Though many fans will contest this year’s non-moves as a terrible decision because of the amount of UFAs the team is currently looking at resigning over the next couple of seasons, it was not surprising to say the least. It was also not a bad move for the team to stay put through this year’s trade deadline because of injuries and salary issues. However, there have been some historically poor moves made by the team, as well as some great ones over the 49-plus years the team has been in existence. Here we take a look at the best and worst trade deadline deals by the St. Louis Blues.
Photos: Behind the scenes with the STL Blues
NOTE: These lists only include deals made around the trade deadline (from mid-December to mid-March)
The 5 Worst Deals
Honorable Mention: 3/5/1991: F Geoff Courtnall, D Robert Dirk, F Sergio Momesso, F Cliff Ronning & a 5th round pick (#110 Brian Loney) to the Vancouver Canucks for Garth Butcher & Dan Quinn:
Though most of the players involved weren’t of the highest caliber, the fact that the Blues gave up so much, including a firecracker in Geoff Courtnall, for an ironclad defenseman and a depth player was baffling at the time. Cliff Ronning was another notable name involved in this trade, and caused the Blues to have a slight dip in overall production after he left. He was most notably missed in the playoffs, where he was a .683 point-per-game player. However, the Blues ended up reclaiming Courtnall years later and gained many more great games out of him without losing too much else.
5. 3/13/2001: F Craig Conroy & a 7th round pick (#220, David Moss) to the Calgary Flames for F Cory Stillman:
Though this trade did kind of work out well for both teams involved, giving up such a pertinent piece of the team’s offense was detrimental at the time. When this trade took place it sent a consistent 25-point (plus) scorer to the Blues (Stillman), where he experienced even better years. However, Conroy never scored less that 45-points with the Flames and continued to be relevant into the late 2000s while Stillman only spent 2-years with the Blues before shipping out to Tampa, and leaving a gap in the team’s offense.
4. 2/26/2008: D Bryce Salvador to the New Jersey Devils for F Cam Janssen:
In late February of 2008 the Blues were in a limbo from a rebuild that occurred post 04-05 NHL lockout. Though the Blues gained a much needed hometown tough guy in Janssen, they gave up a top-tier defensemen who successfully stayed in the league until last season (he officially retired on 9/2/15). Salvador was even the captain of the Devils just a year after they lost in the Stanley Cup finals in 2011-12. Janssen is still loved around the area for his meat fists of fury, but that never really translated to scoring success (on the ice at least).
3. 2/28/2014: G Jaroslav Halak, F Chris Stewart, F William Carrier (prospect), 1st round pick (F Jack Roslovic), & 2016 3rd round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for G Ryan Miller & F Steve Ott:
This deal is the worst in recent history because of the way it panned out. Most fans were all for it when it went down, as Halak had injury and attitude issues and wasn’t very consistent overall. Also, Chris Stewart was selfish and only played well in contract years, so losing him wasn’t the worst. However, this deal resulted in a wildly unreliably team atmosphere due to Miller’s shock in being dealt to St. Louis from Buffalo. His contract left a hole in the team moving forward, he was ineffective down the stretch and into the playoffs, and certainly has left a bad taste in Doug Armstrong (and every fan’s) mouths ever since. The fact that Steve Ott was resigned to such a large deal for his role (2 years, 5.2M) just makes this trade look even worse.
2. 2/1/1986: D Terry Johnson, F Joe Mullen, D Rik Wilson to the Calgary Flames for F Eddy Beers, D Charles Bourgeois, & F Gino Cavallini:
Though this trade originally made some sense when it occurred, it was the prolific career of Joe Mullen after he left the Blues that ranks it so high on this list (1,062 GP, 502G, 561A, 1,063P, plus-163). Gino Cavallini was not the 2-way forward Mullen was, and Bourgeois didn’t make up for the toughness that was lost with the departure of Wilson, though he did help fill the void left in 2-way play from Johnson.
1. 2/7/1992: F Adam Oates to the Boston Bruins for F Craig Janney & F Stephane Quintal:
Though Janney did have a few decent years with the Blues before an inter-team skirmish (if you’d like to call it that) sent him on his way a few years’ later, he was not an ideal replacement for Oates. The ‘send one scorer away to make cap space and gain depth’ move has been done to death by the Blues, not just around the trade deadline, but in general. It doesn’t usually work out because often the team has enough depth and needs those 40/50-plus point guys who can consistently contribute to gain traction in the postseason. Oates went on to Boston where he never failed to gain 50-points in a full year, and even eclipsed the 100-point plateau twice (92-93: 142P, 93-94: 112P). Quintal didn’t ever reach above 15-points while with the Note, and Janney was able to notch a couple high quality seasons (92-93: 106P, 93-94: 84P) before plummeting in point totals for years until regaining some of his old form (he never reached above 50-points in a season again) elsewhere.
The 5 Best Deals
5. 2/18/2011: D Eric Brewer to the Tampa Bay Lightning for 3rd round pick (#87: G Jordan Binnington):Though this trade has yet to pan out in the Blues favor it still ranks on the best deals list because of what the team was able to rid themselves of. Brewer was a constant liability on the back end and regularly helped the other team win games despite his best efforts to play for the Blues. He’s a career minus-99 and has only managed to score 271-points over 1,009 games. Not to mention getting rid of him allowed David Backes to take the ‘C’ and begin to right the ship.
4. 2/19/2011: D Erik Johnson, F Jay McClement, & 2011 1st round pick (#11: Duncan Siemens) to the Colorado Avalanche for D Kevin Shattenkirk & F Chris Stewart:
This trade caused quite a stir around the St. Louis area when it went down. The fact that the Blues gained a more prolific scorer (Stewart) and a solid offensive defenseman (Shatty, who still leads the team in points by a d-man) for a questionable 1st overall pick (Johnson), and a depth grinder (McClement) make this a great deadline move. Add in the #11 overall pick from 2011 (Siemens) who has only managed to crack an NHL roster for 1 game and you see why this deal was so great for the club.
3. 12/21/1983: F Perry Turnbull to the Montreal Canadiens for D Gilbert Delorme, F Greg Paslawski, & Doug Wickenheiser:
Though this trade doesn’t seem as big as the Shattenkirk/Stewart one, it had big implications at the time it was made. Turnbull was a highly touted Blues draft pick that had success with the team up until this trade which is why it made waves, but the organization was able to bring in 3 tough guys in the exchange. With Delorme playing a stay at home, shut down D-game, and Paslawski giving a more consistent 2-way effort the Blues came out ahead. That doesn’t even add in Wickenheiser’s exceptional 2-way play either, and who could ever forget the epic ‘Monday Night Miracle’ win, finished off by Wick’s goal?
2. 12/11/1987: 2nd round pick (#41: Wade Bartley) to the Washington Capitals for D Paul Cavallini:
This was about as lopsided as trades can get when it happened. The Blues were able to acquire a stout blue-liner who would become a cornerstone of the team’s defense for years to come, and really didn’t give up anything in exchange (170 points, plus-102 in 6 seasons with the Blues). The 2nd round pick turned in to a guy who would never crack an NHL roster, which sounds like a pretty big win for the Note club.
1. 3/7/1988: D Rob Ramage & G Rick Wamsley to the Calgary Flames for F Steve Bozek & F Brett Hull:
Not much is needed to be said about this trade. Though Bozek only played 1 season with the Blues and was largely ineffective (14 total GP, 2P), the addition of Hull ushered in a new era in St. Louis. He was able to keep the team heading in the right direction despite losing their best defenseman in Ramage, and allowed a smooth transition to take place as other young up-and-comers were able to rally behind Hully. Though the end of Hull’s era left something to be desired because fans really wanted him to bring us a Cup, the fact that the ‘Golden One’ brought so many points to St. Louis (731 GP w/ STL, 922P, 1.26PPG avg.) allowed the team to flourish for years to come.
There you have it. Like it or hate it these are the most prominent deals the Blues organization has made around the trade deadline. Hopefully this year’s non-moves will lead to a healthy roster come playoffs that can finally crack through the first round and beyond.
Like what you’ve just read? Follow me on Twitter: @pep30