A look to see if GM Todd Snider and the Blues organization accomplished what they promised their fans at the start of offseason.
St. Louis Blues Chairman Tom Stillman penned a letter to the fans back in July just after the Blues missed out on the last playoff spot in the Western Division. He promised the teams loyal fans they would make the necessary changes needed to vault this team into the post season this year.
Let’s look and see if GM Todd Snider and the Blues organization accomplished just that this off-season.
At the forward position the Blues were probably a little thin down the middle and not physical enough on the wings to win puck battles. Snider loaded with 7 picks in first 96 got to work early before the draft.
He moved promising center Jack Roslovic, the 14th overall pick and a 2nd round pick to reacquire Claude Giroux. He shipped out Adam Gaudette. Marcus Johansson & Ilya Kovalchuk to save $6 million in cap space. He then went out and signed Blake Wheeler to a 2-year deal at $8 million per year with that savings.
In separate deals he added the physical presence of Ryan Reaves and when things got too heavy in free agency, he traded for Bryan Little giving up only a pick and a little cash.
Overall, we consider a very good offseason at the forward position. We give him a B+.
On the defensive front The Blues were looking to add some more complimentary pieces to Seth Jones and Oscar Klefbom. They hit a pot of gold when they were able to make a deal to get the #1 overall pick. They added 6’6 “, 215-pound mobile defenceman Owen Power from the University of Michigan.
They then were shut out in Free Agency and were forced to trade Alexander Wennberg for stay-at-home defenceman Kris Russell. Russell led the league in plus/minus last year and should fit well into Blues System.
Rating: C. We just don’t think Snider did enough here. It becomes an instant B if Power breaks camp with the Blues and can contribute this year.
At the Goalie position, Stillman said that Carter Hart "performed well for us in our first season while only being 22 years old. In the off-season the search will be on to pair him with another goalie to lessen his workload."
Snider did just that landing goalie Robin Lehner who will not also lessen Hart’s workload but should provide arguably one of the top pairings in the league this year. Rating A+
Finally we take a look at the Blues Farm Hands and Prospects. I talked to Snider and he said his goal was to make some deals to bring in a higher quality of prospects over just a quantity of prospects. Well, I believe he did just that.
He added goalie Daniil Tarasov, the aforementioned Owen Power on defense, Alexander Nikishin, and forwards Jack Drury, Cage Goncalves, Samuel Helenius, Trevor Kuntar, Jeremias Lindewall, Egor Sokolov, Ryan Suzuki and Wyatt Schingoethe to their young group of guys.
Again, a major upgrade over what they had in the system. We give him a solid A should these guys develop too their potential.
Overall, I think the St. Louis Blues team looks better now then just a few short months ago!! They should be poised to make the playoffs and are set up well with $7 million-plus in cap space to add any further talent that is needed during the season.
Let the Games Begin!!!