Despite a wealth of depth and a good season to this point, the St. Louis Blues have room for improvement. As a contending team, they are likely to explore all options when it comes to this season’s trade deadline. The deadline will be on March 21, 2022, and it should be an active one with so many contending teams.
For the Blues, it all comes down to improvement on the defensive end, as that’s their true glaring need. Their forward group is among the best in the league with its depth and scoring touch, their goaltending has been inconsistent, but it all comes back to defense. Jordan Binnington’s starts against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames, where he gave up a total of 13 goals, was proof of this glaring need. Their defense has no identity and lacks whatever they had over the past few seasons; it’s gotten progressively worse since the 2018-19 season. The only need for this team is defense, and there is not much of a debate about that.
1. Ben Chiarot, Defenseman (Montreal Canadiens) (Cap Hit: $3.5 Million)
This is one of the most logical options for the Blues. Ben Chiarot is in the final season of his contract, and his cap hit isn’t outrageous. The biggest issue for the Blues in any trade is figuring out the cap space issue, as they are projected to have well under a million in cap right now. But they have reportedly been interested in Chiarot throughout this season.
The Blues would more than likely need to move on from Marco Scandella in this deal, but with his modified no-trade clause, he may not want to go back to the Canadiens. There are a lot of moving parts in a deal like this for a team that has little to no cap space, so I feel the Blues wouldn’t entertain this idea too much.
As for Chiarot, he would be a great fit. He’s a veteran defenseman who has played over 450 games in the NHL. He’s 6-foot-3 and is as physical as they come for a second or third pair defenseman, as he’s registered over 70 hits in eight seasons. He’s played some heavy minutes for the Canadiens over the past few seasons and played in the Stanley Cup Final with them last season.
Chiarot would be a potentially perfect fit with Robert Bortuzzo or even Colton Parayko as the Blues try to fix their biggest issue. He’s certainly been better than Scandella throughout this season, but I’m not sure the Blues see it as a big gap between the two of them.
2. Nick Leddy, Defenseman (Detroit Red Wings) (Cap Hit: $5.5 Million)
Nick Leddy is another left-handed defenseman who can defend at a high level with his brilliant skating ability. He will also be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, so it’s a low-risk move for this season. He was already traded as a salary cap dump from the New York Islanders in the offseason for forward Richard Panik and a second-round pick.
I’m not sure what the price could be for Leddy this time around, but it shouldn’t be all that much for a rental player. He’s had a rough season offensively, but a lot of that can be attributed to new surroundings and a struggling Detroit Red Wings team. They are 27th in the league in goals allowed and 21st in goals scored, a less than ideal combination.
|Season (Team)||Goals Per Game (G/GP)||Assists Per Game (A/GP)||Points Per Game (P/GP)|
|2021-22 (Red Wings)||0.02||0.24||0.26|
Source: Hockey Reference
The table clearly shows that he’s had an up-and-down career, but his numbers are lower than ever this season in all three categories. If he is thrown into a serious contending situation with the Blues, that could bring out the best in him. Last season, when the Islanders were contending, he was healthy and had his best overall season in this stretch of five seasons. The Blues can make this work, even if they have to trade somebody they might not want to.
3. Ivan Provorov, Defenseman (Philadelphia Flyers) (Cap Hit: $6.75 Million)
This is a long shot and a shot in the dark, as it seems unlikely that the Philadelphia Flyers will move on from Ivan Provorov. They’ve had back-to-back disappointing seasons, with this one leading to the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault, and it hasn’t gotten better under former Blues head coach Mike Yeo.
The Blues should still make the call, even if this is a complicated situation with the salary cap. Admittedly, this is a scenario that may get no further than message boards because it hasn’t been talked about often on hockey sites. Either way, they must make a call to see where the Flyers are in terms of possibly selling at the deadline.
Provorov is still just 25 years old and has already played over 400 games in the NHL, all of which with the Flyers after being their seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft. He’s been dependable, too; he played all 82 games in each of his first three seasons. Standing at 6-foot-1, he’s got solid size and an ability to change the game with his two-way skill. He has struggled to put up numbers in the last couple of seasons, but he scored 41 points in 82 games, including 17 goals during a breakout 2017-18 season.
|Philadelphia Flyers Receive||St. Louis Blues Receive|
|D Marco Scandella||D Ivan Provorov|
|F Klim Kostin||2023 4th Round-Pick|
|F Nathan Walker|
|2022 3rd-Round Pick|
|2023 2nd-Round Pick|
As I mentioned, the chances of this ever happening are quite slim, and the Blues would be moving a lot of assets in a deadline deal with the one I presented above. But capitalizing on what Nathan Walker has done this season while moving on from Scandella and finding a new home for Klim Kostin would make some sense.
Either way, I think the Blues will be active in conversations about making a move to improve their defensive unit on deadline day, but I don’t expect anything to happen. The Blues have a good team now, and maybe a few in-house changes would help boost a defensive group that has struggled mightily this season.
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.