No moves are good moves.
It’s fun to hypothesize about what your favorite team will do leading up to the trade deadline, especially when your team is a clear-cut buyer. It’s window shopping, pure and simple, and who doesn’t enjoy fantasizing about spending someone else’s millions of dollars?
The Blues this year weren’t clear cut buyers heading into today’s trade deadline. By virtue of their three game winning streak and return to playoff seeding, they weren’t sellers, either. Doug Armstrong didn’t do anything fun today, and the Blues were better off for it.
Their three major pending UFAs, Mike Hoffman, Tyler Bozak, and Jaden Schwartz, are worth more to the team’s playoff hopes as active members of the Blues than they were as draft picks. With Robert Thomas going down Friday night, it made little sense to create a new gap, especially at center. Mike Hoffman had a two goal night on Saturday, adding intrigue to today but ultimately staving off any trade.
Jaden Schwartz, well, have you guys seen how this team plays without him in the line-up?
Schwartz will probably be a target for a re-signing. Hoffman was intended as a one year deal from the start, and while his tenure here hasn’t been smooth, he’s contributed. Bozak is veteran leadership. They weren’t being moved.
The Blues are butted up against the cap, so a trade for any rental would also have necessitated salary cap jujitsu on Armstrong’s part.
The only piece fans may have wanted was a more solid defenseman to hold down the fort as Colton Parayko continues to recover from back surgery. Armstrong more than likely did his due diligence here, as well. Did other teams want too much? Did the right deal not arise? Who knows.
The message from today was clear. Doug Armstrong expects this team to be a competitive playoff team. They’ve showed fire, even during the seven game losing streak. That’s what sets them apart from the 2018 team that missed the playoffs by a point. Heading into the trade deadline that year, Doug Armstrong didn’t see a spark in that squad, and responded by trading Paul Stastny. Did that deal prevent them from getting into the playoffs, or would they’ve done that on their own?
Who knows, but at least this year there are fewer questions.