Doug Armstrong isn’t messing around.
Paul Stastny, signed to a four year deal back in 2014 to anchor big time minutes for the St. Louis Blues, has been traded to the Winnipeg Jets for a first round pick in the 2018 draft, a conditional fourth round draft pick, and prospect Erik Foley.
Instant reaction: this is a very good deal by Armstrong and the Blues.
Stastny was going to be a free agent in three months and more than likely, wasn’t returning to St. Louis. This was taking an expiring stock (Stastny turned 32 in December), and flipping it for more than it’s worth.
If the Blues sign Foley, the team ends up with three young players for a guy they probably weren’t bringing back. Stastny could go to Winnipeg and flourish, find a second speed, and maybe hoist a Cup (vomit), or he could do okay, and sign a new deal this summer with the Los Angeles Kings.
I do believe that Blues fans will underappreciate Stastny for his service in St. Louis. He is like the Matt Holliday of the Blues, a player who came here after more robust seasons elsewhere, and performed well without blowing anyone out of the water.
When he stepped on the ice in Blue late in 2014, Stastny was coming off a 25 goal/60 point season with Colorado, but he was beginning to trend downward. He never was able to get back to that level of being a 60-70 point producer.
The infiltration of the “STL” line didn’t help Stastny’s chances. Something else happened in late 2014, and it’s name is Jori Lehtera. He paired up with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz to create a wonder on the ice that lasted three months before fizzling out due to Lehtera’s glacier like ice speed. Stastny spent more time with Patrik Berglund and Dmitrj Jaskin over the next two years than Tarasenko and Schwartz.
The best we ever got with Stastny was his time with Robby Fabbri and Troy Brouwer. Those three were dynamite two years ago in the late season stretch and playoff run. Slinky legged Fabbri and the net hugging Brouwer were a perfect foil for Stastny playmaking talents.
Stastny’s highest point total in St. Louis was in 2015-16, where he scored only 10 goals (only put 103 shots on goal), but added 39 assists. He scored 16, 10, 18, and 12 goals in St. Louis, and didn’t make a huge dent on the power play.
In the end, Armstrong brought in a hometown kid who gave a few solid if uneventful seasons, and flipped him for a solid return before his contract expired.
Let’s put it this way: this is a better return than Armstrong got for Kevin Shattenkirk.
Oh, and about that prospect, Foley (out of Providence), here’s a bit from Buccigross:
Hey @StLouisBlues fans, you got Erik Foley (of Providence College) in that @PaulyWalnuts26 trade with @NHLJets. He’s a Bull in a China shop. Takes it to net and can't be stopped. Can score from outside tops of circles with release. Great hands. pic.twitter.com/ONR8CXfWxU— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) February 26, 2018
All things considered, Armstrong made a good first push. With his team in disarray, the GM shook the house a little. Vladimir Sobotka, Patrik Berglund, and Carl Gunnarsson could be next. At least I’m hoping this is only the start.
Is this swap the preface of a bigger addition to the Blues this afternoon? I’m not sure. There have been premature rumblings of an Evander Kane/Mike Hoffman trade out there, but I don’t see the Blues going in that direction. Either player could work salary cap wise with the loss of Stastny, but I wouldn’t wish that hard.
What will probably take place next is a move that sends Sobotka out with a return in the form of a third or fourth round prospect due to the money remaining on the journeryman’s new contract.
Armstrong gave bad deals to Berglund, Sobotka, Alex Steen, Jay Bouwmeester, and even Jake Allen. If he can clean that mess up one trade at a time, that would be nice.
I don’t think the Stastny contract was bad. He was signed in his late 20’s to be a core player and was flipped before he could become a true piece of dead weight.
The inner division trade action may be surprising, but the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks pulled off a trade today already, so it’s a thing now. Seeing the return that the New York Rangers got for declining forward Rick Nash tells you all that you need to know about Stastny bringing in a first round pick.
Good work, Doug.
Now get back to the desk.