Less than two weeks apart, the St. Louis Blues dramatically changed the look of their team with two big trades. Those trades shipped off two of their most important pieces. Those pieces are forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly.
The Blues first traded Tarasenko and defenseman Niko Mikkola to the New York Rangers. Tarasenko had been rumored to be on the move last year, but nothing came of it until now. If that was not enough, the Blues then changed their team even more, trading O’Reilly and Noel Acciari to the Toronto Maple Leafs. All three players were dealt to playoff-contending teams. The Blues, however, are on the outside looking in, more than 10 points out of first place.
Where does this now leave the St. Louis Blues?
These moves reassure that the St. Louis Blues are in true rebuild mode. The Blues do have some talent, and talent on the way, but they are far from playoff consideration. Their core now consists of forwards Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, and defenseman Colton Parayko.
The goaltending needs to be addressed due to the fact this is probably the weakest position on the team. Goaltender Jordan Binnginton has been too up and down since the Stanley Cup win a few years ago to have him be your number-one goaltender. The issues start with goaltending, and that is a problem for the St. Louis Blues as they are trying to evolve into a legit Stanely Cup contender again.
With the trades made, the Blues, in return, acquired forwards Mikhail Abramov, Adam Gaudette, and Sammy Blais, who returns to St. Louis, and defenseman Hunter Skinner. The St. Louis Blues also received some draft picks. Those picks include a conditional first-round pick in 2023, a fourth-round pick in 2024, the Toronto Maple Leaf’s first-round pick in 2023, the Ottawa Senators’ third-round pick in 2023, and finally, Toronto’s second-round pick in 2024.
Despite what some may think, the Blues got a good return with a focus on the future. This team could be fun to watch when their young talent is fully developed and ready for a push.
The Blues now have some prospects they received who may finish this season or start next season in the minors. The St. Louis Blues do have a young core ready to take that next step. The next generation of Blues, the young core of the future, consists of forwards Jake Neighbours, Jimmy Snuggerrud, defenseman Scott Perunovich, and Joel Hofer.
Neighbours have played 38 NHL games, posting five goals and five assists for ten points, along with 11 penalty minutes. Perunovich has played 19 NHL games, posting six assists and eight penalty minutes. Hoer has played only two games, posting a record of 1-1, with a 3.07 GAA and a .880 save percentage.
Rebuilding, whether it is on the fly or going full rebuild, is not what most fans want. However, St. Louis Blues management feels this is the right maneuver on the path to greatness once again. St. Louis has won a Stanley Cup before, and they are aiming to do that once again in the near future. The St. Louis Blues may be experiencing some growing pains along the way but it could very well pay off sooner than later.