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The St. Louis Blues: A middling team with many interesting pieces to offer

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Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
One thing is for certain with the St. Louis Blues, the quality of the team has regressed since their Stanley Cup win back in the 2018-19 season. While the team remains in the playoff hunt, it’s not guaranteed that they make it into the dance, so selling off high-valued players might be the wiser decision.
This is a series called Meet the Sellers. As the Edmonton Oilers are in a “Stanley Cup or Bust” year, we’re going to look at the teams who have no other aspirations this season other than adding some prospects and picks and jockeying for a better position in the 2024 Draft Lottery.
Before looking at who the Blues have to offer, let’s take a look at the needs of the Edmonton Oilers.
Second-pairing right-shot defenceman: Cody Ceci is a fine defenseman who plays significant minutes against elite competition. However, if the Oilers look to upgrade their defence, getting a right-handed Mattias Ekholm to play alongside Darnell Nurse would be the ideal pathway to improving the defence core.
Second-line winger: Leon Draisaitl has played with several wingers this season, including Evander Kane, Ryan McLeod, Warren Foegele, and Connor Brown. None of those guys except for maybe Kane is a second line winger, so landing a guy like Jake Guentzel or Pavel Buchnevich is a must.
Right-shot defenceman depth: Last season, the Oilers had Jason Demers in the American Hockey League as a backup plan if a right-shot defenceman got injured. Thankfully, the Oilers remained relatively healthy that season and have barely missed any games from their defence this season, but they don’t have a veteran right-shot defenceman in the minors this year. It doesn’t help that Philip Broberg has missed time with an injury and could be out for two to three more weeks.
A “1B” goaltender: Stuart Skinner has been streaky this season, starting the season off poorly, before looking like one of the best goalies in the league when the Oilers started to play better. In recent times, he’s been struggling, but that may be a result of the defence letting him down. Either way, getting a goaltender who can start more than Calvin Pickard may be seen as a need.
Third-line centre: The Oilers have a third line centre they’ve developed in McLeod, but if they wish to play him alongside Leon Draisaitl, there a few options available that can slot in as Edmonton’s new 3C, such as Adam Henrique of the Anaheim Ducks or Scott Laughton of the Philadelphia Flyers. Had the Canadiens waited to trade Sean Monahan, he’d be a good fit for the Oilers.

Who could the St. Louis Blues sell:

As it stands, the Blues are on the outside looking in with 62 points, while their divisional rivals – the Nashville Predators – have 66 points with two additional games played. They’re by no means out of the race, but if they do decide to sell, they can set up their future nicely.
Jordan Kyrou is a 25-year-old right shot centre with 19 goals and 45 points in 58 games, along with a 37 goal season in 2022-23, he wouldn’t be traded, right? Well, according to The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, he gives it a 50%-60% chance that Kyrou will be traded before his no-trade clause kicks in after the 2024-25 season. Kyrou has a cap hit of $8.125 million until the end of the 2030-31 season. It probably wouldn’t happen until the off-season, but still worth mentioning.
Pavel Buchnevich’s name has also been in trade rumours, although this one does seem a little more plausible. This season, the 28-year-old winger has 23 goals and 47 points in 56 games. His best season was in 2021-22, when he scored 30 goals and 76 points in 73 games, along with a goal and 11 points in 12 playoff games that season. Buchnevich has a cap hit of $5.8 million until the end of the 2024-25 season with a 12-team no-trade list.
Kevin Hayes is an ideal target if the Oilers want a third-line centre with term. This season, the 31-year-old forward has 10 goals and 22 points in 58 games and is just a season removed from scoring 18 goals and 54 points, the latter being a career-high. Hayes has a $7,142,857 cap hit, but 50% of that is being retained by the Philadelphia Flyers, meaning the Blues pay him just $3,571,429 until the end of the 2025-26 season.
Oskar Sundqvist is back for a second tour of duty with the Blues after being traded to the Detroit Red Wings a few years ago. The 6-foot-3 pivot inked a one-year, league-minimum deal with St. Louis back in July and has produced six goals and 21 points through 58 games. He’s won only 42.1 percent of faceoff this season, so Sundqvist might be better suited to playing the right wing on a contender.
Kasperi Kapanen was once a part of the Phil Kessel trade that saw the former Leaf move to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kapanen scored 20 goals and 44 points in 78 games during the 2018-19 season but has just four goals and 15 points in 51 games this season. At one point, he was a double-digit goal scorer and a 30-point getter, but since joining the Blues, the right-winger hasn’t hit either plateau. He is a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.2 million cap hit.
Colton Parayko is a right-shot defenceman who would be a great fit alongside Darnell Nurse. This season, he has nine goals and 21 points, and is on pace for 12 goals and 29 points, with the former being a career-high. A native of St. Albert, Alberta, the 30-year-old has a cap hit of $6.5 million along with a full no-trade clause, but if you want a right-shot Mattias Ekholm, Parayko is your guy.
Jordan Binnington’s call-up in the 2018-19 season led to the Blues going from the literal bottom of the league to winning a Stanley Cup. If the Oilers need a 1B netminder, why not get a guy who spearheaded one of the best turnarounds in NHL history? Binnington isn’t quite that guy anymore, pal, as he has a .909 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average, but he’d make a nice pairing with Stuart Skinner. The 30-year-old netminder has a cap hit of $6 million until the end of the 2026-27 season, along with a full no-trade clause this season.

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