The St. Louis Blues have been rumored to be in the mix for many players on the trade market, but their salary cap situation won’t allow it more times than not. They have been attached to names like Jakob Chychrun, Mark Giordano, and others, even those are more realistic deals than Claude Giroux.
The Blues aren’t likely to make a significant deal during the trade deadline, and there are many reasons for that. The Giroux rumors make zero sense for them, but it’s been put out there. I don’t see the Blues being in the mix for any forwards, especially with how Vladimir Tarasenko has played this season.
The biggest issue is that if the Philadelphia Flyers trade Giroux, it seems as if he’ll end up in the Central Divison, with either the Minnesota Wild or Colorado Avalanche. They have more cap flexibility and a bigger need at forward than the Blues though.
Blues Forward Depth
The true strength of the Blues this season has been their forward group. They can roll four lines and have extra depth to go along with that. Giroux’s strength has been at center throughout his career, with an elite faceoff percentage and two-way capabilities.
The Blues have had seven players score double-digit goals this season, including nine from David Perron, who has struggled despite being a perennial 15-plus goal scorer. Any Blues forward that hasn’t tallied over 10 goals this season has contributed with two-way capabilities, such as Tyler Bozak, Oskar Sundqvist, and others.
Despite the general NHL lineup of 12 forwards, the Blues have had 19 forwards appear in five or more games, their depth is amongst the best in the league. Every one of the 19 forwards has contributed in some way, it’s a testament to the work that has been done by general manager Doug Armstrong and others in the front office.
Blues’ Salary Cap Issues
The cap issues for the Blues have been talked about a lot, the Marco Scandella contract has hampered them this season. They have virtually no cap space, and Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit is nearly impossible to trade for without major draft compensation in exchange for retained salary, prospects, and bad contracts.
This doesn’t seem to be a season where Armstrong will move any sort of significant capital to add to the roster, a veteran defenseman with a lower cap hit is the most likely move. The moves made last summer should signal that they are comfortable with their forward group, the Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad additions were perfect.
The Blues have six players with a cap hit of $4 million or more, adding another during the season doesn’t make sense, especially since those six players won’t be dealt. Even with Giroux’s contract expiring contract, this is a complicated deal to figure out. It wouldn’t stun me to see the Blues make a call on a Giroux deal, but it won’t go far.
Focus on Defensive Upgrades
The clear focus for the Blues at the deadline should be fixing their clear weakness on the back-end. The metrics don’t need to be brought up when you watch the defensive coverage from this team. It’s not all on the defensemen, though, the forwards have struggled to consistently defend and backcheck.
The Blues being in the bottom five on this graphic is extremely disappointing, they are in the company of a few of the worst teams in the league right now. When folks discuss the numbers of Jordan Binnington and how they aren’t good this season, they should also point to this graphic. The strengths of this team had completely shifted from their defensive dominance when they won the 2019 Stanley Cup.
The main targets for a defensive upgrade should be the likes of Ben Chiarot and Nick Leddy before they look at a Chychrun deal, most of that is due to cap reasons. The overall idea of a Giroux deal makes zero sense for the Blues, and the reasons laid out in this article are just the beginning. I don’t see them making a move this significant anyway, so the price for Giroux will be way too high. I also believe that the Flyers would be hesitant to deal with Armstrong and Blues given the Brayden Schenn deal and how that has gone for them, even with a different GM.
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.