It's that time of year again: trade deadline rumor time. Some teams are more involved than others by virtue of being sellers, others need gaps filled for playoff pushes. Some, like the Blues, need stopgaps for injured players.
Obviously, the injured player that I'm referencing is Kevin Shattenkirk, who may not return to the lineup before the playoffs. Yes, the Blues have played relatively fine without him, but you're still going to see stuff like this from Elliotte Friedman tucked away in his 30 Thoughts:
So, how’s the rest of the chatter going? "Much heavier through the Western Conference than the East," said one GM. Winnipeg was (and remains) a big part of that, but Anaheim, Nashville and St. Louis are driving discussion, too. The Ducks’ interests are well-documented, especially on defence.
Cringe if you must, but the Blues will probably be involved in some way, shape, or form at the deadline. The team looks good on paper, and even with the reliance on Ian Cole and Chris Butler they have succeeded. But as the season winds down and the injuries mount up, it may not be just Kevin Shattenkirk who is out. Besides, to win down the stretch, the Blues' power play has to be as effective as possible.
The issue here is that the Blues' GM, Doug Armstrong, is going to have to move pieces to get the kind of guy who can step in temporarily for Shattenkirk. This guy is going to be a rental, and this guy is going to have to be ok with being bumped down the depth chart once the playoffs start and Shattenkirk (presumably) returns.
Jeff Gordon, in his last Hockey Guy column, mentions that the Ottawa Sun reported the Blues could have interest in Zybnek Michalek of the Arizona Coyotes. Michalek has two goals, six assists, and nothing on the power play.
If this is what Armstrong is thinking, he needs to save his prospects. The Blues already have Cole and Butler. They don't need another player along the same vein.
Many other "available" defensemen aren't available to the Blues due to cap constraints for future signing or just managing current contracts. One would hope that whatever team trades assets for possible rentals such as Cody Franson (who would be a good fit if he could stomach being bumped down a pairing) or another Arizona defenseman, Keith Yandle.
The Blues aren't going to pay as much as they would need to for Franson, Yandle. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Dion Phaneuf - all of these are a no. Andrej Sekera? Doable. Necessary? Not sure.
The Blues may be driving the discussion in the West around the trade deadline, but after last year's deal to get Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, I'm not sure if Doug Armstrong wants to - or needs to - make a move that strips more assets from the Blues.