5 Deals St. Louis Blues Must Consider Before NHL Trade Deadline
5 Moves the Blues Must Consider
The St. Louis Blues are having a season for the ages. They are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the lead in the Central Division with three games in hand, and are only three points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the top spot in the NHL. Many things have gone right for the Blues this season, including consistent production from their forwards, an experienced defense and reliable goaltending. How could the Blues possibly get any better? Depth is the key to a long playoff run, and even a team like St. Louis can upgrade their roster.
Many times in the past, teams making a run for the Stanley Cup trade prospects and draft picks for experienced veterans. They sacrifice long-term success for a better opportunity in the present. If the Blues want to be able to compete with teams like the Ducks and Blackhawks, both of which have won Stanley Cups after the 2004-05 lockout, then depth will be the key in the postseason. Health in net has also been a question for the Blues this year. This is another area that should be addressed, as a goaltender can steal an entire playoff series for a team.
5. Acquire Ryan Miller
I mentioned that a goalie has the ability to steal a series. The Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller is the go-to guy if the Blues don't want to chance Jaroslav Halak's health. They have also learned to be cautious after what happened in the playoffs when they turned to backup Brian Elliot. Though both goalies are performing well in the regular season, neither can be relied upon in a playoff series and Miller solves this issue. Miller wants to go to a winner, and St. Louis is a good fit for the American goaltender.
4. Upgrade Forward Depth
A team can never have enough depth going into the NHL playoffs, and the Blues need to upgrade if there is any hope of succeeding. Chris Stewart is a player who has not performed up to expectations and is being paid a large sum of money to be ineffective. Acquiring a veteran from another team to take Stewart's spot in the lineup will help increase St. Louis' chances of postseason success.
3. Trade for Steve Ott
Steve Ott is the current Sabres captain, and his contract is expiring at the end of the season. It looks as though Buffalo is going to reshape the image of their team and go for a youth movement, so Ott may not re-sign with the team. Buffalo can get a lot of value for Ott as they learned when they traded Paul Gaustad to the Nashville Predators for a first-round selection in 2012. For the Blues, Ott provides veteran leadership, gritty play and scoring depth.
2. Acquire Brad Boyes
There's nothing wrong with bringing back a familiar face. Brad Boyes has become somewhat of a journeyman, but this is the same Boyes who scored 77 goals over two seasons until falling off dramatically. He has revived his NHL career with the Islanders and Panthers, and is on an affordable $1 million contract that expires at the end of the year.
1. Trade Jaroslav Halak
This is not just a reaction to his poor performance at the Olympics for Slovakia. Halak is an impending free agent with health concerns, and if the Blues acquire Miller, there is no need to have both Halak and Elliot on the team as well. Several teams could be in the market for a goaltender, including both the Islanders and the Panthers if they do not have confidence in young netminder Jacob Markstrom. The Blues do not need to acquire prospects or draft picks, but trading Halak for a player such as Boyes can free up cap space to make additional moves to improve the squad.