St. Louis Blues’ pending UFAs could be key to kickstarting rebuild

      The Blues have made seven first-round picks in the last four drafts, and now, they're set to embrace a rebuild.

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      The St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup just over four years ago, but sweeping changes could be on the horizon at Enterprise Center.

      Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, and David Perron are long gone. The Blues missed the playoffs last year and could wind up on the outside looking in once again as the ultra-competitive Central Division playoff race continues to take shape.

      Daily Faceoff‘s Frank Seravalli recently sat down with Blues general manager Doug Armstrong for a new episode of the Frankly Speaking show, an excerpt of which played on Thursday’s episode of Daily Faceoff Live:

      Frank Seravalli: The previous time that you guys didn’t make the playoffs, I think it was ’17, you traded Shattenkirk that year at that deadline, and you got firsts. And then you went out at the draft and you got Schenn, you got O’Reilly, and then those guys were the pieces that helped you win a Stanley Cup. Does now, not having made trades for those picks this time, sort of lengthen the time that it’s going to take for you to get to where you want to get to now?

      Doug Armstrong: If you look at the core that was there, that was a good team that needed people at that time. We’re not that same group right now. We’re not looking to put a small band-aid on a big wound, and so we’re going to do what we think is right short and long-term.

      Seravalli: So, what is the timeline, then?

      Armstrong: I’ve said I think the LA rebuild is something that I thought Rob Blake did a great job. It could be a year or two, it could be three, but I said if it’s eight, nine, 10, 11, then we’ve failed.

      Later on in the episode, Seravalli and Daily Faceoff Live co-host Tyler Yaremchuk ruminated on what kinds of changes could be coming in St. Louis.

      The Blues have six notable pending UFAs on their roster: Jakub Vrana, Kasperi Kapanen, Sammy Blais, Oskar Sundqvist, Robert Bortuzzo, and Marco Scandella. They’re also coming off a summer in which they circled a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that would’ve seen high-priced defender Torey Krug leave town, had he agreed to waive his no-trade clause.

      Tyler Yaremchuk: Another thing, too, they’re 8–5–1 this year, they’re off to a pretty good start, they should be in the playoff mix — but they have some pending UFAs, Frank. I wonder, is this going to be one of these things, you mentioned Shattenkirk. Are they just, even if they’re close, going to look at a few of these names and go, hey, maybe we can get some second- and third-round picks here and keep stocking up?

      Seravalli: Totally think that was part of the game plan when you take on a Jakub Vrana, for instance, and you have a Sammy Blais in your lineup. Kasperi Kapanen. They’re not gonna be sexy names, but no one was really looking last year at Ivan Barbashev, saying, this guy is gonna be such a sexy deadline add for a team in Vegas that goes on to win the Stanley Cup. You remember how big of a contributor he was. I think, in a perfect world, they’d also try to move one of the defensemen they have, at least one, we know that [Armstrong] was trying to do that last summer with Torey Krug and the no-trade. I think, at varying points, Colton Parayko’s name has been out there.

      Watch the full episode here:

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