With the offseason upon us, we get the opportunity to look at potential trade targets for the St. Louis Blues as they try to improve their club and get ready for another season.
The trade rumor mill has been wild recently and there are plenty of players for the Blues to make calls to other teams for. Here are four players that the Blues should look at in the trade market this offseason.
LW Jake DeBrusk (Team: Boston Bruins) (Status: RFA)
This is a long shot, but with the Bruins’ cap situation as well as the flat cap and the number of expiring deals they have, they could possibly look into moving Jake DeBrusk for a healthy return.
DeBrusk is trending upward on the TSN Trade Bait Board, currently ranked seventh. I’m not sure the Bruins would actually move him, but clearly, there is a chance that they will.
DeBrusk is only 23 years old and will be 24 when the 2020-21 season begins, whenever that is. As a young goal scorer, he is just what the Blues need with the absence of Vladimir Tarasenko in part of next season.
DeBrusk had 19 goals in 65 games in 2019-20, his number of goals was down from 2018-19, where he had 27 in 68 games. His speed and youth combined with his skill make him a perfect fit on either of the top two lines for the Blues.
He could be one of the restricted free agents (RFA) that signs a bridge deal — his next cap hit is likely to be around $5 million per season. That could affect the return for the Bruins.
Here’s the offer I would make if I were Blues’ general manager Doug Armstrong.
[table id=375 /]
I’m not sure this return would satisfy Boston, but for the Blues, they are dealing one of their best prospects in Kostin and a New England-born winger in Sanford who scored 30 points in 58 games in 2019-20.
The Bruins would also get two picks over three years for the rights to DeBrusk. I like this deal for both sides, but it may not be enough to get it done.
RW Jake Virtanen (Team: Vancouver Canucks) (Status: RFA)
Jake Virtanen is another young RFA with goal-scoring potential. The Canucks have been shopping him around this offseason and there is a chance he is dealt by their general manager Jim Benning. He is ranked ninth on the TSN Trade Bait board right now.
Virtanen was the sixth overall pick for the Canucks in 2014 — he hasn’t lived up to that selection, but is still only 24 years old. He scored 18 goals in 2019-20, a career high for him.
One thing Virtanen could do for the Blues is be a versatile goal-scoring winger with size, speed and skill to play on one of the top lines. He was playing with Jay Beagle in the 2020 Playoffs. He could play with Ryan O’Reilly or Brayden Schenn if he came to St. Louis.
As far as the RFA deal goes for Virtanen, I assume they could get him fairly cheap, possibly around $3 million per season. He was making $1.25 million in the 2019-20 season and should see a raise of some sort after an 18-goal campaign.
This deal may not be liked by Canucks fans, but I assure you the Blues would be unlikely to actually make this deal. Anything could happen in this wild offseason ahead, though.
[table id=376 /]
For this deal, the Blues would surrender three picks, including two third-round picks and a fifth-round pick to go along with Bozak. You may think that Bozak is a salary-dump in this scenario, but he’s not.
He is a perfect fit on the third line in Vancouver behind Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat. His cap hit is certainly a bit rich for that role, but he could play it well. Bozak does have a modified no-trade clause, but I think he would go to the Canucks.
RW Kyle Palmieri (Team: New Jersey Devils) (Status: 1 year, $4.650 million cap hit remaining)
Palmieri has a team-friendly contract for one more season and could be a perfect addition to the Blues as a right-handed, goal-scoring winger.
Since being dealt from the Anaheim Ducks to the Devils in 2015, he’s become a consistent goal scorer with over 20 goals in each of the last five seasons.
Over the last couple seasons, Palmieri has had great chemistry with young center Nico Hischier, so it is likely that the Devils would only move him for a good return. But with him having only one year left on his deal, they could be more inclined to move him.
As far as a package goes, I think the Blues would only engage with the Devils by being conservative and not giving up too much, so I will try to play that role here. Palmieri is 31st on the TSN Trade Bait board right now.
[table id=378 /]
In this deal, we see the Blues parting ways with longtime alternate captain Alexander Steen, as well as one of the higher-tier prospects in Nikita Alexandrov. The Blues drafted Alexandrov with the 62nd pick in the 2019 Draft.
Also dealing the third-round pick of the Washington Capitals from this year’s draft in this deal. This might not be enough for the Devils, but Palmieri is a one-year rental in all likelihood. Steen can be a veteran leader on their young club and Alexandrov is ranked fourth on our own Stephen Ground’s Blues’ prospect rankings.
Palmieri would be a good fit on either of the top two lines for the Blues in 2020-21, and would likely be able to contribute 20 goals or more.
RW Jonathan Marchessault (Team: Vegas Golden Knights) (Status: 4 years, $5 million cap hit remaining)
This one may seem crazy, but Marchessault is 29 years old and has a large cap hit for a team that has little-to-no cap space right now. (from ‘5 players the Golden Knights could look to trade this offseason,’ Las Vegas Sun, 09/23/2020) I believe would rather deal him over Mark Stone, William Karlsson, or another high paid forward.
Marchessault had early career struggles with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers, but scored 30 goals in Florida in 2016-17, the year before he went to Vegas. He’s then followed that up with three straight 20-plus goal seasons with the Golden Knights.
It would likely take a large package to get a great goal-scoring winger with a solid defensive history, but the Blues could do it. Marchessault is ranked 37th and trending upward on the TSN Trade Bait board. The Blues can certainly offer something competitive, but it may not be enough.
[table id=379 /]
This may seem like a large package when you first look at it, but giving this up for Marchessault could work. Kostin is a great prospect, but he could be an attractive player for Vegas. Marchessault and Schwartz both have modified no-trade clauses, but I can assume both would waive to go from contender to contender.
The Blues would get a lot of control with Marchessault. The Golden Knights would get a hard-working goal scorer like Schwartz on one of their top lines and a promising young prospect like Kostin, on top of a first-round pick next year and a third-round pick this year. That seems like a good deal for Vegas.
I added in Paul Stastny to get him back in a Blues uniform as another forward to add to this group. If Bozak is gone, Stastny could fit his role or better, could play on one of the top two lines. This deal could give Vegas more cap to work with as they try to add a defenseman such as Alex Pietrangelo.
The Blues would be giving up a hefty package and the deal may not make a ton of sense, but it is good to exercise various trade ideas in a big offseason.
Armstrong has a lot of work to do this offseason to try and keep this team together and continue to contend.