None of this is surprising, really - the Blues do have two cores. The old core, the new core. The ones you've built your current regular season successes on (to a degree) and the new core who have provided the push during the regular season and have been the team's only source of consistent(ish) post-season offense.
Armstrong said Blues have 2core groups--an "aging" one, with players in late 20s/early 30s, and a "young one," players in early/mid 20s (1)— Elisabeth Meinecke (@lismeinecke) May 26, 2015
Armstrong also said the "long-term look on this franchise is around Schwartz, Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk" (2)— Elisabeth Meinecke (@lismeinecke) May 26, 2015
He added, "I think Jake Allen has a great career ahead of him." (3)— Elisabeth Meinecke (@lismeinecke) May 26, 2015
The additional step that Armstrong takes here is that he specifically points out who the future core is, and by proxy illustrates who is the expendable core. Elderly Blues players, watch out. You may get traded while your trade value still exists/before your NTC kicks in/before other teams realize that you're not worth what the Blues're requesting.
Let's admit this to ourselves. The older core, specifically T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund, and David Backes, will be the trade bait. Maybe we can throw Alexander Steen in there too, who knows? Hitchcock has been vocal in saying that he can get speedy results with the same players, but how much status quo can this fanbase stand? To enter in to a new season exactly the same as last year, with a few minor changes here and there, would be shocking and probably alienating to some fans.
However, what is that older core going to get? Even if Armstrong packages a few, picks will be demanded, and can the Blues really give up any more draft picks right now? The players the Blues get in return will probably be an apples for apples trade - blue collar, 55-60 point a year guys who play with an edge. Sorry, folks, but the team isn't going to snag Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Berglund and Steve Ott.
The trade baits have been exposed. At this point, will the trades be anything but salve on an off-season with minimal shake-up?