Blues 2021-22 Trade Deadline Primer

Today at 3:00 PM ET, the NHL Trade Deadline will expire for the 2021-22 season. To this point, eight of the top 12 teams in the league have made a fairly significant trade in the week or so leading up to the deadline. The St. Louis Blues are one of the few who have not.

Most expected general manager Doug Armstrong to be active at the deadline, but to this point, no move has taken place. Many of the pieces the Blues have been linked to have already moved. But there are still some major questions to answer. Let’s take a look at the top stories to know heading into the trade deadline for the Blues.

Moves the Blues Missed

According to rumors from NHL insiders, the St. Louis Blues have been in on just about every defenseman who has moved at the deadline. Here’s a quick guide on the trades that have already happened on players the Blues have been linked to:

Rumors had the Montreal Canadiens shopping defenseman Ben Chiarot for most of the season. The expected price was a first-round pick, and the Florida Panthers ultimately met that price, trading a 2023 first-round pick, a prospect, and another pick to the Canadiens to add Chiarot. The Blues were rumored to be interested in Chiarot but were unwilling to meet the steep asking price.

On Saturday, rumors moved quickly that the Blues might be contenders for Hampus Lindholm of the Anaheim Ducks. But ultimately it was the Boston Bruins who paid a steep price for Lindholm, giving a prospect, John Moore’s contract, and three picks in the first two rounds to get the Swedish blueliner.

Some suggested the Blues would pivot to veteran defender Mark Giordano after missing out on Chiarot and Lindholm, but ultimately the Toronto Maple Leafs surrendered three picks to get the job done.

Chychrun Could Still Be a Target

One big name left-handed defenseman is clearly still on the market: Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes. The soon-to-be 24-year-old Florida native is a gifted defender and an offensive playmaker who has scored a ton of goals from the blueline. Most importantly, he has a very manageable contract that carries a $4.6 million salary-cap hit for this season and three more. The Coyotes will expect a king’s ransom, but he is rumored to be available.

Jakob Chychrun Arizona Coyotes
Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

But Chychrun suffered an injury last week that clouds the picture significantly. Teams that might have been interested in his services have dwindled: some might have concerns about the injury, some, like the Bruins, have solved their defensive needs through a different trade. Others might be scared away by the injury. But more importantly than any of that, the Coyotes are in no rush to trade their prized defender. They have three more seasons of control, and given how tight the salary cap is around the league, they are right to expect a fortune for his manageable contract. Jeff Marek is now reporting that Chychrun is unlikely to move unless someone really blows the Coyotes away. As Armstrong has held back on several costly options so far, that seems unlikely.

Flyers Shopping Lefties?

One wild card team to watch out for is the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are in the midst of what they have called an “aggressive retool,” but various rumors indicate that either of their two terrific left-handed defensemen, Ivan Provorov or Travis Sanheim, might be available for the right price. Like the Coyotes, the Flyers are in no hurry to trade either defender, so the price will likely be very high.

Related: Blues Should Make Provorov a Priority Target

It seems like a long shot that the Flyers actually pull the trigger and move either defender in a hurry. Both are under contract for next season. But if available, either could make sense for the Blues. Both are lefties, which fits the Blues’ most obvious need, and while Provorov is having a down season, he is a terrific defenseman with elite upside. Sanheim is a fantastic two-way defender, and could also be a tremendous solution for St. Louis. If the Flyers are serious about moving either defender at the deadline, expect St. Louis to be heavily interested.

Blues Could Move Husso

It’s extremely unlikely, but if the Blues want to sell at the deadline, goaltender Ville Husso is a prime candidate. There are several teams with a clear need in goal, and while some claim that they’re content where they are at, Husso might change their minds, especially given his basement-level salary cap hit.

Ville Husso St. Louis Blues
Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

We’ve looked elsewhere at three teams that might make a desperate move for Husso. But the Blues would need to be convinced to sell. He looks like their starting netminder right now, and there are rumors that Armstrong has even shopped Jordan Binnington to goalie-hungry teams, with few nibbles on the other end. It is an extreme longshot, but don’t rule out a shocking trade of the unrestricted free agent (UFA) if Armstrong feels he cannot keep him and gets a deal that is too good to pass up.

Tarasenko Will Wait Until Summer

One final player to consider is Vladimir Tarasenko, the top goal scorer who requested a trade away from St. Louis last summer. The Blues couldn’t find a trade partner, and it worked out for them: he is second on the team in goals and points this season. As a result, he almost certainly won’t be moved until the summer, unless someone gets truly desperate in a talent-starved forward market. Tarasenko will be critical if the Blues want to be Cup contenders, so he will stay with the team through the deadline. But fans that think that Tarasenko’s grievances might be healed and that a long-term union might be a possibility shouldn’t get their hopes up. The Blues likely will move Tarasenko’s salary cap hit this summer and get future assets for him rather than take the risk that they might lose him for nothing the following summer.

Armstrong Should Ignore the Pressure

There will be a lot of pressure on Armstrong to make a move today. He should ignore it. There may be a move out there that makes sense for him, and he should pursue it. But as the expression goes, he should not and will not make a move “just to make a move.” He has been patient and smart to this point, passing up on several options because the price was too high. He should keep that mindset on Monday. A trade deadline with no moves is infinitely better than a trade deadline with self-destructive moves. Armstrong has usually avoided the latter.

St. Louis Blues Doug Armstrong
St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Roberson)

It’s going to be an exciting day around the NHL. Keep checking back with the Hockey Writers for all the latest on the Blues and other teams around the league. Happy trading!