St. Louis Blues: 5 Players Who May Be Traded Under Ken Hitchcock
Since replacing Davis Payne as coach of the St. Louis Blues on November 6, Ken Hitchcock has led the team to a 15-4-4 record.
Hitchcock has completely revitalized this formerly struggling squad, who currently are tied for the fifth most points in the league.
It’s safe to say, considering his experience and success, that Hitchcock is capable of guiding the Blues towards a playoff berth, and quite possibly, a shot at the Cup.
But in order for Hitch to accomplish this, he will have to fix many weaknesses on the club that may inhibit their ability to remain in the league until June.
One way to solve problems in an organization is to trade players, and although it may appear that St. Louis has a reliable and talented enough mix of players to compete in the post-season, the Blues’ management may not feel the same way.
Here are five players on St. Louis that may be dealt in order to build a powerhouse team.
B.J. Crombeen, the Blues’ main tough guy, may be moved due to 24-year-old Ryan Reaves proving himself as a premium enforcer in the league.
With the depth that St. Louis has, I find it hard to believe that they have enough room to keep two enforcers on the roster, and since Reaves’ cap hit is almost half a million dollars less than Crombeen’s, it is possible that Crombeen could be traded in order to get rid of his heftier and unnecessary salary.
For the same reason that Cam Janssen was let go, Crombeen will probably follow in his footsteps because the Blues have an excess of fighters and will need to get rid of one to conserve cap space.
He will probably be dealt for a draft pick.
Carlo Colaiacovo is a solid two-way defenseman who makes few mistakes and racks up crucial time on both the power play and penalty kill.
But he is dispensable.
Colaiacovo is a Band-Aid, which means that he is often injured. He has missed 13 games this year already due to injury and has not played more than 67 games in a season since joining the Blues four years ago.
His contract expires after this season, and he would serve as a perfect addition to a team in need of a swift puck-moving D-man who could strengthen a struggling power play.
With Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk emerging as top-tier offensive defensemen, and newcomer Kris Russell, who plays a similar game to Colaiacovo and has not had lagging injury problems, able to take his place on the penalty kill and power play, Colaiacovo’s role on the team seems to be growing less important every game.
The Blues could use another big-body shutdown defenseman on their squad to balance out the defensive unit (considering Huskins’ return date is still undetermined), and offering up Colaiacovo would be the best way to acquire such a player.
Jaroslav Halak has not been the goalie that the Blues had hoped he’d be when they signed him two summers ago.
The thought-to-be franchise goalie had a mediocre season last year and has started out on a similar note this year as well.
He could easily be moved after this season, assuming that he continues to perform sub-par for the rest of the year and takes a back seat to Brian Elliott for the starter position.
With Brian Elliott leading the charge, the Blues could attempt to procure a reliable backup goalie and some extra players or draft picks for Halak, because to keep him as a backup with a $4.25M salary would be ridiculous.
If Chris Stewart can produce at a point-per-game pace for the rest of the season, I do not believe that the Blues will let him go. But if he stays on his current miserable scoring pace, the Blues will have no choice but to trade him and attempt to get someone better in return.
St. Louis, who has not had a player exceed the 40-goal mark since Brad Boyes in the 2007-2008 season, had high hopes for Stewart this year, but because of his extremely slow start, that figure seems nearly impossible to reach anymore.
Stewart, who’s contract also expires at the end of this year, can draw offers from many clubs in need of a high-scoring power forward who believe that he will reach his 40-goal potential with their respective teams.
Stewart may not have been what the Blues had expected when they traded for him last season, but find a team that is willing to take a chance on him and throw in a couple of draft picks to sweeten the deal and the possibilities of what St. Louis could get for him are endless.
When Andy McDonald plays, he produces, but the problem is just that: he barely plays.
The former 85-point scorer has been sidelined for all but three games this season, and has only played more than 60 games once out of the three full seasons he has been with the club.
One of the only reasons he may not be dealt is because of the chemistry he shares on the first line with David Backes, but considering how well the team has played without him, and the new-found chemistry discovered between David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen, McDonald is more expendable than ever.
McDonald is also a supreme playmaker and always provides a big boost to the power play when he returns to action, but age will soon catch up to the 34-year-old, and he will not be as much of a scoring threat in the next couple of years.
The Blues have been without a bonafide superstar for many years, and to offer up Andy McDonald and Chris Stewart as trade bait, landing a Steven Stamkos-esque player is not impossible.