It's a weird time for the St. Louis Blues as we head into the first round of the NHL Draft tonight. Let's go all bullet style.
- The first weird thing affecting some decisions today is the fact that the Blues' first round pick is now Colorado's after the Erik Johnson and Jay McClement for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. No second-guessing that trade, totally in favor of it. Absolutely no regrets. Thanks, Colorado. We hope you pick a really skinny kid with acne problems.
- As a result of other deals, the Blues have five picks in the second and third rounds combined. While critics say this is not a deep draft for blue-chip prospects, there's still some depth to be found. They can't all be super stars. In fact, most years, deep draft or not, 99 percent of players drafted don't become stars. So the Blues could add some decent prospects...
- Or the Blues could be in a dealing mood. They could package a couple of picks for a roster player. Does a couple of twos and threes equal a one? You never know. But I would seriously doubt the team will be dealing any guys off the NHL roster for picks. They need players that can play now.
- Oh yeah, there's that ownership thing. Remember, the Blues are for sale? You could argue that anything the team does now is just kind of buying time until a group or individual (anybody good friends with Mark Cuban?) comes in and has some cash flow for this team. They've been handcuffed for a couple of summers now. That's not likely to change without new money in the owner's box.
- The salary cap went up past $64 million (remember when it was just south of $40 million?). That means the salary floor is up above $48 million. Now according to Capgeek, the Blues have $40.9 million committed for next year. That's minus a backup goaltender, some restricted free agents in Peoria and re-signing all of their NHL RFAs. That list is Ryan Reaves (no doubter), Matt D'Agostini (no doubter) and T.J. Oshie (no doubter, right? RIGHT?) What that means is that the Blues need some players, even accounting for some bonuses and stuff that will artificially inflate their cap number, to hit the salary floor. I hate talking about a team that has to have a plan to reach the salary floor. Are we Royals fans?
So that's what could happen. I think the Blues will try to make a move. Doug Armstrong knows he needs to keep improving this team. He didn't draft these players. He's not emotionally invested in them with a long track record of shaking their hand on draft day and watching them sign their first pro contract and smiling when they make their NHL debut. All that sappy shit we dig as fans, that's not his place in the organization right now. That's how he could trade Erik Johnson. That's why he could trade T.J. Oshie. But I don't think he will. The difference in the team's play with Oshie on the ice and when he was out was stark. Patrik Berglund looked lost without him. He's terrific on the penalty kill, can play the second power play unit and provides a spark. The guy has a mix of skills few have. It would have to be a blockbuster deal. Or the Blues think Oshie will never play 80 games in a season. Those are the only two ways an Oshie deal would happen.
So in the comments, what do you want to happen? This is your place to play fantasy GM, gnash your teeth and hang out before the draft when the Blues don't pick Friday night. Have fun. A GDT for the draft will be up before the thing starts.