Noel Acciari will headline a rebuilt 4th line for the Blues
The Blues learned recently that sought-after winger Matthew Tkachuk was traded to the Florida Panthers. For fans, the news was the unwelcome cap to a so-far disappointing offseason.
The team began the offseason wondering what it would take to return heart-and-soul player David Perron, while also needing to shore up the blueline and explore trade opportunities for Vladimir Tarasenko. All this while pining after hometown guy Tkachuk, who’s the son of Keith Tkachuk, who played for the Blues for almost all of 9 seasons, retiring after the 2010 season.
Now, the dust has settled, and the on-paper 2022-23 Blues look like a weaker team. Here’s how we got here:
The Blues apparently will retain Tarasenko this season, not having received a trade offer to their liking. Perron accepted an offer from Detroit, and goalie Ville Husso’s negotiating rights were traded to Detroit during the Draft. To replace Husso, the Blues signed Thomas Greiss. Perron’s departure hasn’t been offset, but the team did re-sign Nick Leddy on defense.
To bolster the 4th line, which lost Toropchenko to injury, and Tyler Bozak and Dakota Joshua to free agency, the Blues signed Noel Acciari from the Florida Panthers. They also signed several players to two-way contracts, including Josh Leivo, Matthew Highmore and Michael Frk. All project to play with the Blues at some point.
The team on paper looks like this:
LW C RW
Saad O’Reilly Tarasenko
Buchnevich Thomas Kyrou
Neighbours Schenn Barbashev
Leivo Acciari Walker
Extras: Mikkola, Perunovich, Frik
The team is thinner at forward and in goal. They lost veteran savvy and scoring in Perron. They also lost their capable backup netminder in Husso. Greiss is a downgrade.
It’s disappointing the team wasn’t able to acquire Matthew Tkachuk. The package that Calgary obtained from Florida is nothing short of stunning, and not one the Blues could have easily matched. With the potential departure of Tarasenko, either in trade or when he reaches free agency, the Blues need to hang on to their young forwards and keep developing new ones like Neighbours.
So, I give this grade: C+
I note that the offseason isn’t over, and there may yet be moves made to improve the team or with an eye toward the future.