Should the Blues try to make a play at an RFA?
So, with the excitement over the Blues recent pickups, most people have agreed the Blues free agency and, more than likely, off-season, is over. Most people here agree we have 3 legitimate scoring lines, a very good checking line, and players that can formulate a very solid defensive core. Things are good.
But could they be better?
There still are notable free agents out there. Restricted Free Agents that is. I think you know which one’s I’m talking about. But are they obtainable? Could we put together a package to get their rights? And furthermore, are there still less lofty RFA’s who the Blues could make a play on?
For the record, I am assuming for the purposes of this discussion that all these players would be obtained by trade, and then re-signed. We still are financially strapped, so I’d have to assume in order to pull of something like this, we would have to give actual contracts back in return, not picks.
Case A: Steven Stamkos:
Why we want him: “Hi, I’m Steven. I’m 21 years old. Over the last 2 NHL seasons, I have more goals than anyone on the planet. Wanna make out?”
Why we don’t want him: Because we know even entertaining the idea of Steven Stamkos wearing a Blues jersey would make the eventual realization it has absolutely no chance of happening that much more painful.
What would I be willing to give: A shit ton.
What would it take to actually be able to get Tampa to agree to a deal: A shit ton more then we could probably afford to offer, which was the first mentioned shit ton. Honestly, as much as I like Stamkos, and would probably murder to see him in a Bluenote, it would probably take a package of Berglund, Petro, and a 1st, and maybe even more. I’d rather have our depth then give it all up for one incredibly talented player, and try to go the Boston route with just a bunch of really good players and hope our goaltending steps up.
Verdict: Sorry folks, not happening.
Case B: Drew Doughty
Why we want him: Could have won the Norris before he was able to drink alcohol legally. The 2nd pick in the year Stamkos went first overall is unquestionably the Kings most valuable commodity. Doughty is much like Alex Pietrangelo in that he is a total package of awesome, except Doughty tends to hit more. He had 99 points in the last 2 years while posting a collective +33. He also is currently 21.
Why we don’t want him: “Don’t want him” is a strong phrase. This is more in the line of “why we should be cautious”.
Doughty did have a fallback year. 59 points to 40. Not immense. But in combination with him apparently wanting a lot of money… and I mean a LOT of money. We’re talking 7 mill a season with only one year were he played like a top 5 defensemen in the league. That’s high risk.
What would I be willing to give: The first offer I have for someone like Doughty is:
Andy McDonald, Barret Jackman/Carlo Colaiacovo, and a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick.
This is why the Blues actually having forward depth is huge, because it means in order to obtain a player like Drew, someone like A-Mac could be used as good NHL player to add to their roster now. Jackman or Carlo I could see fitting as the best way of getting this trade done, and I’d imagine they’d want a 1st on principle. If they wanted to haggle, I could see it being Ian Cole in this trade instead of Carlo or Jack, though it makes us really really crammed on D-Men and we’d have to try to get Nikitin through waivers, which I think would be hard.
If there demand for D-Man gets up to the Polak/Shattenkirk level, I probably don’t make the trade. McDonald is almost unarguably the forward that I’d build the deal around, as other forwards are either too cheap, or too valuable (Backes)
What would it take to actually be able to get LA to agree to a deal: Umm… that hopefully? I think that’s a fair offer, though I have a feeling LA fans would disagree with me. If the asking price is much higher than a top 6 forward, a defensemen who can play top 4 minutes, and a 1st, then it’s too rich for my blood.
Verdict: Not gonna bet on it but… who knows
Case C: Luke Schenn
Why We Want Him: Luke Schenn is a wall, and arguably the most physical defensemen in the league. He led all D-Men in hits last year, and almost made the top 10 in blocked shots. If you trade for Schenn, you are getting a stalwart on your PK for a long time, and someone who You can count on to contribute top 4 minutes for just as long.
Why we don’t want him: Don’t want him is once more too strong, and it’s not why we should be cautious either, it’s more like why we aren’t going to get him. As I said, Schenn is a really really good defensive D-Man. But teams don’t make trades for really really good defensive D-Men. They try to develop them in house, and not pay them huge contracts. Schenn had 22 points last year, which isn’t bad, but chances are the Blues wouldn’t use him on their Powerplay.
What would I be willing to give: Barret Jackman and a 1st Round Pick.
Schenn is a better overall player then Jackman, younger, and could still develop into a very good 2 way defensemen, just not a physical monster. A 1st rounder might seem high here, but I think the improvement from Schenn to our top 4 Defensemen (who would now be amazing. Petro, Shat, Polak, and Schenn? Hell yeah) is worth it. I might toss in some spare parts as well, but no top 5 prospects or top 9 forwards. The line would probably be Sobotka (He’d be the last guy above it)
What would it take to actually be able to get Toronto to agree to a deal: Probably more than this. Schenn is basically the guy the Leafs are pinning their hopes to as their franchise defensemen. I can’t see them trading him for what I’m offering here, and I’m not sure why we’d want to offer more than that.
Verdict: More unlikely then Doughty
Case D: Zach Bogosian
Why we want him: Buy low buy low buy low. The Blues are great at it. And this is a very high potential low buy. Bogosian was drafted above Schenn and Petro, so you know there’s something there. In his first year he had 9 goals, 10 assists, and a +11 in only 47 games. And he is only 21.
Why we don’t want him: The last 2 years happened. After Zach’s great start, his second year was only good for 23 points in 81 games and a -18. Well, I’m sure it’s just a sophomore slump. Nothing that big to worry about. Then his 3rd year happened. 17 points in only 71 games, and a whopping -27. That would scare any sane individual away, right?
What I would give for him: Carlo Colaiacovo and a 3rd Round Pick
Sanity has never been something that I’ve really had in spades. And sooner or later one of these buy lows isn’t going to work and everyone will call Armstrong an idiot and ask for his head. And this move has a high probability of doing that.
I still think it’s a risk I take.
Bogosian still has all the talent to be a very good top 4 defensemen. He has all the talent to still be a player who we look at and say “Franchise Building Block” He might not be a Doughty, Petro, or Schenn. But he can still be a good player for us.
And if he doesn’t work out, you plug Nikitin or Cole in his spot, and move on knowing that while we like Carlo, he was in the last year of his contract and is replaceable. Boom or Bust. I say you go for the homerun here.
What would it take to actually be able to get Winnipeg to agree to a deal: That is a very good question, and I think our odds were hurt by Atlanta moving. If the Jets have given up for him, I think they’d jump at Carlo, even without the 3rd. If they still view him as their long term franchise D-Man, it’s going to take more than this. And I can’t see us giving anything more than that, except maybe moving up to a 2nd.
Verdict: Probably most likely, still not a great bet.
Well, those are the 4 big ones out there (Parise is in Arbitration, and off the board). Basically my thoughts are: There might be a deal out there. Might. I wouldn’t bank on us making one, but there might be one that could help our team for a long time