How Did The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline Affect the St. Louis Blues?

The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone. Whether or not your team went all in and made the trade for the game changing rental in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, or merely made a depth move to trade an extra player for a late pick in next year’s entry draft, the dust has settled. Now it’s time to take a look at what the moves made this year mean going forward for the St. Louis Blues. (For the purposes of this article, the only trades examined will be ones that directly affected the Central Division, and in particular either the Top 6 Forwards, or defense/goaltending).

 

Trade: February 20th – Boston Bruins acquire forward Charlie Coyle from the Minnesota Wild for forward Ryan Donato and a conditional 2019 5th round pick.

Current Effects: This trade does more for Boston, now, than for Minnesota. In the short term, it supplies Boston with a veteran center that has seen playoff time and can help their team to what they hope is total victory. It also supplies Minnesota with some youth and variety headed into what will be a nasty playoff stretch run, as they fight for a spot in the NHL’s second season. On a whole, I don’t believe it greatly alters either teams’ chances of making/missing the postseason.

Things of Note: Since the 1st of April in 2013 when Charlie Coyle made his debut against the St. Louis Blues, he has amassed 19pts (5G-14A) in 29 games against the Blues. Coyle is a gritty, two-way forward that flourishes best in a 3rd line center role, and as Blues fans we hope he does just that in Boston. I say that because, this move shifts him out of the Central and with that we now only see Coyle twice a year. I write this with caution though as Ryan Donato, who we now see up to five times as a Central Division rival, is not to be taken lightly. As evidenced clearly by the overtime game winner he recently scored against the us.

How Does This Effect St. Louis down the Stretch?
It doesn’t. Yet…

 

 

Trade: February 23rd – Dallas Stars acquire forward Mats Zuccarello from New York Rangers for conditional 2019 second-round draft pick and conditional 2020 third-round draft pick.

Current Effects: What Dallas needed, outside of their top three, was offense. And here they have it. This gives the Stars another elite scoring winger in a brand-new city with brand new opportunities. But like Minnesota, they are in a dog fight for a spot in the postseason, and I think this move helps their odds more than the Wild’s helps theirs.

Things of Note: Since the 8th of January in 2011 when Mats Zuccarello played his first game against the Blues, St. Louis has done fairly well keeping the veteran winger at bay. In 11 career games against the Note, he only has 7pts (4G-3A). Two major words of caution though, as we move forward. 1) Zuccarello has goals in back-to-back games against the Blues and is now playing for an opponent that we could see 4-5 times a year. 2) He will be on right wing with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn for their first game together, and we all know how well Seguin and Benn have fared in recent times against the Note. Worthy of note lastly (pun intended), is the fact that he will not be in the lineup for the 4th and final matchup against the Blues this year. He left his debut with the Stars with an upper-body injury and is expected to miss 4 weeks.

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
Beware of a 7-game series in the postseason, but do not worry until then.

 

 

Trade: February 23rd – Dallas Stars acquire defenseman Ben Lovejoy from New Jersey Devils for defenseman Connor Carrick and 2019 third-round draft pick.

Current Effect: Every team loves picking up veteran defense for a playoff run. This deal looks quite similar to what Doug Armstrong did for St. Louis at the deadline, except Doug paid a much better price. Does this directly effect the Stars playoff chances? Probably not. Was it a good move? Sure, but at a steep price.

Things of Note: Whereas this trade helps to shore up Dallas’s blueline, two things are worthy of note. 1) Lovejoy has only recorded 4pts (1G-3A) against the Blues in 17 career games, and 2) He has not had an even plus/minus against St. Louis since Nov. 7th, 2017 and has not had a positive plus/minus since Oct. 19th, 2014.

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
This is not a move to be worried about.

 

 

Trade: February 25th – Winnipeg Jets acquire forward Kevin Hayes from New York Rangers for Brendan Lemieux, 2019 first-round pick and 2022 conditional fourth-round pick.

Current Effect: The trade deadline was an arms race in the Western Conference. Winnipeg made the maximum amount of trades possible in one day by an NHL team (6). But, only one truly made a splash and this is it. Hayes is definitely a force to be reckoned with on the ice and he adds a veteran experience level/mentality that Winnipeg will love during the postseason.

Things of Note: Since his first game against the Blues on November 3rd, 2014 Hayes only has 4pts (2G-2A) in 8 games. However, quite a few things just changed for the 26-year-old centerman. First and foremost, the fact that he now plays for a powerhouse Winnipeg team and is speculated to center a line that boasts red-hot young forward Kyle Conner and fellow trade bait winger Jack Roslovic. Now, this is the part I hope you take from this. Hayes could be feeding the puck to Connor and Roslovic who have 11pts (3G-8A) and 3pts (0G-3A) against the Blues respectively. Connor in 8 games, and Roslovic in 6. So, every player on that projected line, against St. Louis, averages at least a half point per game… BAD!!

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
This one could get ugly…

 

 

Trade: February 25th – Colorado Avalanche acquire forward Derick Brassard, conditional 2020 sixth round pick from Florida Panthers for 2020 third round pick.

Current Effect: This trade, like the Zuccarello deal mentioned above, shores up the forward core for Colorado outside of their top three. But this one could come at a much steeper cost for St. Louis…

Things of Note: In 32 games dating back to the 11th of October in 2010, Brassard has 23pts (4G-19A) against the St. Louis Blues. In all 32 of those games, he played for an Eastern Conference teams which generally speaking means 2 games a year. Moving to Colorado, we are going to see this scoring trend continue, but sadly for St. Louis in 4-5 games a year now. With the ability to put MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen back together as the number one line for the Avalanche AND have Brassard between any of a handful of young skilled wingers for that club, this is my underdog pick to be the scariest Western Conference acquisition if you are a St. Louis Blues fan, player, or coach.

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
This will not be pretty. Like, at all.

 

 

Trade: February 25th – Minnesota Wild acquire forward Kevin Fiala from Nashville Predators for forward Mikael Granlund.

Current Effect: Down the stretch for both of these clubs, this move doesn’t do too much. For each team, this trade is more about how it will mesh with different trades. For Nashville, Simmonds, for Minnesota, Donato. I don’t believe it changes either teams’ chances of making it on an individual basis, but the sum of the two trades for each club definitely bolsters Nashville more.

Things of Note: Seeing as this is a one for one, with two teams that were already Central Division rivals, it will be up to time and change of scenery to show whether or not this move burns St. Louis. Again, in my opinion, nothing changes here individually. Heed what the sum of each teams’ acquisitions could do. Fiala has 4pts (0G-4A) in 11 games and Granlund has (4G-15A) 27 games.

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
This trade individually does not. *** If Fiala and Donato form any sort of chemistry, this is where we begin to sweat against MIN…

 

 

Trade: February 25th – Nashville Predators acquire forward Wayne Simmonds from Philadelphia Flyers for forward Ryan Hartman, and 2020 conditional fourth round pick.

Current Effect: This trade turns Nashville into an even greater power house. The reason their powerplay is struggling this year is because they have very active D who are used to firing the puck from the point and having a man in front to deflect the shot in. Well, they lost that in Mike Fisher after the ’17 playoff run. But now, they have it back in Wayne Simmonds.

Things of Note: In 23 games since the 24th of October 2008, Simmonds has only 14pts (7G-7A) in 23 games against the Blues. Now, Nashville currently has the 31st overall powerplay in the NHL and they hope that he can help fix that. But, even if he does, this is not a move that just tears through the Blues team that we know that kills penalties quite well. Of course, the one exception, is that he could find chemistry with a change of scene and two new skilled line mates in Mikael Granlund and Kyle Turris.

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
This one only effects St. Louis grossly if we forget how to kill penalties.

 

 

Trade: February 25th – St Louis Blues acquire defenseman Michael Del Zotto from Anaheim Ducks for 2019 sixth round pick.

Current Effect: This trade does well for St. Louis. Yet again, Doug Armstrong pulls through with a depth move that doesn’t cost us much in the long run if it doesn’t work out. But just like Doug does, if this move bodes well and Del Zotto ends up a key man on the bottom pairing then he looks like a genius. I’m all for defensive depth for a stretch run that just got a lot grittier as evidenced by the trades above. A+ job, Doug.

How Does This Affect St. Louis Down the Stretch?
“Nationwide is on your side.” It’s just insurance, baby!

 

 

All things considered, the Central Division is ready for a blood bath down the stretch. Looking at the St. Louis Blues, this team still has the potential to be a contender on paper and they’re starting to show that on the ice. No one likes tweaking a roster that just started to get going so I am totally fine with the Blues only making a depth move. As a whole, our tasks got a little harder today in contending with the Central Division powerhouses (Nashville and Winnipeg) down the stretch. The reason this kind of speculation is fun is because most of these players are unrestricted free agents at the end of this season and therefore are only rentals for their clubs anyway. So there is no need to worry long-term, at least until after July 1. As for the rest of this season, and post-season should we get there, I still believe this team can skate with the best of them. It’s going to be a fun stretch run, and I hope you all are ready.

Let’s Go Blues!!

All Trade Specifics came from NHL.com, All Player Statistics came from hockeyreference.com, PC: David Rogers

 

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