We do not get free stuff from the Blues.
Blues would have liked that, since Dunn is an attractive asset to deal and could help them get someone else. Or, as has been suggested, to keep because he's a good player. Blues had a year to re-sign Schwartz, and obviously their offer was lower than five years, $5.5 million. I would think Blues would have been OK with that price, but not so OK with the term. Just like with Backes, that fifth year was probably a sticking point. With his style of play, those last couple of years could be tricky.
It has thrown another ball in the air this offseason, but in some ways, it opens up more options for Armstrong and potentially more money to work with. Armstrong said at the end of the season that changes needed to be made, and certainly people were asking here about the virtue of trading Tarasenko much of last season, so it's not as if this is something that popped up out of left field. (My answer at the time was usually, it's an option, but I don't think you're getting much of a return on him.) But the tricky part now is that bringing Tarasenko back is less of an option than it was before. That's the tightrope to navigate.
One-time Blue Dmitrij Jaskin has returned to the NHL, as long rumored, signing with Arizona, reuniting him with Bill Armstrong. Jaskin scored a lot of goals in the KHL, and while that might have eased his return to North America, I still think he's miscast as some big goalscorer. He's a very solid defensive forward who can score goals. If Arizona looks at him as a top-line forward and big offensive guy, I think they'll be disappointed.
You can't always pull off miracles. Sometimes moves are hard to make, whether it's engineering trades or signing free agents. That often leads to a point where you're paying over-market on someone, and then you really have to be right. The Blues are in a position where they have to make some kind of a move for next season because a lot is going out the door.
As of last look, he's still out there. But probably not coming to the Blues.
At the moment, the Blues left-side defensemen are Krug, Mikkola and Walman. Scandella has played the left. The Blues have Krug, Faulk, Parayko, Scandella, Mikkola, Walman and Bortuzzo. To add another defenseman, it means one of those guys is going somewhere else, and Mikkola and Walman are both past the point where playing in the AHL does them any good. Plus, they would both have to pass through waivers anyway, and would likely get claimed. I don't know that dealing the first three is going to lead to any net gain in talent, which is why I'm thinking that, unless Mikkola and Walman can be parlayed into something better, it's going to be hard to bring in another defenseman who's going to make a difference. With the cap situation, the Blues need guys who are making the kind of money Mikkola and Walman are. Then again, a year ago in free agency, I didn't see a Krug move coming, so what do I know?
I see the Blues rolling with Husso. Bringing in an experienced goalie is going to cost at least $2 or $3 million, and that's an expense the Blues would just as soon avoid. Husso started poorly and finished well. He's another guy who gains nothing from going back to the AHL, and, again, probably wouldn't get through waivers anyway. The market for goalies is a bit insane right now. Unless Husso is a trade piece for someone else, he'll be back in goal.
Zach Sanford seems the wild card in this. There is always the potential for him to score some goals, but it's the kind of thing to not believe until you really see it. Thomas also needs to take that big step and show he can be a top two center. He hasn't quite shown that consistently yet, in part because whenever he gets close, he gets hurt and starts all over again. If Sundqvist, Barbashev and Clifford are the fourth line, that bodes well.
One reason may be that that's the only way they know to get players. Their farm system hasn't really cranked out anybody. The Blues, for instance, have guys like Thomas and Kyrou and Parayko who came up through the system and who they had (or still have) on entry-level contracts. When you have that, you can spend on higher priced players and still get under the cap. Vegas doesn't have that. Their team consists almost entirely of free agents, players they got in trades or in the expansion draft. And their solution so far to filling a need is to go out and sign another player. It can't go on forever. Though so far, they've had pretty good results. When they went out in the semifinals this season, it was quickly apparent that they would respond by going out and solve the problem with cash.
I'm assuming your autocorrect has run amok. The Blues had a year to re-sign Schwartz and couldn't do it. I don't know that not giving Seattle a three-day headstart would have changed that. The Blues made Schwartz and offer; Schwartz wanted to see what the market would bring. Seattle may well have overpaid, in years or dollars, for Schwartz, at least compared to what the Blues were prepared to offer. Would it be any different if he signed with Winnipeg?
A healthier Parayko makes the Blues defense better. A Krug who's been around for a year makes the Blues defense better. A more experienced Mikkola and Walman make them better. And unlike other years, I don't know that any one in the group is getting worse with age. Defenseman can be physical and clear the area around the net and not be big. Also, some of that falls on the forwards. They need to be better defensively.
The dollars and the years are one thing, the no-movement clause is another. That's quite a lot to offer. It will be interesting to see how Hyman does with a different set of wingers. His isolated offensive numbers have been consistently good, with a lot of production in front of the net.
I was thinking a three or four year deal at the same salary or less is what Schwartz would get from the Blues. The one wild-card was that he's the kind of players that coaches like a lot. Berube has praised him as the team's engine. But the downside is with the style of game he plays, he gets hurt a lot. He misses a lot of games. And that's hard to commit to. It's not like Tarasenko with questions about his shoulders, with Schwartz he's going to get hit with so many pucks or did into so many corners and you can only take so much. He will be hard to replace; players like him are not readily available. That will be the challenge for the Blues, getting that energy from someone else.
Jaskin will get $3.2 million from Arizona; his last Blues contract was for $1.1 million.
If they don't sign Saad, you're looking at a big trade, probably involving multiple players, probably other than or in addition to Tarasenko.
Teams can go over the cap in the offseason, so the Blues don't have to trade Tarasenko right now to sign someone right now, but they will eventually have to make a move. Hoffman and Berube seemed more on the same page at the end of last season. I would have given you a 0% chance for much of the offseason of Hoffman coming back, but the changing Blues landscape have boosted those chances. Still, I don't know that the Blues will give Hoffman the longer-term deal he wants.