Trade Deadline Looming
As we near the trade deadline we will start to get a better idea as to who is truly on the trade block. Usually this time of year we hear a ton of names but how many of them are actually in play is a different story.
Tuomo Ruutu is a name starting to circulate as the 28 year old is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Carolina Hurricanes is one team identifying which players they want to move forward with versus the ones they’re willing to move on without.
It appears Ruutu will be moved and the St. Louis Blues are well aware. Here’s a guy that would fit in well with any team looking to add a little scoring and some grit for the playoffs.
I’ve said the Blues scoring issues can be addressed internally but it doesn’t mean the Blues won’t look to upgrade their roster if the opportunity presents itself.
It may take a player like Chris Stewart from the Blues to swing a deal for Ruutu or someone of this magnitude. Stewart is an interesting player to look at. He’s shown he can score with back to back 28 goal seasons but it’s no secret things haven’t gone his way this year. At minimum he’s due his $3.25 million salary at the end of the season. Will GM Doug Armstrong and the Blues be willing to part with Stewart knowing it could come back to bite them down the road? The other danger is holding on and waiting for a player to reach a certain level. The Blues publicly stated they expected 35 goals from Stewart this season and at the time it sounded very realistic.
For the right price Stewart is available but it would really have to make sense for the Blues to pull the string here. I’m not a so sure moving this type of potential for a rental would make sense. A strong month from Stewart could easily squash any possibility of a trade. Unfortunately these are the decisions you have to make when you’re a budget team.
Moving Stewart wouldn’t have even been a consideration entering the season but tough decisions are part of the business and Armstrong has shown he’s willing to make them.
Don’t forget the Blues will need to take care of T.J. Oshie and David Perron at the end of the season. Both players remain restricted free agents so Armstrong will have the ability to control their costs. Locking up a T.J. Oshie with a long-term deal may be the direction the organization chooses to go in.
Food For Thought….
I do sense some frustration from the fans when it comes to Patrik Berglund but you better be careful when it comes to big 6’4 centermen. Every team in the league would love to have a center with Berglund’s combination of size and skill and as we like to say these players don’t grow on trees. He maybe hasn’t blossomed into an NHL All-Star but he’s still an effective player who can help a team win.
It may sound foolish but I’ve always been curious to see how he would perform on the wing. He lacks desired vision and has limited puck distribution skills but he’s a big body who’s hard to contain when he has body position. He’s never seemed interested in playing wing when I’ve brought up the topic but he does describe himself as more of a power forward opposed to a playmaking center.
Just thinking out loud here.
Who do McDonald and Steen play with?
When these guys return expect Steen to play with David Backes and Andy McDonald to play with Berglund. How the rest of the lines come together remains to be seen. It’s safe to say Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka will remain on the third line. Ken Hitchcock has some options to play with in terms of who he chooses to put with these guys.
Rick Nash is staying put….
For one reason or another I keep hearing the name Rick Nash but my sources tell me Columbus is not dealing their franchise player. The player they want to move is Jeff Carter who has made no secret he doesn’t want to be there. It’s in Carter’s best interest to elevate his game which would only help his trade value. Personally I don’t think trading Carter is nearly as difficult as others may make it out to be. He’s a proven player in this league who is still young.
Easy on Whitney…
I’ve discussed Ray Whitney recently but made it clear he’s pretty much a power play specialist at this stage of his career. I’m not sure how you could find even strength ice for him as least in St. Louis.
Blues Looking for Top Four D-man…
As an organization the Blues believe their biggest need is a top four D-man who can play the left side. The idea is to find an experienced, rugged defenseman who can take pressure off of Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo especially in the playoffs. Opposing teams will certainly target both of these young players and finding a D-man who fits this bill appears to be on top of the Blues list. Whether or not the player Armstrong is targeting becomes available remains to be seen. Everyone, including the Blues, had their eyes on Hurricanes D-man Tim Gleason who recently re-signed with Carolina.
Last spring you can argue Denis Seidenberg was Boston’s most valuable D-man. He along with Adam McQuaid really stepped up in the playoffs and you need these types of guys defensively if you want to survive multiple rounds.
I've been told to expect real movement to begin around the 15th of February.
D-man Carlo Colaiacovo is my Blues Buzz guest tonight live from Johnny Mac's on Watson rd. The show begins at 6:00 and can be heard on am 590 KFNS.
More to come,
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