Offseason Review: St. Louis Blues

Now that the dust has settled on a wild NHL offseason, let's take a look at how each team did in regards to drafting and free-agent signings. Today, we'll look at the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues are in a sticky situation and have been since their miracle Cup win a couple years ago. During that run, this team had it all: good defence, exceptional goaltending, and a devastating blend of toughness and talent in their forward group. Since that run, things have fallen back to Earth in Missouri. Jordan Binnington, while still a good NHL starter, is not consistently reaching the same level as when he started 32 games in the back half of the 2018-2019 season and only lost 6 of them (he did just get engaged, however, congrats to him and Cristine). Both the forward and defence group have seen key pieces depart in free agency, not to mention the impending trade of longtime Blue Vladimir Tarasenko, and the Blues have had trouble filling in those holes. Gm Doug Armstrong doesn't appear ready to give up on this squad yet, let's take a look at what he did this offseason to keep the team relevant.

Free Agency:

As with a couple teams in this series, this offseason was more about who is sticking around rather than who was brought in. That said, a couple of big names did arrive in St. Louis. The first was Pavel Buchnevich, who was acquired in a trade with the Rangers that saw Sammy Blais headed to New York, along with a 2022 2nd-round pick. Buchnevich is a skilled left-winger with plenty to offer but was getting buried under the Rangers' skilled rookies and superstar Artemi Panarin. The Blues have lots of room on the LW after losing Jaden Schwartz to Seattle as a UFA, as well as the likely departure of Tarasenko in the coming weeks. Buchnevich signed a four-year extension that will kick in next season, cementing him as a member of the Blues for a long while.

The other big name arriving in St. Louis is Brendan Saad, who had a strong season with the Avalanche and promptly signed a five-year contract with the Blues. Saad, also a LW, plays a style of game that fits the Blues' locker room well: a blend of size, toughness, scoring. There's a likely fit there alongside team captain Ryan O'Reilly.  On top of that, household names in St. Louis agreed to stick with the team going forward. Ivan Barbashev and Jordan Kyrou will remain with the team on two-year contracts, and Zach Sanford also signed for one more season. Then, just yesterday, top defenceman Colton Parayko signed a massive eight-year extension that kicks in next summer. The new contract all but guarantees that Parayko will retire in a Blues jersey, which should make fans very happy.

Some minor signings rounded out their summer. The Blues extended Dakota Joshua and Tanner Kaspick on one-year two-way deals, and Nathan Walker got a two-year two-way contract. They also added forwards Matthew Peca and Nathan Todd, Dmen Calle Rosen and Tommy Cross, and goaltender Charlie Lindgren in free agency, all on one-year two-way deals. Rosen and Lindgren in particular could be steals for St. Louis on these contracts.

Grade: A-; Some really solid, understated work done by Armstrong this summer. The additions of Buchnevich and Saad should offset the losses of Schwartz and Tarasenko, and could even prove to be an improvement given the departing pair's injury history. He held on to some household names that fans of the team have grown attached to, the most significant of which is Parayko, who will now play out his career with the team that drafted him. To top it off, there are a number of cheap two-way signings that could easily crack the team's roster and make significant contributions. This was a good summer in St. Louis and leaves this team looking more complete than they have in a while.


The Blues sent their 2nd-round pick this year to the Sabres in the deal that brought them Ryan O'Reilly 3 years ago, which left them a bit sparse for picks in the Draft. They held on to their spot at 17th overall though, and with it selected forward Zachary Bolduc. At 6'1", Bolduc plays an attacking game, rushing straight at defenders and forcing them to keep their feet moving if they don't want to get burned. His stick-handling is so smooth that getting caught flat-footed means he's going to make you pay. He doesn't lack in finishing ability either and knows how to blast a heavy and accurate wrist shot right where he wants to. Bolduc scored 10 goals and 29 points with the Rimouski Oceanic last season, following up a 30-goal campaign in 55 games with the same team a year earlier. He looks like he'll be playing for the Quebec Ramparts in 2021-2022.

Skipping over the 2nd round, at 71st overall the Blues drafted Simon Robertsson, a right-winger out of the SHL. Robertsson's calling card is his elite-level shooting ability, which he seems to have refined down to a science. His mechanics are all excellent, and he couples them with a good sense of timing to ensure he is a consistent scoring threat in the offensive zone. He lit up Skelleftea AIK's Junior-20 team last season, scoring 9 goals and 20 points in 15 games. The offense has yet to take off in the men's league, but he'll get another shot in the SHL this coming season.

Grade: B; Not too many fireworks at this draft, as the Blues drafted two remarkably similar players into their development system. Both possess tools that can turn them into NHL contributors, but both will also need some seasoning in other leagues before they get their breaks. Still, while there's nothing overly great to say about this draft, there's nothing particularly bad to point out either.

Overall grade: B+; The Blues made some needed changes to their roster in free agency this summer, and it looks to have left them better off. Add to that the potential return still coming from a Tarasenko trade, and this team looks to be well-off for the coming season. While nothing immediately changes for them coming out of the draft, what they did manage to get shows a lot of promise, and with a team that already has a ton of solid pieces that's all you really need.

What do you think about the offseason in St. Louis?

Photo credit: Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports