If you were a Blues fan waiting for a blockbuster trade before the NHL’s expansion draft roster freeze today, well, sorry. Rosters froze at 3:00 Eastern today and will remain so through 1:00 Eastern on Thursday. Trades can still trickle through if made before that freeze, however it appears that the Blues did not and will not make one.
Am told no trades by Blues today.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) July 17, 2021
The top two candidates for a trade, either as a solo deal or a package deal were defenseman Vince Dunn and forward Vladimir Tarasenko. No deals for either player does not necessarily mean that Doug Armstrong did not attempt to deal them. Trading Dunn and Tarasenko, especially the latter, isn’t easy. Losing Dunn in the expansion draft, however, is going to be potentially very easy. Both Lou Korac and Jeremy Rutherford expect Dunn to go unprotected on July 21st.
Losing Dunn for nothing would be uncomfortable as he is a highly tradable asset, and could easily be added to a Tarasenko deal to up the return for the Blues’ oft-injured star forward. As Rutherford points out, this means that the Blues can protect someone they may not’ve been able to protect before. They’re more than likely going to protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and a goalie. Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, and Torey Krug were more than likely going to be the three defensemen protected regardless of a Dunn deal today.
Obviously, they’ll be protecting Jordan Binnington in goal, so the speculation turns to the seven forwards and if Tarasenko will be one of them. Losing Dunn and getting his contract off of the books for free is less than ideal, but potentially losing Tarasenko for nothing would be harsh.
If Tarasenko is left unprotected when we get an opportunity to see the teams’ lists tomorrow, chances may be good that Doug Armstrong has made a sweeten the pot deal with Ron Francis of the Kraken to encourage him to take a specific non-protected player.