St. St. Louis Blues is one of those teams that is very hard to grade in NHL free agency, because it didn’t really happen do a lot of things, After winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 2019, the sledding has been tough in Missouri; They have won only one round since then, and failed to make the playoffs entirely in the 2022–23 season after a 37-win, 81-point performance.
A retool could certainly be in store for a Blues team that may have left its best days behind with this core. scheduled tribe. Louis acquired Jacob Vrana from the Detroit Red Wings and claimed off waivers on Kasperi Kapanen long before free agency opened, but GM Doug Armstrong made some other good moves this summer. This included trading for Kevin Hayes, reuniting with a member of the Stanley Cup team in Oscar Sundquist, and adding some depth in Mackenzie McEachern and Alexey Toropchenko.
Still, none of these transactions move the needle much when the 2023-24 season begins, and it’s hard to imagine this iteration of the Blues will return to a playoff spot next season.
acquired Kevin Hayes
After several days of negotiations, the Blues acquired Kevin Hayes from the Philadelphia Flyers in late June. It was a great move for Armstrong and St. Louis; The team gave up just a sixth-round pick in the following year’s draft, and the Flyers retained half of his salary in the deal. Hayes signed a seven-year, $50 million contract in the summer of 2019, with three years remaining on his contract.
Hayes should bring veteran leadership to Missouri next season, but despite being 31, he won’t hold back offensively. He had his best season as a Flyer last year, recording 18 goals and 54 points. He is a former 25-goal scorer and should be moving the needle slotting at 3C for the Blues over the next few seasons.
Stanley Cup champions reunite with Oscar Sundquist
After winning the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, Oscar Sundquist played three more seasons with the team before he was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in 2022 and then to the Minnesota Wild a year later. But in free agency, he was brought back on a team-friendly one-year, $775,000 deal.
Sundquist has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, unable to play more than 57 games in any season after a career-best 31 points in 74 games in 2018–19. He added nine points in 25 postseason contests as the Blues ended one of the longest Stanley Cup droughts in the sport. He should be slotted in the bottom-six on a team he is very familiar with.
McEachern, Toropchenko signed depth forwards
Other than adding Hayes and Sundquist, there wasn’t much going on with the Saints. Louis blues this offseason, mainly due to a lack of caps. But Armstrong brought in some additional depth by signing two-year deals with Mackenzie McEachern and Alexey Toropchenko; McEachern has an average annual value of $775,000, and Toropchenko will pay him $1.25 million per year.
McEachern has played most of his career in the American Hockey League and has never scored more than 10 points at the NHL level. There is a very good chance that he may not make the opening night roster. Toropchenko, on the other hand, adds some sparkle to the bottom six and is still relatively young at 24. He scored 19 points in 69 NHL games last year, and could increase those numbers with more ice time. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen, but former no. The 113th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft is poised to become an everyday player at the sport’s highest level.
Final Grade: C+
scheduled tribe. St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said at the NHL trade deadline that the team would not be active in free agency, so it’s understandable that not much has been done this summer. Part of this is due to the lack of salary range; The team doesn’t have a lot of money to work with. Still, it’s hard to give the Blues a good grade when they can only feature Kevin Hayes and a few depth forwards for the summer.
It’s looking more and more like the Blues will be ready to regroup, at least for the short-term future, but a few missed postseasons will be tolerated after a Stanley Cup bliss just four years ago. scheduled tribe. St. Louis still has some great young players, but it will likely be a tough time before this franchise is ready to compete again for the sport’s highest prize.