The St. Louis Blues are no strangers to making significant deadline trades to shake up the roster. However, some deals have played out better than others, while others may not pay dividends for several years. As the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline approaches, here is a look at some of the best and worst deadline moves made by the organization.
Top 5 Worst Trades
Blues Send Adam Oates to Boston
On Feb. 7, 1992, the Blues traded star forward Adam Oates to the Boston Bruins for center Craig Janney and defenseman Stephane Quintal. The trade was one of the biggest gut-wrenching moments in the history of the franchise and became one of the biggest “what ifs” as fans wondered what he and Brett Hull could have produced over their careers in St. Louis.
Oates played three seasons for the Blues with 58 goals and 286 points over 195 regular-season games. His linemate over those three seasons, Hull, had some of his most successful campaigns, scoring 72 goals in the 1989-90 season, 86 goals in 1990-91 and 70 goals in 1991-92. Their massive success led Oates to threaten to walk out if the franchise refused to renegotiate his three-year, $3 million contract.
“I don’t want to leave,” Oates said. “I don’t want to be traded. But we’d like the situation settled by the All-Star break. I want John Cullen money” (from ‘Hull takes Oates’ side in pay squabble,’ The Baltimore Sun, Jan. 11, 1992).
The renegotiation would have added $500,000 to two years of his three-year contract to match the four-year, $4 million Cullen was making with the Hartford Whalers. Hull supported his teammate and even offered to help the franchise pay him the additional money by deferring the payments of his contract. However, the Blues felt threatened that Oates would walk out and refuse to renegotiate his contract, and decided to move on and trade him.
Oates was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2012 and ranks 18th in NHL history with 1,420 points. His 19-year career saw the Ontario-native play for the Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and the Edmonton Oilers in addition to his time with the Blues and the Bruins.
The Ryan Miller Trade
The Blues acquired longtime Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott in a blockbuster trade that sent goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forwards Chris Stewart and William Carrier, a 2015 1st-round draft pick (Jack Roslovic), and a 2016 3rd-round pick to the Sabres.
Related: Ryan Miller Trade Revisited
At the time, the Blues were one of the top teams in the Western Conference and wanted to shore up one of their biggest weaknesses: goaltending. They were hoping the 33-year-old veteran netminder would help bring them back to the Stanley Cup Final and win their first championship in franchise history. The deal provided a bit of stability because Halak had become injury-prone and inconsistent. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out. St. Louis was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks, despite winning the first two games of the series, one in triple overtime.
Joe Mullen Dealt to Flames
After suffering from injuries during the 1983-84 season and a contract dispute that caused him to miss the first three days of training camp before the 1985-86 season, the Blues and Mullen were seemingly headed toward disaster. The Calgary Flames were in search of a dynamic offensive addition to their team and Mullen’s 151 goals and 335 points over 301 regular-season games fit the bill.
On Feb. 1, 1986, the Blues and the Calgary Flames agreed to a six-player swap that sent defensemen Terry Johnson and Rik Wilson and forward Joe Mullen to the Flames in exchange for forwards Gino Cavallini and Eddy Beers and defenseman Charles Bourgeois. Mullen’s prolific career marks this trade as one of the worst in franchise history. He went on to play over 1,000 regular-season games, scoring 502 goals and 1063 points and winning three Stanley Cups.
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Though Cavallini played in St. Louis for seven years, his 91 goals and 211 points over 454 regular-season games come nowhere close to Mullen’s offensive production and impact. However, it was his leadership, discipline, and enthusiasm that kept him with the franchise for so long. During those seasons, Cavallini was one of the key factors that helped to re-establish the Blues as fierce competitors in the Norris Division.
Ben Bishop Traded to Ottawa
At the 2012 trade deadline, the Blues made the decision to trade goaltender and St. Louis native Ben Bishop to the Ottawa Senators for a 2013 2nd-round pick. The Blues had a lot of depth at the position with Bishop, Halak, Brian Elliott, and Jake Allen in the ranks. Bishops’ contract was set to expire at the end of the season, and due to Elliott’s strong play, Bishop was demoted to the American Hockey League (AHL) and ultimately become expendable.
The 35-year-old goaltender officially announced his retirement on Dec 14, 2021, due to a degenerative issue with his knee. He finished his career with a 222-128-36 record, 2.32 goals-against average, and a .921 save percentage over 413 games and 11 seasons during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, and LA Kings in addition to his time with the Senators and the Blues.
Blues Acquire Cam Janssen for Bryce Salvador
On Feb. 26, 2008, the club opted to move the veteran defenseman to the New Jersey Devils to bring St. Louis native Cam Janssen into the mix. Salvador, 32, was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and re-signing him seemed unlikely.
“We feel that Cam’s style of play will bring energy and grit to our lineup, being from St. Louis, feel that he will be an instant fan favorite here,” Blues president John Davidson said. “Our depth at defense enabled us to make this move.”
That season, the team had several reliable defensemen including Erik Johnson, Eric Brewer, Barret Jackman, Christian Backman, Jay McKee, Steve Wagner, Jeff Woywitka, and Matt Walker, so the team was right to move Janssen. However, the small return for a top-tier d-man who averaged 19:38 of ice time per game – ranked third amongst Blues defensemen that season – left a sour taste in fans’ mouths. The trade netted the club a “hometown tough guy” who was great for marketing purposes but not at the expense of losing a leader who became captain of the Devils.
Top 5 Best Trades,
Blues acquire Keith Tkachuk from Phoenix
On March 13, 2001, St. Louis acquired former 1st round draft choice and team captain Keith Tkachuk from the Phoenix Coyotes for forwards Michal Handzus and Ladislav Nagy, the rights to Jeff Taffe, and a 2002 1st-round draft pick (Ben Eager).
At the time, Tkachuk, 29, led the Coyotes in scoring with 29 goals and 42 assists over 64 games. He spent 10 years with the organization – in both Winnipeg and Phoenix. During his 640 regular-season games, he scored 323 goals and 623 points. Before the trade deadline, the captain’s name and his $8.3 million contract were rumored to be on the block. However, Coyotes general manager GM Cliff Fletcher stated that the offer would have to be perfect to let Tkachuk go. The trade was one of many made under new managing partner Wayne Gretzky.
When asked about the trade, Blues GM Larry Pleau said, “Keith is one of only a handful of players in the league who can bring a blend of leadership, physical presence and goal-scoring ability to the rink, shift after shift.”
Tkachuk played in St. Louis for nine seasons, scoring 208 goals and 427 points over 543 regular-season games. His style of play will forever mark him as one of the organizations’ toughest to play the game. He retired on April 7, 2010, after 18 seasons in the NHL, scoring 538 goals and 1,065 points over 1,201 games. He ranks sixth all-time in goals scored as a Blue (208), fourth in power-play goals (96), and seventh in game-winning goals (29).
St. Louis Acquires Stewart and Shattenkirk
The Blues and Colorado Avalanche sent shockwaves through the NHL after they announced a late-night trade on Feb 19, 2011, that sent former 1st draft choice Erik Johnson, along with Jay McClement, and 2011 1st round pick (Duncan Siemens) to the Avalanche for Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart.
The team secured a prolific power forward in Stewart who scored 52 goals and 113 points in 166 regular-season games for the Avalanche. Along with his scoring ability, the club also gained a speedy skater that was far different than what the club and fans were used to seeing for a long time.
St. Louis also secured a puck-moving defenseman in Shattenkirk, who played with the organization for seven seasons totaling 59 goals and 258 points over 425 regular-season games. While Shattenkirk’s defensive abilities rivaled that of Johnson’s in many ways, it was his offensive abilities that really set the two apart. Johnson was hoped to be a new cornerstone franchise player for the Blues for years to come, but ran into issues on and off the ice, including a golf cart injury that resulted in two torn ligaments and the entire 2008-09 season missed. Though Johnson is still playing with the Avalanche, the return that St. Louis secured in exchange for Johnson and McClement goes above and beyond what could have been expected. Stewart and Shattenkirk helped build a solid team that won the Stanley Cup.
Calgary Deals Bouwmeester to St. Louis
One of the best trades to come out of Calgary came just ahead of the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline when the Blues acquired veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester for a 1st-round draft pick (Emile Poirier), minor league defenseman Mark Cundari and goaltender Retro Berra.
At the time, the Flames had a 13-16-4 record and were quickly selling off assets in a rebuilding attempt that saw their captain, Jarome Iginla dealt the week prior to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bouwmeester was seen as one of the most reliable defensive defensemen in the NHL at the time, averaging just under 25 minutes of ice time per game.
In the trade, the Blues gained a reliable, defensive force that brought forward an active Iron Man streak starting on March 6, 2004, that ended 737 games later on Nov. 22, 2014 due to a lower-body injury. During his eighth season with the organization, the 36-year-old defenseman suffered a reported cardiac episode on the teams’ bench during a TV timeout. The event would be the cause of eventual retirement on Jan. 11, 2021. Bouwmeester’s career ended after appearing in 1,240 games over 17 seasons, scoring 88 goals and 424 points. He retired as a two-time NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup winner (2019).
Blues Trade Brewer to Bolts
On Feb. 18, 2011, the St. Louis Blues moved on from their captain and long-time defenseman Eric Brewer in a trade that sent him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a 2011 3rd round draft pick and the rights to unsigned prospect, Brock Beukeboom.
“Eric has been tremendous to the St. Louis Blues organization and the St. Louis community,” said General Manager, Doug Armstrong. “He and his wife Rebecca are first class people and we wish them nothing but the very best.”
It is difficult to overlook a trade that would ultimately produce the goaltender that helped secure the franchise’s first and only Stanley Cup. A constant liability in the defensive zone, Brewer could oftentimes be found as a lightning rod for criticism and losses. The former Blues’ captain played in 332 regular-season games scoring 30 goals and 95 points, with a minus 75 rating.
While Beukeboom would never suit up in the NHL, it is the play of Jordan Binnington that truly knocks this trade out of the park. His rookie season debut resulted in a 24-5-1 record, 1.89 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage in the regular season, and an eventual Stanley Cup. Currently, in his fifth season in the NHL, he has an 83-42-19 record, along with a 2.57 goals-against average, and a .912 save percentage.
Flames Move The Golden Brett
On March 3, 1988, the St. Louis Blues acquired Hull from the Flames. The move for Hull brought upon a new era and became a desirable destination for players and fans.
The trade sent 29-year-old defenseman Rob Ramage along with 28-year-old goaltender Rick Wamsley to the Flames in exchange for a 23-year-old Hull and 27-year-old Steve Bozek.
While Bozek would only play in St. Louis that season, it was the Belleville, Ontario-native, Hull that makes this deal one of the best in franchise history. The Hall of Fame elite scorer played in 744 regular-season games with the Blues, scoring 527 goals and 936 points. In addition to Calgary and St. Louis, his 19-season career took him to Dallas, Detroit, and Phoenix where he appeared in 1,269 games, scoring 741 goals and 1,391 points.
Hull became a two-time Stanley Cup winner in 1999 with the Dallas Stars and 2002 with the Detroit Red Wings. He was an eight-time All-Star, Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner in 1989-90, and a Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award winner during the 1990-91 season.
Last Five Deadlines Trade Tracker
Feb. 18, 2020 the Blues traded their 2020 2nd round draft pick and 2021 4th round pick to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Marco Scandella
Feb. 25, 2019, St. Louis acquired Michael Del Zotto from the Anaheim Ducks for a 2019 6th round pick
Feb. 26, 2018 the Blues acquired prospect Erik Foley and a 2018 1st round draft pick from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Paul Stastny
Feb. 15, 2018 the Blues acquired Nikita Soshnikov from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2019 4th round draft pick
Feb. 27, 2017, St. Louis acquired Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, and a 2017 1st round draft pick in exchange for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Phoenix Copley.
Mike is a writer for The Hockey Writers and covers the St. Louis Blues since November of 2021. He has a keen love for statistical analysis, prospects, signings, and trades. Follow Mike on Twitter for further Blues or Central division hockey discussions, interview requests, or to provide content info.