I've gone back and forth on this. Bozak has the advantage of being the cheapest of the bunch; the bidding war for him will be smaller than for others. So he may be the most likely. It's simpler to fit in a $2 million guy than a $6 million guy, which is what you could be paying for Schwartz or Hoffman.
The league hasn't released any guidelines for next season, but I suspect those will be gone.
That may be a bit high. I'm thinking more around $8 million, but when the numbers are that high, hey, what's another half million dollars? Either way, it would make him the highest-paid Blue.
The problem with another high-priced defenseman, is the Blues already have three of them in Faulk, Krug and Parayko. Hamilton would be a great addition, but all of a sudden, you have a third of the cap tied up in four defensemen. I think that makes the case against a really splashy D-man play, unless they're cutting ties with someone else. Martinez will come cheaper because he's older and Hamilton is the better player.
It wouldn't surprise me if he was traded because I think other teams will be interested in him, but Sanford does enough good things to keep the Blues interested. He's a good defensive forward and has shown some offensive capabilities. He can be a 20-goal scorer, and he's the kind of that runs the risk of being traded to another team and then shining. I don't know that he'll be a star, but he can be a solid, dependable player. Right now, of course, Blues fans would say he's not dependable, because he sometimes makes spectacular goofs. But that seems fixable, which is no doubt part of the allure. He is, looking at some of the analytics, better on offense and defense than Barbashev. Way better on defense. So they think he can help them. Though that help may come by bringing them something they need in a trade.
Well, from what I've seen, if the situation presents itself, you'll see both because there's no way Berube sticks with one line for the whole season. I could see Landeskog starting out on a line with his old teammate O'Reilly.
Bozak is certainly a guy you can move around, which has its value, and he's very good on faceoffs. Do you need someone on that fourth line like Clifford or MacEachern who's going to do more banging? Who's your designated fighter?
No one saw those other deals coming, so if one does happen, it's hard to project it. If Army can find a team just dying to have Sammy Blais, who knows what can take place? Perunovich has too much of an upside for the Blues to be in all but the most spectacular trades. Just about everybody else I would think is fair game, though I don't know how much any of them move the needle dramatically for other GMs.
The Blues were at their best last season when Sundqvist and Barbashev were on the fourth line, because it meant they had three good lines ahead of them. Once those two started moving up into the third, or second, or first line, it spoke to the condition of the team, that their better offensive players were gone. They can help in short stints, but I don't know that you want them there the whole season. Being able to throw out a fourth line with that much talent was a plus. Once the fourth line had MacEachern and Joshua, it was high on energy but low on creating chances. Sundqvist and Barbashev also meant it was a fourth line you didn't have to be scared about if they got stuck out there against another team's top line, which happens.
And that's a lot of players to give up for one guy. Much would hang on how enthusiastic Calgary is about Thomas. It's tough to give up a star and get only average or slightly above average guys back in return. (Though, come to think of it, that's what Buffalo did in the O'Reilly trade.) Calgary is going to want some pop.
He's only an RFA after next season (which I guess is now this season), so he's not on the open market just yet. The longer Calgary waits to trade him, the less their return will be.
Ay, there's the mystery. The Blues have scored without Tarasenko, and they've scored without Schwartz, so it can be done. Hoffman finished the season well (he also finished scoring chances well, probably better than anyone else on the team), and while he had an off year offensively, there's a case to be made that if used differently, he would have been more productive. So that's the upside to retaining Hoffman, but, again, Berube would have to commit to using him differently. (Which could translate to using him more.) I don't see anyone currently on the team expanding to fill that void entirely. Sanford is not going to get 30. Kostin isn't going to get 20, at least I don't think. Same with Blais. The Blues are going to have to go out and get at least one goalscorer.
Colorado is going to have a hard time getting everyone in under the cap. Landeskog could be a casualty of that effort.
It is reasonable to expect that. The biggest problem on the defense last season, other than it not having Pietrangelo, was not having a healthy Parayko for a good part of it (and not having any Parayko for some of it). If Parayko is healthy, and if Krug picks up where he left off -- he was doing much better at the end of the season -- that bodes well. Dunn is a piece, but only a piece, and it will be seen if Mikkola and Walman can step up their game given more ice time.
The next week promises to be very interesting. A lot of teams will look very different between now and July 28.
I answered this question several hours ago, but since it's almost closing time, I'll do it again. I doubt that the Blues will get a player of any significance back. Any trade would be mostly for draft choices. Tarasenko is a tricky commodity: a team is acquiring a talented goal scorer who has had three shoulder operations, has barely played in two seasons, and in any case is at a point in his career where you would expect a decline in his game. I don't see Tarasenko as a 30-goal scorer any more. 20, yes, but 30, no. Plus he makes $7.5 million a year. So when a players has that many question marks around his game, it's hard to come up with a comparable player to offer in return. So draft picks is probably the way to go. And the Blues will be happy to pick up that cap space. If they could have the return on Tarasenko be Landeskog, they would be quite happy.
If those players with grit and size can score, they'll be quite welcomed by the Blues. The Blues were one of the worst teams in the league last season for getting to the net, but they were very good when they got there. There's a case to be made for some gains from an attitude adjustment.
Zadorov is 6-5, so they would present a formidable obstacle, but beyond that, I don't know. Zadorov will do less than nothing for you offensively. He made $3.2 million last season and is an RFA, so you're looking at a trade.