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Game Time Mail Bag: Are the Blues ready to roll with the defense that they have?

Our first question in the Mail Bag comes from Ronald W.

St Louis Blues v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the Game Time Mail Bag! If you have a question for us, please use the hashtag #GameTimeMailBag on Twitter or shoot us a line at hildymacgt at gmail dot com.

Our first question this week has been posed by reader Ronald W.:

Hi there!

Our defense was an issue last year. This can go unsaid. However, we end up signing 8 dmen to one way contracts. Typically there are only 7. What do we with all these dmen? If one doesn’t make the team, do we gamble in putting them down to the minors? Or, do we trade anticipating the others making the team? Who do we trade? (I think this scenario can be questioned with the bottom 6 of the forward lines too.)

Is Jakob Chychrun still a possibility?

That’s a really good question. Right now Cap Friendly is projecting the seven that are making the cut as Colton Parayko, Torey Krug, Justin Faulk, Niko Mikkola, Robert Bortuzzo, Nick Leddy, and Marco Scandella. That means, of course, that Scott Perunovich will be starting (according to CF) in the AHL as is Calle Rosen.

Many folks think that having Krug and Perunovich together is redundant, but I’m not sure that’s the case as of yet and I’d be surprised if Perunovich doesn’t somehow get an extended look at the start of the season. It does look, though, like the idea of starting the season with eight defenseman is Doug Armstrong tipping his cap at a future move. Fans would love it if Marco Scandella got shipped out to free up space for a younger, or currently better, defenseman. The issue with dealing Scandella’s remaining contract to someone is the same issue that Blues fans have with keeping it - who wants a declining 32 year old defenseman at $3,275,000 a season for two more years?

Scandella could have a renaissance much like Faulk had after his first season with the Blues and make Doug Armstrong look like a genius for holding on to him, but more than likely he and his contract could be an albatross. Can’t trade him, he’s going to take up a roster space that could go to a younger player, and if his play in his own zone doesn’t improve, he’s going to continue to be a defensive liability.

I don’t think sending his contract off to Arizona, home of the bad contract, will work. Jakob Chychrun was an exciting possibility even despite season ending injury last year. Bill Armstrong is going to ask for a quality package to justify moving a player that could be a franchise defenseman for years to come, and I don’t see a quality package involving Scandella. The Blues would have to be willing to lose a good defenseman, a prospect, and probably one of their goal producers to not only woo Arizona but also to fit Chychrun under the cap. He has three years remaining at $4,600,000 per season, meaning that the Blues would have to clear at least $4 million of salary cap to fit him in.

Pretty much the only person who knows how in the world this is going to shake out is Doug Armstrong, and I’m not sure if he really has a clear idea right now.