Jump to content
Hockey Wilderness
  • Central Division Trade Deadline Outlook - St. Louis Blues

    Giles Ferrell

    Out ahead of Tuesday night's Minnesota Wild versus St. Louis Blues tilt, the Central Division trade series continues with the Blues.


    Currently, the Blues sit third in the Central Division with 67 points, just one ahead of the Dallas Stars who hold the top Wild Card spot in the West.


    Helping us look at the current state of the Blues is Jeff Jones of St. Louis Game Time and St. Louis Live Radio!


    Away we go!


    Q: The Blues have hit a bit of a rough patch -- or as Wild fans like to say 'swoon' -- lately but are still hanging around for a shot at the Central's top spot. Will they be able to hold strong with Winnipeg and Nashville?


    A: I’m still in 'show me' mode with Winnipeg. Connor Hellebuyck has been fantastic, but will he hold? Will they be able to add deadline pieces? The standings are the standings, but Dallas worries me somewhat more than Winnipeg does. Ben Bishop comes up huge in playoff series. Ken Hitchcock has the revenge motive. They can score in bunches. Their defense would, of course, be somewhat of a concern in the playoffs, but that’s where Hitch and his system would shine the brightest. With those three in their way, I have a hard time imagining the Blues winning more than perhaps one playoff round.


    Q: How big was it for the Blues to get Jaden Schwartz back from an ankle injury?


    A: Schwartz missed 21 games, and in those games, the Blues scored more than three goals only twice. Vladimir Tarasenko had 15 points in those 21 games. He has 32 in 32 with Schwartz in the lineup. The team was 9-10-1 in those 21 games; they’re 22-9-2 with him. Schwartz is an unlikely player to make the whole engine go, but the reality is that the Blues don’t have the depth to sustain major injuries up front. Without Schwartz, players are forced into uncomfortable roles and asked to carry loads that are likely too heavy for them. His return slots everyone into their proper spot, and from there, the team benefits. He’s also renowned as a great 'in the room' guy, to the extent that a reader values such things.


    Q: Where would this team be without the acquisition of Brayden Schenn?


    A: If we assume that removing Schenn leaves them with the same roster otherwise, they’d be nowhere good. Schenn has been a revelation, and while it would be nice to still have this year’s first as either a tradable asset or an actual pick, his performance has more than justified the deal. Jori Lehtera’s contract was a nightmare, and that’s the price you pay to shake it off. Schenn and Schwartz have been friends since childhood, and their chemistry has helped each of them elevate the other.


    Q: Is Carter Hutton stealing the goal from Jake Allen?


    A: If you had asked me this question a week ago, I would say he’d already stolen it. In that week, Hutton allowed one goal in two games, and yet I still have to say I don’t know. Allen played a very strong game against Boston in a 3-1 loss that included an incredibly controversial non-call for goalie interference and an empty-net goal in a game where the Blues allowed nearly 50 shots. Then Hutton went out Saturday and shut out the Sabres. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop on Hutton.


    Everyone is waiting for Allen to prove he’s worth the contract. Blues fans have been trained for a long time to defer to Allen. Going back 10 years, the organization’s messaging has been that Allen is better. Better than Jakob Markstrom (who was drafted just ahead of him), better than Ben Bishop (who was traded in part because Allen was ascending) and better than Brian Elliott. So far, that hasn’t proven to be the case. Also, keep in mind that Allen isn’t Yeo’s choice. He inherited him. That could make the spot more tenuous.


    Q: What is the Blues' outlook for the trade deadline? Are they buying, selling or standing pat?


    A: Somewhere between buying and standing pat. I don’t expect them to be heavily engaged in the rental market, but a player with a small amount of term left would make a good deal of sense. Max Pacioretty and Mike Hoffman are the two names you hear the most. I expressed a little curiosity yesterday about Ryan McDonough, as well, since Jay Bouwmeester has fallen so far off that he can’t be counted on to play a top-four role. An important thing to note: Doug Armstrong has not added a top-six forward during the season since 2011 when Chris Stewart was ostensibly still good and included as part of the deal that sent Erik Johnson to Colorado.


    Thanks to Jeff Jones for contributing to this post. He can be found writing at stlouisgametime.com or on weareliveradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmjones.

    Previous posts in this Central Division series:

    Chicago Blackhawks

    Nashville Predators




    Never Miss an Episode of Giles & The Goalie!

    subscribe on itunes


    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...