By Patrick Karraker @PatrickKarraker on April 9, 2014
After being the best team in the NHL for a large part of 2013-14, the St. Louis Blues have stumbled recently, losing three straight and four out of their last six. If the team stumbles again in the playoffs, the Blues will have to go back to the drawing board. Here are five players who seem unlikely to return next year as the Blues shuffle their roster.
Ott has added some quality energy to the Blues lineup down the stretch, but a salary similar to the .2 million he’s making now will likely be too expensive. Ott has by far the worst +/- rating on the team with a minus-11 in 20 games, and his style of play makes him rather redundant with Ryan Reaves, who is younger and signed long-term. It would make sense to find a cheaper player or replace Ott in-house with Chris Porter or Adam Cracknell.
Morrow hasn’t been awful, as he’s provided 25 points while also providing valuable veteran leadership. But Morrow isn’t necessarily fit to play the fourth line role that he’s played for most of this year, and there are cheaper players who could play the same role. If there’s one thing that’s helping him it’s his longstanding relationship with coach Ken Hitchcock, but it would still be surprising if he was back next season.
Roy has been a huge disappointment during his first season with the Blues. He was projected by many to be one of the team’s top scorers, yet he has registered just nine goals while becoming a rather frequent healthy scratch down the stretch. Roy likely will be replaced in the lineup by a younger player such as Dmitrij Jaskin or Ty Rattie next year, and he certainly won’t command the million that he made this season.
Ian Cole is in the first year of a two-year deal, but the Blues need to find a taker for the former first-rounder this offseason. Cole has gotten a few chances and played very well, but at the first slight sign of trouble Hitchcock has pulled him from the lineup. In his most recent games, he’s actually played badly enough to deserve the benching. Both Cole and the Blues likely will be looking for a fresh start next year.
Miller’s situation depends heavily on how he performs in the playoffs, but after getting off to a hot start after being traded, Miller quite frankly has been outperformed by Brian Elliott recently. The Blues will need to shed a goaltender when Jake Allen comes up next year, and as things stand now, it might make more sense to keep Elliott, who is more established with the organization, instead of the more expensive Miller.
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