Doug Armstrong, the Blues’ general manager, called up Hockey Central’s Justin Borne earlier this week to chat about last month’s signing of Torey Krug. Armstrong was dubious that Krug would allow himself to be a free agent target due to his tenure with the Bruins, but as talks fell through with Boston - and as talks stalled with Alex Pietrangelo - it became apparent that Krug should be a target for Armstrong and his team.
Even fans who are still disappointed about Pietrangelo’s departure to Las Vegas can find something to like in this interview:
“When 11 o’clock central rolled around that day, [Krug] was our first call,” Armstrong said. “… I had a call with him and then I arranged a call with him and (head coach) Craig (Berube). At that point you’re not talking finances, you’re talking more fit on the team, what we’re trying to accomplish. …
“We got it done because we’re a big-time organization,” he added. “I think the players understand the business part of it but they also want to be part of a team. So obviously no one was excited when Alex decided not to stay in St. Louis. But I think our players felt comfortable that as an ownership group and a management group, that we were going to respond to that decision and bringing in Krug and (Kyle) Clifford, I think made them feel that they’re losing a good friend but we’re still going to be a competitive hockey team.”
That the Blues are a “big time organization” shouldn’t come as news. They did win a Stanley Cup a year and a half ago, they’ve hosted major events, and they’ve landed huge names like Ryan O’Reilly in trades. Other players want to go to a team where the players are happy, and the Blues have become one of those teams over the years.
Sure, some people might say that a “big time organization” wouldn’t lose their top defenseman as a free agent, but on the other hand, “big time organizations” land the notable free agents, and Krug is one of those.
Sometimes contract negotiations don’t work out and you can take that however you want to, but signing the big names in the off-season is always a positive sign.