The St. Louis Blues are currently in an interesting situation as the trade deadline approaches. The team has bolstered its offense over the last season by adding scoring forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad to help provide reinforcements to veteran forwards Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, and Vladimir Tarasenko. The emergence and development of Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou are all right on schedule as the forward core looks to be set for a deep run through the playoffs.
However, it is the clubs’ defense that has become concerning to fans in St. Louis, leading many to ask if the front office will look to make a move and bring in reinforcements to complement their forward group. The team has announced that defenseman Marco Scandella has suffered a lower-body injury and a recovery timetable is still unknown. His absence, along with rookie Scott Perunovich, has left the team’s left side open for internal candidates like Jake Walman to fill the void or to search for outside options.
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The organization currently has a depth of Nikko Mikkola, Torey Krug, Perunovich, Scandella, and Walman all listed as available left defensemen. While Mikkola has stepped up this season, it is yet to be seen if he is a long-term option for the top-pairing unit with Colton Parayko. Let’s take a look at three outside targets that could not only fill the void but become options to move up and down the lineup if needed.
The No. 1 trade candidate for the Blues, and reportedly a highly sought after option this trade deadline, comes from the Arizona Coyotes. At 23 years old, the former 16th-overall draft choice of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft is on a very affordable $4.6 million annual cap hit through the 2024-25 season and has played his way up and down the lineup for the Coyotes. At 6-foot-2 and 211 pounds, the defenseman fits the mold of a player that can play both ends of the ice and still contribute offensively on the stat sheet. This season, much like the rest of the Coyotes organization, he is having a season to forget. With two goals and 10 points and a minus-27 goal differential over 36 games this season, Chychrun will need to wash himself clean of this season. Now in his sixth season, he has appeared in 326 career games with the club, scoring 48 goals and 131 points.
During an interview with Nick Kypreos, he stated that the rumored price tag for trade could include at least one good young NHL player, a top prospect, and a couple of draft picks, one of those being a first-rounder. As the Blues currently have several options on the left side as it is, the organization could have the luxury to float Perunovich or Mikkola in a trade offer if it would mean someone of Chychrun is sent back in return. A player that is averaging just under 24 minutes on ice per game, the Florida-native is not only an interesting option for the Blues to consider but one that the organization has the pieces to pull off a trade to acquire.
Calvin de Haan
A long-shot option for the organization currently plays for the longtime rival, Chicago Blackhawks. De Haan is another option and trade candidate to consider as a valuable depth piece for the remainder of this season. De Haan, 30, is in the final season of his contract carrying a cap hit of $4.55 million. The defenseman is currently playing top-pairing minutes with the Blackhawks as the organization seems destined for a rebuild among several controversial events that continue to surface through the media.
While it is unlikely that the Blues and Blackhawks can come to an agreement that would provide each other with any sort of benefit, de Haan remains a valuable option if the teams could swing a trade. The defenseman brings over 30 games of playoff experience to the table and has averaged 19:32 of ice time over his career. His 16 goals and 115 points over 494 career regular-season games do not bode confidence in his offensive ability, but provide plenty of veteran depth options should the club acquire and look to re-sign de Haan.
Chiarot is the final trade target and rumored defensive option for the Blues this season. Said to be one of the highest sought-after trade pieces this deadline, the price for his services could be larger than the organization would be willing to part ways with. However, at 30 years old with a price tag of $3.5 million and is averaging over 23 minutes per night, he will certainly turn plenty of heads and leave many teams considering him until a move is made.
Chiarot stands at 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds. For a Blues team that likes to play a heavy game and has several smaller defensemen on their roster, adding another one on the blue line that can throw the body around always helps. Now in his ninth season, he has been to the postseason five times in his time with the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.
While the trade deadline is over a month away, the Blues may be hard pressed to make any decisions until the last minute. The club currently has plenty of options to insert on their left side, their options are inexperienced and smaller in stature than some may prefer. Time will tell if the front office is willing to make such a bold move to acquire a defenseman in a trade market that seems light on available blueliners. If the team wishes to make a deep run this season, obtaining someone who can play the heavy minutes could benefit the team greatly.