The St. Louis Blues are one of the teams expected to be buyers at the trade deadline. Thanks to injuries across the roster plaguing some of the club’s best players, the Blues might be in a difficult position when it comes to improving their lineup. Rumors have swirled, but so far no deals have been made. One of those rumors involves David Backes and the possibility of the Blues trading away their captain in order to cash in on his value before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Based on some recent quotes from Blues general manager, a trade of Backes doesn’t sound too likely. In fact, the team sounds like they want to treat Backes like a rental.
Armstrong, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“If we were in 10th or 11th or 12th spot in the Western Conference I’d probably be going to him right now, ‘Obviously you’re an unrestricted free agent, do you want to go a contending team? We are that contending team. We are that team that is in the top part of the NHL. Trading David Backes for some form of a draft pick, I think, would be an injustice to the players in that room right now.”
Trading away a captain is a move usually reserved for teams outside of the playoff picture. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Blues to deal Backes in the middle of a strong season even with his questionable future with the team.
There may be some other moves the Blues can make which don’t involve their captain. However, any move that brings in NHL talent will have to subtract NHL talent. The Blues don’t have the cap space to add any sort of significant piece without subtracting salary. By all accounts, and considering how steep prices are for just about any rental, the Blues sound content to let the current roster make a run for the Cup.
“I believe in those players in that room. If I can find a way to support them, I’m certainly going to try and do that. But my belief is that group in there, I really truly believe this is the year that for us to have success, our best players, they’re not looking for assistance from outside. They know the responsibilities lie on their shoulders. I think to a man they are ready for that challenge.”
Time will soon tell if Armstrong and the Blues will finally find success. Blues fans deserve a winner, but injuries and contracts (which were awarded by Armstrong) have placed the team in a difficult spot.