Right, the Blues simply subtract his $800,000 contract from their books. That is not much in the way of cap relief, since that is about the least you can make while sitting on a NHL roster. Ottawa is a team tight against the cap, so Magnus gives them affordable depth. That team could be pitching some veterans at the trade deadline so it will need placeholder guys to finish out the season.
There is some crazy talk out there. Price's 8-year, $84-million contract kicks in next year. He has been a shell of his former self. The Canadiens desperate need to fast-forward their rebuild and, like everybody else, their people like Thomas and some other Blues prospects. They also want future high picks. From the Blues standpoint, dealing with Price's $10.5 million salary cap would be a huge matter going forward. Then there is the question of whether this team's championship window is open. With multiple good young players (like Thomas) on their roster at once on entry-level contracts, THAT would be the time to add a big salary guy to go over the top. Now? The timing seems off.
It's been a nice run. He's also had a bit of luck. The Avalanche hit him with a late shot he never saw and they had some good lucks at open nets. But Hutton did make some huge late saves to win an absolutely essential game.
There was some chatter about his vitamin deficiency. Whatever the case, he has been a shell of his former self. Can he get back to being one of the elite goaltenders in the world? That would be a huge gamble for a team taking on his contract.
Nobody will know if Fabbri is OK until he returns to action and plays well at full speed for at least a couple of months. Only then could a team be reasonably sure that two major surgeries on the same knee didn't ruin his career. Trading for him now would be a huge gamble from the other side. If the Blues could get back a forward with some contract term left -- term that it could fit into the cap puzzle moving forward -- then it would be interesting from their end. Let somebody else take the risk. If the Blues keep Fabbri, the team will surely want to sign him to a "make good" contract with shorter term because of that risk.
For me., rental help for a second-round pick is OK because this team can take a draft off -- given what is in the near-term pipeline. Obviously Schmaltz is a guy the Blues can trade, but even moving Kyrou (as TSN is floating) would be a huge mistake. Even losing Walman in a rental move seems like a strain -- unless the team has reason to doubt his potential after seeing in the AHL for one full season.
The Preds see their window as now, especially given Rinne's age. The Turris trade was pure gold and it helped them survive some big injury hits. They have some cap space after losing James Neal in the expansion draft and the Kyle Turris contract extension doesn't kick in until next season. So, yes, they could add another scorer and go for it.
Jake Allen is still on the team?
Buffalo has buried Kane, taking him off the top power-play unit and moving him down to the third line at even strength. Once again he has managed not to fit in. Since Buffalo will want a No. 1 pick or an elite prospect of that caliber in the return package, I can't see the Blues going there for a rental.
Pacioretty has another year at team-friendly terms ($4.5 million), so he would the top target. Galchenyuk is a bit of a reclamation project, but not a bad bet with two years left on his deal at $4.9 million per. Hoffman has two more years at $5.2 million, which is OK at today's dollars. He seems like a more solid bet than Galchenyuk. As for Kane, he is rental player that would fit better for a team going for it this spring and not looking beyond this season.
He ended up stopping 30 of 32 shots against Arizona, so I don't seem as needing to spend the break at the psych ward. IMO he had two bad games at a time when the team was fragile. That timing pushed Yeo to ride Hutton and Carter has taken full advantage of his chance. The risk Yeo is taking, though, is that he could lose Allen. And then if Carter Hutton reverts back into career-backup form, then what? Ryan Miller has a job in Anaheim and he's not leaving SoCal.
That is the consensus assessment of this team. This team could use another proven scorer, like most teams, but it is building toward something better. There is no point in compromising that potential unless there is a trade that makes up a Cup threat immediately. I don't see such a trade out there.
The Blues have gone the Cup resume route before, but it's funny how that seldom translates. Perhaps Grant Fuhr would have had one special spring had he not been injured against Toronto in the playoffs, but on balance his play didn't measure up to his reputation. And goaltenders are a strange lot. Guys can be world-beaters one year and just awful the next. Matt Murray! Cam Talbot! Martin Jones! Henrik Lundqvist among the older guys. Even with so-called proven goaltenders, it's amazing how poorly they can play for long stretches.
Yes, Hoffman is a left shot forward who prefers left wing. For the Note, he could play opposite Tarasenko and balance up the first two lines. Some fans have anguished over the whole right-shot forward thing this season, but Steen and Tarasenko do OK as left-shot RWs.
The Blues haven't soured on Steen in the few months since his kicked in. He is scoring at a point-per-game pace since the holiday break. He remains an strong two-way forward who plays at a good level in all scenarios. When Armstrong mapped out the team's long-term cap plans, he saw Steen as a leader for a team that would integrate lots of young players. He could do for this team what Marian Hossa did for the Blackhawks, even as he got less playing time. As for Berglund, his AAV is below $4 million. That is not an onerous contract for a third-line player who can play in all scenarios.
Gunnarsson is the odd man out, if everybody is healthy and playing well. And he's played at a good level this season. There are lots of D-men on the market these days and not so many forwards, so I don't know if the right deal will emerge. But this team has depth in the minors, so offloading him at some point would make sense.
He certainly has been when in the lineup. You can see the lineup balance up nicely with him there. Getting a proven guy in Barbashev's place would be great and something might happen still before the deadline. Between now and then Sanford may get some spins. So the scenario looks much better with No. 17 adding more punch. When he got hurt, he was playing about as well as any forward in the league.
Those sites also point out that most teams in the playoff hunt are looking for a Top 6 forward. Cap space and the lack of a first-round pick are deterrents for the Blues, as well and the realization that their best seasons are still down the road. For the right price (second-round pick, less critical prospect) the Blues could add somebody. Paying a bigger price than that would have to bring back a player with contract term left that fits the cap going forward.
Yeah, teams that win with smothering defense and hard work can't expect to outwork and outcheck opponents in the playoffs. That is more of a concern for Vegas than the Blues, since this team is more skilled with the addition of Schenn up front and the ability of Dunn to replace a lot of what Shattenkirk did. Those two things are huge for this team. If Edmundson can jump into more plays and Thompson, Barbashev and Sanford can add some punch up front, that would help as well.
Those early days were unique, since the Blues added those two greats and many other Hall of Fame-caliber veterans (Doug Harvey!) as the league expansion extended careers. But since the team operated under normal conditions, drafting and building teams the usual way, goaltending has proven elusive.