Trade outlook is murky for Blues
Nine days away from the NHL’s trading deadline, the deal-making is under way, and it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t bashful. One day after Pittsburgh acquired Dallas captain Brenden Morrow, and then won its 12th consecutive game, the Penguins traded Monday for rugged San Jose defenseman Douglas Murray. Morrow and Murray aren’t considered prime pieces to winning a Stanley Cup, but what Pittsburgh is doing, and what the Blues hoped to be addressing at this point in the year, is filling in holes in preparation for a long playoff run. Instead, the needs in St. Louis are a bit more complicated. The Blues remain in the playoff picture, nestled in the No. 7 seed at the moment. They went 1-2 on their recent road trip but might have outplayed their opponents in both losses. In those two games, the offense combined for 72 shots on goal but ran into red-hot goaltending in Vancouver’s Cory Schneider and Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, and despite rallying from deficits of 3-0 and 2-0, respectively, they lost both by one goal. Unless Blues general manager Doug Armstrong is looking for a make-over, it’s doubtful that with the team’s forwards now 100 percent healthy he would tinker with that group, whether it be swapping personnel or trading from the team’s strength. Andy McDonald, 35, is the Blues’ most notable unrestricted free agent-to-be, but he isn’t expected to be moved because of his value to a playoff push. Chris Stewart has been mentioned as trade bait, but with 15 goals and 29 points in 31 games, the pending restricted free agent would seem to fit in the Blues’ plans unless they have concerns about the price it could take to re-sign the right winger. Armstrong’s focus since last summer has been improving the left side of the Blues’ defense, and if he were willing to trade from his forwards to do so, a deal would have been brokered long ago.
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