The offseason has arrived for the majority of the NHL, as the 2020-21 season has come to an end for many teams. That is no different for the St. Louis Blues, who fell to the Colorado Avalanche in four games in the first round.
The Blues have lots of work to do to fix the roster – most teams must do this to be successful, but this is a significant offseason in St. Louis, as they are two seasons removed from the 2019 Stanley Cup championship. There are many targets in play, and this piece will highlight a big one.
The Blues Need Help Everywhere
If the 2020-21 season taught us anything, it’s that the Blues are well behind the likes of the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche. This group needs some shake-ups and changes – those should come this summer, and it starts with the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft in July.
What Does Saad Offer?
The free agency period is where the Blues can start to make serious additions and changes to their play style. Brandon Saad could be a legitimately tremendous fit – the Blues know him well from when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Avs this past season.
The position he has played, which is left wing, is a need for the Blues, as they will likely lose Jaden Schwartz and Mike Hoffman to other teams this summer. Saad brings the positional need, as well as the ability and experience.
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Saad has scored more than 20 goals in five of the last seven seasons, playing on three different teams during that time. He’s adjusted well to changing scenery as he has been traded on three different occasions – there shouldn’t be any worry about him adjusting to another team, as the Blues have a welcoming group of veterans that he can compete with.
Is Saad a Good Fit for the Blues?
There is no question that the Blues will need a top-six winger to replace Hoffman and/or Schwartz, and Saad fits that profile completely.
What Will the Contract Look Like?
Saad’s expiring contract was a six-year deal, originally signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets – it was strapped with an annual average value (AAV) of $6 million. I’d have to assume that he will make near the same or less money with the current status of the salary cap throughout the league. He’s been a consistent goalscorer – the goal for the Blues here should be to try and sign him for a smaller cap hit. The deal I’d be willing to do is four years, with an AAV of $5.5 million, which would be a possible steal. This would need to happen late in the summer as his options dwindle.
Where Would Saad Play?
I’d like to think that the Blues would use Saad as a winger on one of the top two lines, but who knows how they will operate – they handled Hoffman weirdly, as we all know. I’d see Saad as a terrific fit with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron, giving the captain another goalscorer on his side.
Should the Blues Sign Saad?
I don’t see why not – he’s a perfect fit, he scores goals and plays a much more complete game than many of the wingers currently on the roster. The thing that would hold the Blues back is the cap hit – despite the ownership group clearly wanting to spend, you have to spend smart.
Overpaying for Saad will not be something that Blues’ general manager Doug Armstrong will do. At the end of the day, if Saad lasts a couple of weeks on the market, the Blues should engage.
The Verdict: Saad Goes to Los Angeles
Now is the time for the Los Angeles Kings to add pieces to become contenders once again – they have been heavily discussed as a rumored team for Jack Eichel in a trade. They have one of the best prospect pools in the league and veteran players to lead with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and others.
As great as Saad would fit the Blues, he is just as much of a fit in Los Angeles as well. I have no doubt that the Avalanche won’t be able to keep him, so I expect him to leave, but I don’t expect the Blues to pull the trigger.
I have been covering sports for nearly a decade. I started with FanSided as a Baseball Contributor. Now I am writing about the NHL and the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. I grew up in Central Illinois as a huge fan of every sport. Finally, I do various podcasting across all major platforms.