By now you’ve heard that the Blues made some much-needed cap room by trading goalie Jake Allen to Les Habitants for a pair of draft picks in this year’s NHL draft.
Allen’s departure means Ville Husso will finally get an extended time as Jordan Binnington’s backup. It also means the Blues won’t be spending $8 million + on the goalie position.
By dealing Allen, the Blues will save more than $4 million against the salary cap. They need every penny to afford Alex Pietrangelo’s services next year and the next several years. Not just Jake Allen will be moved from the team. Allen was seemingly the easiest player to move, though. Goalies with the experience of Allen are usually in demand.
You know what’s not as in demand? Twilight-of-their-career wingers making $5+ million but playing 4th line minutes. Yes, that’s Alex Steen if you weren’t sure. And that’s not to denigrate Steen – all the respect in the world for what he brings. The Blues just really need the cap room.
There are other candidates for trades, of course. Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko, and Carl Gunnarsson have been speculated. Parayko would have a LOT of interest from other teams, but the Blues consider him one of the cornerstones of the future. And it’s likely the Blues won’t want to bail on Schwartz because he is an offensive engine. He scores goals, creates plays and generally energizes whatever line he’s on.
The Allen trade happened quicker than I expected. I thought the wheeling and dealing wouldn’t begin until after the playoffs concluded. But it’s good to get the roster churn going. The sooner the Blues can figure out the Pietrangelo situation, the sooner they can nail down the rest of the roster for 2020-2021.
It’s exciting that the Blues get a 3rd round pick in the Allen deal. The prospect cupboard needs stocking. If you’re not drafting in the top 5 picks each year, you have to rack up picks in the other rounds and hope some become NHL regulars. Before the draft begins, the Blues might have more picks added to their collection, depending on who else gets traded.