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What If Week: What if the Blues don’t trade Chris Pronger to Edmonton?

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The trade’s one of the most reviled instances in Blues history.

St. Louis Blues v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

We all know the trade. We all hate the trade.

After the 2004-2005 season was lost to the lockout, the NHL instituted a salary cap. The Blues, at the time owned by Bill Laurie, wanted to shed some salary to make themselves appealing to potential buyers. The biggest contract belonged to the team’s best player: All-Star and Captain Chris Pronger.

It shouldn’t’ve been a shock that Pronger was dealt, but that doesn’t mean that the fans had to like it. The return was Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch. Brewer’s reward was the eventual captaincy, the fans near-universal ire at just the fact that he existed, and the nickname Brewerbot.

In five and a half seasons, Brewer cracked the 20 assist total twice, and his highest goal total was eight. Woywitka bounced between the NHL and AHL. Lynch wound up splitting time between the Rivermen and Aces for the one year he was with the Blues organization and then wound up in Europe.

Chris Pronger continued to be Chris Pronger.

But!

If Blues fans play the long game, that trade laid the foundation for the team’s 2019 Stanley Cup. Obviously, this is a very, very long game scenario, but it makes sense. Work with me.

On February 18th, 2011, the Blues dealt Eric Brewer to the Tampa Bay Lightning for prospect Brock Beukeboom and the Bolts’ third round pick in the 2011 entry draft. The Blues elected to not sign Beukeboom to a contract, so basically the trade worked out as a third round pick for Brewer.

This is where fate smiles on the Blues for once. Here’s the tail end of the third round from the 2011 draft:

So, without trading Chris Pronger in 2005 and breaking the fans’ hearts, the Blues wouldn’t’ve drafted a young goalie 88th overall that was the lynchpin of the Blues miracle run in 2019.

Sometimes stuff works out in the end.