not scored in their last seven periods of hockey, is trading away an offensive player for draft picks and an unsigned prospect a good idea?
On the plus side, the Blues did receive a decent prospect who has some familiarity with other young players in the Blues organization. The real prize the Blues got in return was the first-round pick.
As per NHL Radio, the chances a first-round pick makes the NHL and plays at minimum of 200 games is 70%. With this year’s draft projecting to be above average, the Blues have a decent shot to grab a player who can contribute. Not to mention, Armstrong has proven he is not afraid to make deals at the draft.
Another reason the draft pick is significant, is the fact that Erik Karlsson did not get moved. With the Blues freeing up cap space by sending Stastny away, the Blues could package the Winnipeg pick, and maybe another contract or two (Patrik Berglund) and go acquire someone for next year to help Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues Captain has looked over worked this year and having someone to take the pressure off could just be the ticket to free up the offense and turn this team around.
The Blues will probably not make the playoffs this year. No doubt it is disappointing to a fanbase who has never tasted a drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup. These moves were not about bringing the Cup home this year.
As another team who is clad in blue used to say, there is always next year.