You wouldn’t think that a playoff contending team would be open to moving assets prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, but if you get the right combination of poor performance mixed with a decisive GM, you never know what might happen.
Specifically, St. Louis Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong is reportedly open to moving pending UFAs that haven’t performed up to expectations this season. This despite the fact the Blues aren’t out of the running for the 2020-21 playoffs. The team currently sits 6th in the Honda West Division, but are only 5 points back of the fourth and final spot, with a game at hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who hold that position.
Pierre LeBrun is reporting on the most recent TSN Insider Trading segment that Armstrong is the type of general manager who doesn’t waste time once he makes a decision. He explained:
“We know from Doug Armstrong’s history that he’s not worried about trading pending UFAs when his team underachieves. He traded Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline in ’17 despite being in a playoff spot, he traded Paul Stastny in Winnipeg in 2018 despite being a point out, and word is, talking to different teams around the league is that he’s open to moving some pending UFAs.”
LeBrun suggested Mike Hoffman would be one, and perhaps Tyler Bozak another.
Opens Up a Couple Interesting Scenarios
This opens up the idea that there are two potential things going on there. First, Armstrong is really just upset and willing to get rid of players who haven’t pulled their weight. Second, it suggests that the Blues might be looking to do something bigger and to make a splash at the deadline. In order to do so, they need to move out some salary.
If both Bozak and Hoffman were traded, that would essentially move $9 million worth of cap hit off the books and give St. Louis plenty of room to make a couple of additions. The question becomes, will anyone want these players?
Someone might be tempted to take Hoffman. He’s got 9 goals and 21 points in 36 games. He’s a $4 million cap hit which isn’t incredibly out there for teams looking at secondary scoring. He could certainly change the outlook of trade deadline day for players like Kyle Palmieri or Taylor Hall.
Bozak, on the other hand? He’s got four points in 14 games.
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