Outlook for the Blues: Post Landeskog Signing

The St. Louis Blues are looking to find their way back to the Stanley Cup, and that starts with building a team capable of making it there. The Blues have a tough division, and it’s going to be difficult for them to make it back, but not impossible. Armstrong is a heavy hitter in the off-season and will not accept a team that looses and he will do everything in his power to get them to the Stanley Cup. With that being said, the Blues didn’t make it there this past season, and Armstrong has already made one significant move, and he’s not done.

The St. Louis Blues are looking to obtain some offensive talent this offseason and there was one name that many Blues fans were hopping for: Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog is a veteran presence that the Blues are currently lacking, and even more importantly is a terrific goal scorer. With the uncertainty of Tarasenko, and Schwartz gone, the Blues are in a need to find some players on the wing. However, it was reported late last night that Landeskog is returning to the Colorado Avalanche on a 8yr/$56mil contract. So with Landeskog off the board, what could the Blues do this off-season?

It was reported that Armstrong had made offers to the free agents: Kyrou, Sanford, Thomas, Joshua, and Barbashev, but there was one name that I felt should’ve been mentioned on that list: Mike Hoffman. Last off-season the Blues were able to get Hoffman very cheap due to it being a late signing, and it was a valuable signing at that. Hoffman was big part to the Blues this past season given his power play ability, and the ability to be a sniper along the perimeter. It was reported earlier today that Hoffman is a contingency plan for the Blues depending on the situation with Tarasenko. The Blues have reportedly offered Hoffman a contract, but should Tarasenko get moved, they will look to bring him on for a long term contract. With that being said, why hasn’t Tarasenko been moved yet?

After talking back and forth with some people in the Blues community, It was agreed upon that the Landeskog signing actually helps the Blues more than it hurts. Now you’re probably asking how that could possibly be when Landeskog was the main target for the Blues, but it helps more than think. With Landeskog off the board, Ovechkin off the board, and Schwartz off the board, there are not many forwards left that teams will be able to target. Looking at some of the names that are still available via trade or free agency, the only player that is arguably better than Tarasenko would be Jack Eichel. Once Jack Eichel is moved, Tarasenko’s value will be the highest around the league in which Armstrong will be able to get the most in return for him at that point in time. Once Tarasenko is moved, and his contract is off the books, he will be able to officially get started in free agency and filling out the team and making trades.

Who Should Be the Primary Targets in Free Agency

There are a lot of very good players in this year’s free agency class. However, the thing you have to consider is: Who has the most to offer the Blues looking forward? With this past year being underwhelming to Blues fans after a terrible stretch, and getting swept in the first round, It’s easy to overreact and say that they just need to rebuild. I do not believe that’s the case.

You take a look at what the Blues had to endure this past season with injuries, it would’ve been hard to succeed in any scenario. Looking forward, yes there need’s to be some moves made in free agency, but it is completely possible. So with that being said, I’m going to look at the five names the Blues should look at in free agency.

*Disclaimer: Unrestricted free agents only

Gabriel Landeskog: The Colorado forward is officially a unrestricted free agent, and is going to be one of the hottest names this off-season. After posting fantastic numbers this past season, he is going to be looking at getting a big extension from a variety of teams. With that being said though, the Blues are going to be clearing a lot of cap space after trading Tarasenko away that’ll allow them to compete with other teams to sign the left wing. This past season Landeskog played in 54 games in which he recorded 20 goals, 32 assists that totaled to 52 points and a +/- of 14. A team like the St. Louis Blues who are going to be looking to add a elite goal scorer and a true offensive threat should be going all in on the left wing.

Brandon Saad: From one Colorado left wing to the next, we now move on to Brandon Saad. The St. Louis Blues have actually been tied to Saad since the Avalanche series, and is expected to be one of the Blues’ primary targets this off-season. Saad, although not nearly as productive statistically as Landeskog, is still a very good left wing and has a lot to offer the Blues. Saad this past season played in 44 games for the Avalanche and was able to record 15 goals and nine assists for a total of 24 points and a +/- of 1. Saad, would likely become one of the Blues best offensive players, and given the fact they would be able to give him more ice time than he received in Colorado. With that pitch alone, they could easily make a good argument for him to come to St. Louis for next season.

Alec Martinez: For a team that is looking to go younger, this doesn’t seem like the most ideal, but you can’t deny the talent. Martinez is coming off one of his best season’s, and is going to be looking to make an impact for any team willing to pay him. You could argue that his performance this past season had to do with the depth the Knights had at the position, but you can’t deny how well he was able to perform this season regardless. Martinez was able to play in 53 games an recorded nine goals, 23 assists for a total of 32 points and a +/- of 26. Martinez was able to be a big part of the Knights success this past season, and if the Blues are able to find their way to pick up the veteran defenseman, they’d be in good shape for next season defensively.

The St. Louis Blues obviously have a lot more moves that need to be made outside of these three, but as far as the big moves in free agency goes, these would the most ideal. Adding even one of the three names I have listed above would boost the Blues chances greatly looking forward. Armstrong was quoted saying he believes that the Blues are in their Stanley Cup window, and if he truly believes that, he is going to be looking to add a lot more big names to their roster for next season.