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Blues may have to trade top-six forward to acquire defenseman

Jul 2, 2012, 12:20 PM EDT

Doug Armstrong AP

In speaking with the media prior to free agency, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong made it clear he was looking to add defensemen.

Specifially, one that’s left-handed (to fill out that side of his blueline) and one that’s more defensively inclined (to pair with Alex Pietrangelo.)

But with so many defensemen snapped up on the opening day of free agency, Armstrong might need to go another route — the trade route, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Blues have made inquiries about Ryan Suter, Jason Garrison and Matt Carle. Suter is reportedly not interested in St. Louis, Garrison signed in Vancouver and Carle’s believed to be waiting on what Suter does, positioning himself as “Next Best” for teams that whiff on the Nashville rearguard.

After those three, the UFA defenseman market really thins out — so much that Rutherford actually mentions the name of Toronto’s Jeff Finger, something I haven’t seen in quite some time.

Which brings us to the possibility of a trade. Both Phoenix and Calgary have expensive back ends (gotta be a better way to say that) after acquiring Zbynek Michalek and Dennis Wideman, respectively — moves that have put defensemen Keith Yandle and Jay Bouwmeester on the block.

If Calgary and/or Phoenix want to move their defensemen to acquire more scoring, St. Louis is a viable trade candidate.

More, from Rutherford:

All of which means that teams such as Calgary and Phoenix may have interest in the Blues’ forwards.

They have 14 in the picture: David Backes, Andy McDonald, Alex Steen, T.J. Oshie (restricted free agent), David Perron (restricted free agent), Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund, Chris Stewart, Matt D’Agostini, Vladimir Sobotka, Ryan Reaves, B.J. Crombeen, Scott Nichol and Jaden Schwartz.

The team also has interest in re-signing unrestricted free agent Jamie Langenbrunner and depth in the minors with Evgeny Grachev, Adam Cracknell and Philip McRae.

Should be noted the Blues have a payroll projected to be $28 million under the salary cap for the 2012-13 season.
  1. homelanddefense - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    the Bruins also have a lot of depth on defense, some high paid. Chara, Seidenberg (neither will be traded), Boychuk, Ferrence, McQuaid, etc. Plus Doug Hamilton ahd Krugg waiting in the wings.

    They could use some scoring.

  2. danphipps01 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Yandle would be a good partner for him. Phoenix could definitely stand to upgrade at forward without Whitney’s team-leading production. Seems like it writes itself, really.

  3. chrisr9040 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Sekera or Leopold may be a good fit. Leopold is sound defensively and is coming off back-to-back 10+ goal seasons. Sekera is a little younger and has a little more upside, I could see either of them in a Blues uniform next season.

    Both would come way cheaper than Yandle.

  4. jakpsu1 - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Paul Martin is available in Pittsburgh, and you wont even have to give up a top six forward to get him

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      They are looking for a “defensively inclined” D-Man, Martin does not fit that bill, neither does Yandle for that matter. Not that there is anything wrong with Yandle he is underrated by most, but one of his negatives is that he’s not always the soundest defensive D-man. Which is common with blueliners who takes risks with long passes or not passing enough though they are last man back.

  5. rflashj - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Didn’t know the Blues had any Top-6 forwards.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      Really? Guys like Backes, Oshie, Perron, Bergland, Stewart (what happened to you) and when available MacDonald all bought into a responsible and winning system that helped put up 109 points. Backes and Oshie are going no where, nobody is trading anything for MacDonald. I have trouble believing they would trade Perron, so that leaves Bergland who is under-rated and a confusing Chris Stewart. I can see Stewart being the one traded to get this blueliner they are looking to add.

      • theawesomersfranchise - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        Chris Stewart for Jay Bo?

      • cardsandbluesforever - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        they definately arent trading stewart, just signed him to a 1 year deal. backes, andy mac are off limits, oshie and perron will likely stay, the blues have way too much invested in those 2. bergland is a possibility but he is a BIG forward who plays a fast paced physical game like backes. terasenko and schwartz are also off limits, the blues have been waiting for those 2 to throw on the blue note and make an impact for a while now.
        bergland is the only one i can see getting traded, but i doubt it will happen.

  6. ikillchicken - Jul 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    You want to take Keith Ballard? Please?

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