The 2022 NHL trade deadline is approaching fast. For the St. Louis Blues, they are sitting pretty near the top of the Central Division. Barring a major collapse or multiple teams getting hot, they are a lock for the playoffs. But that’s not their end goal. They would love to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup for the second time in four seasons. But their current roster is not going to get the job done. They’re going to have to make some trades at the deadline to push them over the edge. In a heated division where four teams are looking to avoid the wild card spot, the Blues will have to differentiate themselves with talent. These St. Louis Blues trades could determine how far they go into the playoffs.
St. Louis Blues Trades That Need To Happen
But first, some perspective. The Blues currently sit at second in the Central Divison with 71 points. On deadline day, they have a whopping $113,000 in cap space, so pure signings are off the table. If they want to improve their roster, there will need to be some movement. Scott Perunovich is still on LTIR, but his sub-$1 million contract is not a large concern. The Blues only have five picks of their own for the 2022 draft, and one conditional one from the Ottawa Senators. They do have their first-rounder but are missing their second and seventh-round picks. They have all seven picks for the 2023 and 2024 drafts. That leaves the Blues with very little cap room and not too many draft picks. So, what trades can they make to improve their roster before the playoffs arrive?
Locking Down the Blue Line
St. Louis receives: Ryan Suter
St. Louis needs depth in their defensemen, badly. Suter could easily slot into the third pairing, replacing either Jake Walman or Robert Bortuzzo. While this trade is likely a loss in the long run for the Blues, they need good players now. Unfortunately, trading within their division is not the greatest win for the Blues, as the Stars will likely ask for a lot for their starting defenseman. That being said, the Blues will take an upgrade to their blue line any day of the week.
However, with Bozak gone, the Blues will need someone to slide into the fourth-line center position. It’s possible Dakota Joshua takes that spot permanently. But it’s more fun if we discuss how the Blues could trade for one. So let’s explore that, yea?
More Firepower Up Front
St. Louis receives: Andrew Copp
Winnipeg Jets receive: Dakota Joshua, first-round pick
It’s time for a change of scenery for the 27-year-old. He’s been with the Jets since they drafted him in 2013. With 32 points in 50 games, he’s been solid offensively on a struggling Winnipeg squad. This has been one of his more productive seasons on the team, so the time is right to sell high. The Blues don’t need him to be the biggest threat but put him on the fourth line against a weaker defensive group, and he could produce. He would also add some much-needed center depth that the Blues lost by trading away Bozak.
Giving up one of their top prospects and their only first-rounder is not ideal, but again, for a win-now team, it’s essential they make these moves to give their team that extra boost.
Another Defensive Option
St. Louis receives: Calvin de Haan
Chicago Blackhawks receives: Tyler Bozak, third-round pick, fifth-round pick
This trade is another option for the Blues to get a solid, defensively-minded blueliner. This would be instead of the Suter trade previously mentioned (obviously, unless Bozak is going to be in two places at once!) De Haan is a great shutdown player, perfect for some of the offensively talented defensemen on the Blues roster.
This experience also gives the Blues more options for the penalty kill. At a slightly pricey $4 million, there might need to be some adjustments made to accommodate this extra money coming in. But if the front office gets it all figured out, this addition could be pivotal in improving the Blues’ roster.
The Elephant In the Room
Intentionally, there was no discussion of moving goaltenders in this piece. Trading goalies is expensive and usually a start-of-season ordeal. While the duo of Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington may not be Stanley Cup-winning, it’s much better to stick with them. New goalies mean chemistry needs to be re-established, and the team needs to figure out how to play around the new goalie’s style or the other way around. Too many adjustments need to be made in too short of a time frame. Therefore, it would be in the Blues’ best interest to stick with their tandem throughout the playoffs. Either ride the hot hand in Husso or put in Binnington for experience in clutch games.
Overall Assessment of St. Louis Blues Trades
If the Blues want to have a serious shot at winning the Stanley Cup this season, they need to make some significant changes at the deadline. The issue is they have very little cap space to do it. If they are thinking long-term, they’ll probably make the smart decision to not make any rash decisions this season. They’ll wait and get more draft picks to trade, and then in the next season or two, go all out for a chance at the Stanley Cup.
But for this season, it would be wise for them to stand pat at this deadline.