John Davidson, Larry Pleau, and St Louis Blues management will have some tough decisions as the NHL trade deadline is Wednesday, Mar. 4. The Western Conference is very tight with each night being little margin for error. The Blues sit at 60 points, five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
They head out for a two-game road trip to Dallas and Phoenix before the trade deadline. Going into last night's game against Phoenix, the Blues' brass had to be looking at this three game stretch as a potential of what they would do next Wednesday.
With the win last night at home over Phoenix, the Blues front office may be thinking in a different direction today, but that could change by the weekend.
The focus is mainly on who is likely to go and what they could get in return. The first player that has been talked about a lot is Keith Tkachuk. Tkachuk has been rumored headed to Boston, his hometown, or the New York Rangers.
Personally, I don't see a Ranger fit as they are in enough turmoil already and have just added new coach John Torterella. Boston would be a nice fit for Tkachuk but two things are in play here.
Tkachuk has a no-trade clause that he has to waive first. Secondly, Tkachuk has said publicly he wants to be with the Blues when they reach the playoffs. My guess is if the Blues split either of these next two games and stay within striking distance going into March, Tkachuk is a Blue.
If the Blues lose the next two games and fall seven to nine points out, look for Tkachuk to be traded to Boston for a draft pick and an up and comer in the Boston organization.
Other players on the trade watch will include Dan Hinote and Brad Winchester. Each are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Hinote has missed many games this year due to injury and then can't find his way back in the lineup when healthy.
Hinote could help a team that is looking for an energy guy but won't put the puck in the net much. I believe the Blues like Winchester and would like to sign him to a deal after the season to continue their youth process.
On the other hand, if the Blues win the next two games and sit one or two points out of that eighth playoff spot, they could become buyers. A goal scorer in the past few weeks would have already vaulted the Blues into a playoff spot, so I would look for the Blues to see if they could find that guy. I would make a play for Vincent Lecavielier out of Tampa.
I believe Lecavielier will be dealt but probably to the Canadiens or Rangers. Scott Gomez is also been rumored out of New York and would be a great addition for scoring punch. If a defenseman is what you crave, how about Chris Pronger back in a Blues uniform.
The Ducks are strapped at the cap and will have to do something with either Pronger or Scott Niedermayer to make things work next year in Anaheim.
The Blues have held to the building-from-within mantra for two years, and John Davidson is not about to backout of that now. His drafts in recent years have provided the young talent of T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, David Perron, Roman Polak, Erik Johnson, and last year's No. 1 pick, Alex Pietrangelo. These guys are untouchable and will continue to provide an influx of youth to the emerging Blues.
The trade winds may come calling next Wednesday, but will the Blues be selling or buying? Stay tuned over the weekend to find out.
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