As the Blues’ struggles continue, many reports have come out that Blues “are in talks” with other teams about acquiring a Top 6 forward before the deadline. “I’m not sure the prices will stay what they’re asking for”, Armstrong tells NHL.com in an article here, “And I know if they do, we wont be involved.”
Given his response to this question, it seems that the national level of attention that the Blues’ top four prospects of Kyrou, Kostin, Thomas, and Thompson have generated seems to resonate with Armstrong and he’s placed a pretty high price on the youngsters.
If you take a look around the league, it’s easy to see why. The old style of enforcers and heavy hitting hockey is quickly evolving into speed, skill, and playmaking ability, which is precisely what these prospects possess.
Jordan Kyrou is on pace for 142 points this year with the Sarnia Sting, which would put him 12th on the list for points in a single-season all time. Some notables on this list include; John Tavares (134), Corey Perry (130), Alex DeBrincat (127), Mitch Marner (126), Patrick Kane (145) and Eric Lindros (149).
Already a fan favorite, Tage Thompson has burst onto the St. Louis scene in just 18 games played and has already accumulated more points than Sundqvist, Paajarvi, and Thorburn at the age of 20.
But this is not uncommon in the NHL today.
At the time this piece is being written, Brock Boeser (age 20) currently leads his team in points, Matthew Barzal (20) has more assists than John Tavares, Clayton Keller (19) has more goals, assists, and a better +/- than Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jesper Bratt (19) and Nico Hischier (19) have the second and third most points on the Devils (trailing only Taylor Hall), Alex DeBrincat (20) and Jonathan Toews have the same amount of goals, and the list goes on.
The point that is surfacing here is that, as technology and intelligence advance, so do sports. New styles of play and training methods have contributed to the rise of a new breed of athletes that are taking over the ice from the time they step on it. So why trade a player who has this potential at the age of 19-20 for a rental or someone from the diminishing era of players who doesnt fit the “fast and furious” mold?
Blues fans saw first hand our front office reap the benefits of a rental. When the Caps went all in for Kevin Shattenkirk, we were handed a 1st round pick and Zach Sanford, and the Capitals still didn’t win the cup or the bid for Shattenkirk in the offseason.
In the NHL, it’s very difficult for teams to enter the realm of a dynasty. It takes a lot of good scouting, smart contracts, some power moves, and a little bit of luck. But at the base of this concept are two things; drafting well and conducting team friendly contracts.
Armstrong has shown he is committed to both of these things and I truly believe that the Blues are close to their subsequent reign over the NHL within the next 5 years.