Sometimes Blues fans enjoy pointing out the propensity of the organization to reward personnel based on a very small sample size of production - see Alexander Steen’s contract extension and Patrik Berglund’s. It might be tempting to consider Doug Armstrong’s just-announced four year contract extension as another case of that. This season the Blues have far exceeded expectations despite constant injuries to key players such as Robby Fabbri.
But to be frank, you could say that about nearly every year Doug Armstrong has been GM.
While not every decision has been perfect (Ryan Miller, anyone?), Armstrong has consistently found a way to keep the Blues firmly in the “exceeds expectations camp.” He’s assembled a front office and scouting staff who has drafted very, very well. He doesn’t make splashy, big deals, but when he does turn a deal, it’s often solid. I don’t think that anyone is upset about Jori Lehtera being gone and Brayden Schenn being here, are you? Was anyone sad about losing Lars Eller for Jaroslav Halak?
The former General Manager of the year has consistently guided the Blues through strong regular seasons. Playoff performance could be better, but an appearance in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in ages isn’t anything to shake a stick at.
Armstrong has been here for a decade, and overall it has been a successful one. I can’t think of any justification for not offering him a contract extension. I’ve had my quibbles, just like many of you, with individual decisions, but in the business world you don’t fire someone with that track record of success - especially not in the NHL, when finding a new GM with a proven track record is difficult.
Here is the Blues’ official statement:
(Dec. 27, 2017) – St. Louis Blues Chairman Tom Stillman announced today the Blues have signed President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong to a four-year contract extension. Armstrong’s contract also includes a club option for a fifth year. Tom Stillman and Doug Armstrong will be available to the media today, at 11:30 a.m., in the Scottrade Center Media Room at Scottrade Center.
Armstrong, currently in his 10th season with the club, originally joined the Blues as the Vice President of Player Personnel in 2008 and was named the 11th General Manager in Blues history during the 2010 off-season. Since taking the reins, Armstrong has led the Blues to a 337-185-56 regular season record which serves as the fourth-best mark in the NHL since the 2010-11 campaign. He has also guided the team to six consecutive postseason berths, making the Blues one of only four teams to have accomplished that.
In his second season as General Manager, Armstrong captured the NHL’s 2012 General Manager of the Year Award after leading the club to a 49-22-11 record and its first Central Division title in 12 seasons. During his tenure, Armstrong has extended the contracts of core players such as Jake Allen, Patrik Berglund, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko. He has also orchestrated the acquisitions of Jay Bouwmeester and Brayden Schenn, signed free agents such as Paul Stastny and overseen the drafts of several prospects, including Vince Dunn and Tage Thompson.
Prior to joining the Blues, Armstrong spent 17 years with the Dallas Stars, including his final six as the team's General Manager. While with the Stars, Armstrong helped lead the franchise to two Presidents' Trophies, two Western Conference titles and the 1999 Stanley Cup.
Internationally, the Sarnia, Ontario, native has served Team Canada in numerous capacities, including Assistant General Manager at the 2002 and 2008 World Championships and General Manager at the 2009 World Championship. Armstrong also captured an Olympic gold medal as the Associate Director of Player Personnel in 2010 and as a member of the management group in 2014. Most recently, he served as General Manager of the gold medal-winning team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Armstrong is a member of the "Triple Gold Club," having been on the management staff for a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and World Championship gold medal.