Blues Face Deadline Decisions

 

With the NHL trade deadline looming upon us, less than a week away, it is time to consider what options the Blues have. Although, in my humble opinion, and the thoughts of many other Blues fans I presume, it may be enough to sit back on this team and let the return of injured players account for any adjustment they may want to make. Because the worst thing that can come from any trade at the deadline is a rut in established team chemistry. Either way, whatever route the Blues decide to take, it is always fun to consider some trades that they could make.

 

As of today the Blues have just under $10 million in cap space to play with, $9,808,492 to be exact. Anyone's contract that they would take on would have to be accounted towards that, as it would seem in their current condition they would not be trading any top roster players. In that, lets take a look at what players the Blues have in the system that could be dangled towards acquiring an impact player.

 

Jaden Schwartz

St. Louis' 14th overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NHL entry draft could be an attractive commodity for other teams, should the Blues look to bolster their roster before the trade deadline. Schwartz, who captained Canada's bronze medal winning team at his second World Junior Championships this year, is currently playing at Colorado College. So far this year he has put up 34 points in 24 games. Schwartz is described as a player with extremely fast feet who can make plays at every speed. Although not having the biggest stature, he does play very aggressive for his side and scouts consider him to have good upside as a scoring winger.

 

Vladimir Tarasenko

Another player who the Blues also have in the system is the Russian born Tarasenko, currently playing in the KHL. This Blues draft pick, taken in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2010 NHL entry draft, is a very high ranking prospect. He is currently playing for SKA St. Petersburg after being traded in January away from Sibir Novosibirsk. In his 51 games played this year in the KHL, split between the two teams, he has notched an impressive 44 points. Tarasenko is considered by scouts to be very talented with a huge upside as a scoring winger, through his puck control and one-on-one skills. He would also be very valuable trade bait.

 

 

Ben Bishop may be the Blues top prospect in their system, is it the right time to trade him away?

 

Ben Bishop

Ben Bishop may be the top prospect that the Blues could use in acquiring anyone come the trade deadline. And it may be a matter of need rather than want. Being one of the, if not best, goalies not playing in the NHL, Bishop will become an unrestricted free agent next year if he does not play in 17 NHL games for over 30 minutes this year. He was a standout at the AHL All Star game this year taking home the MVP for the game. His huge size, and his effectiveness of using it is what the scouts love. They see him as having a huge upside and one day being a starting goalie in the NHL.

 

After considering all these great prospects the Blues have in the system it really makes one think if this is the time to be trading them away, Bishop maybe being the only exception to that. Either way, let's consider a few players that the Blues could be interested in.

 

Tuomo Ruuto, Forward, Carolina Hurricanes

Age:28

Cap hit: $3 800 000

Projected Cap Hit from Deadline On: $821 622

2012/13 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

 

Ruuto is being sought after by many teams, or so it seems that there is a lot of interest in him. He would be a nice compliment into the Blues lineup. He plays a very aggressive, confident game and also finds his name appearing on the score sheet. Added toughness and depth to the lineup would be a great addition to a playoff bound team like the Blues. Carolina will be looking to sell after being in the bottom of the playoff picture, but like Bryan Allen below, Ruuto could have a higher than needed asking price.

 

 

Ruuto may be the best option out there for the Blues to acquire at the deadline, assuming they do add someone that is.

 

 

Ryan Malone, Forward, Tampa Bay Lightning

Age: 32

Cap Hit: $4 500 000

Projected Cap Hit from Deadline On: $972 973

2012/13 Status: Three years remaining on a 4.5 million cap hit contract.

 

Malone would provide the Blues forwards with more depth, what every team needs going into the playoffs, and also some size and strength. He plays a sound defensive game which should fit into the Blues lineup nicely, and can chip in a few points here or there. Although Tampa may not be entirely out of the playoff picture, time is slowly running out and a goaltender may be a nice addition for themselves going into next year, which the Blues have plenty of.

 

Bryan Allen, Defence, Carolina Hurricanes

Age: 31

Cap Hit: $2 900 000

Projected Cap Hit from Deadline On: $627 027

2012/13 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

 

Allen would be a welcome addition to a young Blues back line. He brings size, strength and physicality to the table. If the Blues were looking to make any splash in the trade market to solidify their back end this shut down defensive defenceman could be their guy. With Carolina more than out of the playoff picture, Allen will be looked at by more than just the Blues and could drive up the asking price.

 

Johnny Oduya, Defence, Winnipeg Jets

Age: 30

Cap Hit: $3 500 000

Projected Cap Hit from Deadline On: $756 757

2012/13 Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

 

Although in their current situation the Jets are still in the thick of a playoff race, word is Oduya may still be made available, and more so if the Jets slide a little bit in the next week. Like Allen, Oduya plays a defensive game that limits the mistakes in the defensive zone. Although being a great skater, he does not bring a huge offensive threat to the table but his defensive zone coverage would be what the Blues would be looking at.

 

In the end, the Blues can go two different routes. Which of those they choose to go will be decided within less than a week. It will be interesting for all Blues fans to see the fate of Bishop, and whether or not the Blues feel like they have what it takes this year to sacrifice the future for now and make a splash at the deadline. Whatever route they decide to take there is no doubt they will be a stronger team at the end of February 27th, either with addition of a player through trade, or the reinstatment of injured players.

 

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* Cap numbers have been accessed through http://nhlnumbers.com/ and http://capgeek.com/

2 Comments

Taylor Giffin's picture

Downsizing many teams wish list's I am sure, Tuomo Ruutu has signed a four year $19 million contract extension with the Hurricanes.

Taylor Giffin's picture

Word is that Ottawa and the Blues were in discussion last night about Ben Bishop. The Senators are certainly interested in the young AHL goalie I am sure, with Anderson now out injured and them in the thick of it in the East, but want to know if they will be able to sign the pending UFA (assuming he does not play in the 17 games, 30 minutes deal).