Like any other NHL franchise, the St. Louis Blues have made plenty of good trades, and plenty of bad trades. The recent trade history for the Blues has been very good, and was a key factor in their success last season. Let’s discuss their three best and worst trades in franchise history.
Blues’ Worst Trades
Giving up on Brind’Amour
Two seasons after being the ninth overall pick, Rod Brind’Amour was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blues traded him and Dan Quinn for Ron Sutter and Murray Baron.
Baron was a solid defenseman for seven seasons with the Blues, playing nearly 20 minutes per game over that time, while Sutter had 37 goals in 163 games over three seasons in St. Louis.
Related: St. Louis Blues Mt. Rushmore
Brind’Amour played nine seasons in Philadelphia, scoring 601 points. He then played 10 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he won two Selke Trophies and was the captain of the 2006 Stanley Cup championship team. He finished his long career with 1,184 points in nearly 1,500 games, including 452 goals. Who knows what may have happened if the Blues had held onto him?
Trading Joe Mullen to Calgary
Joe Mullen was traded to the Calgary Flames at the deadline in 1986 after four and a half good seasons with the Blues, where he scored 151 goals. Mullen went to the Flames along with Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson for Eddy Beers, Charles Bourgeois, and Gino Cavallini.
Johnson and Wilson spent a lot of their time in the minors after the trade from St. Louis to Calgary. Beers played 24 games with the Blues after the trade, and that was it. Bourgeois played 127 games over three different seasons for the Blues, scoring 24 points from the blue line.
Cavallini worked out pretty well for the Blues in this deal. He played nearly seven seasons in St. Louis, tallying 211 points in 454 games.
However, Mullen won a Stanley Cup with the Flames, and scored 388 points in 345 games for Calgary. He also won two more Cups after that with the Pittsburgh Penguins and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
Parting Ways with Adam Oates
One of the worst days in franchise history was Feb. 7, 1992. Not long after signing a four-year extension, Adam Oates wanted more money. He saw players like Brendan Shanahan earn big paydays, and Oates felt he was worth that, which he was.
Brett Hull and Oates were arguably the best duo in franchise history, and breaking that up after three seasons was so disappointing.
Rather than trying to negotiate the deal again, the Blues traded Oates to the Boston Bruins for Craig Janney and Stephane Quintal. Janney was pretty good with the Blues, scoring 233 points in 186 games over four seasons. Quintal scored a goal and 16 assists in 101 games as a Blue.
By no means am I trying to say that Janney wasn’t a good player with the Blues, but trading Oates was always likely not going to be a winner for the team.
Oates continued his Hall of Fame trajectory after the trade, nearly winning a Hart Trophy in his first full season with Boston. After nearly six seasons with the Bruins, Oates had 499 points in 368 games. He also played in Washington and a few other places as well.
He wrapped up his career in 2004, finishing 1,420 points in 1,337 games. He’s currently eighth all-time in NHL history with his 1,079 assists. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. We’re left to wonder what could have been with Hull and Oates if the Blues had held onto him.
Some Worst Trade Honorable Mentions
- Trading Hockey Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour to Calgary for Mike Bullard, Craig Coxe, and Tim Corkery.
- Trading All-Star goaltender Ben Bishop to the Ottawa for a second-round draft pick.
- Trading one of the best goaltenders in the league, Curtis Joseph, to the Edmonton Oilers for picks.
The Blues’ Best Trades
Trading for Brett Hull
This is a no brainer to me as one of the best trades in Blues’ history. St. Louis acquired Hull and Steve Bozek from the Flames for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.
Ramage was a good Blue, but his production really fell off after the trade. He had 296 of his 564 career points in St. Louis, over nearly six seasons. Wamsley was a solid goaltender for the Flames, as he had a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.21 over almost five seasons.
Brett Hull played 744 games with the Blues, and in that time he became the franchise’s leading goalscorer with 527. During his three-season period with Adam Oates, he scored 72, 86, and 70 goals, winning the Hart Trophy in 1990-91 with the 86 goals.
Hull is also second all-time in franchise history with 936 points, only trailing Bernie Federko with 1,073.
Another Trade With the Flames, This Time for Al Macinnis
The Blues have made a lot of trades with the Flames in their history, and in this one, they acquired another Hockey Hall of Famer, Al MacInnis.
The deal went down in 1994 – the Blues acquired MacInnis and a pick for Phil Housley and a couple of picks. Housley is another Hall of Famer, and had some very good seasons after the trade, but was not a player of MacInnis’ caliber at that time for the Blues.
MacInnis’ best offensive seasons were in Calgary, but he still provided a lot for the Blues in the 10 seasons he spent on the blue line. He won his first Norris Trophy in 1998-99 and almost won another in 2002-03 at age 39. He scored 452 points in 613 games with the Blues and was a force on the back end.
The best blue-line pairing in club history is by far MacInnis and Chris Pronger – they were so dominant.
Robbing the Buffalo Sabres for Ryan O’Reilly
Ryan O’Reilly hasn’t even played two full seasons for the Blues and this is already one of the best trades in team history.
On July 1, 2018, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong made his best trade yet. He sent Patrik Berglund, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka and a first-round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Ryan O’Reilly.
Berglund was a fine Blue, a top-20 goal scorer in Blues history, but he ended up leaving the Sabres and NHL after 23 games in 2018-19. Thompson still has some potential, but doesn’t look like he can live up to his first-round selection. He has 12 points in 66 games in Buffalo. Sobotka was already over the age of 30 by the time this trade happened, and has 16 points in 85 games with the Sabres.
O’Reilly was the only consistent performer during the 2018-19 season for the Blues that turned upside down and led them to a Stanley Cup. O’Reilly, the Conn Smythe winner, was the key to success in their seven-game triumph over the Bruins.
In the 2018-19 season, he led the team with 77 points over 82 games and led the team in the playoffs as well with 23 points in 26 games. In the now-suspended 2019-20 season, he has scored 61 points in 71 games, a bit of a drop off in his overall goal production, but still a solid all-around center.
Some Best Trade Honorable Mentions
- Trading Brendan Shanahan to the Hartford Whalers for Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Pronger.
- Trading Christer Olsson to Ottawa for goalscorer Pavol Demitra.
- Trading Jori Lehtera and a couple of picks to the Philadelphia Flyers for key center Brayden Schenn.
- Trading Ron Attell and Ron Stewart to the Montreal Canadiens for Red Berenson and Barclay Plager, two future franchise legends.
The Blues’ history of trading is very hit or miss, similar to many other NHL franchises. The recent trade history for Doug Armstrong is very good, the Schenn and O’Reilly deals were catalysts in last year’s run. If it continues to be good, the Blues will have a winner for a while.