The St. Louis Blues remain a strange case. They’re perennial contenders, but their roster can’t muster even the smallest amount of playoff success, leading to pressure to change up what is consistently one of the league’s best teams for the first 82 games of each season.
It looked like GM Doug Armstrong was willing to give it at least one more go with the current core when he re-signed coach Ken Hitchcock to a one-year contract. However, the situation in St. Louis may be more fluid than that.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting that Armstrong is willing to hear trade offers for veteran forwards David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and Patrik Berglund. Those three are three of the five highest paid forwards on the team, with only Alexander Steen and Paul Stastny making more.
It’s easy to see why Backes is in the mix, with just a single year left on his contract and a team that has some talented young forwards like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz coming up, not to mention guys like Robby Fabbri and Ivan Barbashev on the horizon. The team may develop a new identity in the coming years and they’ll certainly be needing some of the cap space back from guys like Backes, who is 31.
On the possibility of trading Backes, LeBrun says:
Backes enters the final season of his deal, which is why you hear his name out there. It’s the perfect time to move him for value. But they could easily keep him too, given how difficult he would be to replace. Again, depends on what the Blues are being offered.
Whether we see a move or not will depend on the market. The Blues aren’t in a desperate situation where they have to move a guy. They’ll be looking for value in return according to LeBrun. At least for now, the Blues are willing to hang onto these guys and make another run, but if they can improve the team long-term and shake things up, they’re listening.
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.