Could the St. Louis Blues deal for Ryan Miller? Will they shop winger Chris Stewart? Read on for the latest Blues clues.
STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford touched on the rumors linking the Blues to Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. He noted GM Doug Armstrong will have to decide if he’ll pursue an upgrade at the trade deadline or stick with their current tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. He believes one reason why nothing happened leading up to the Olympic break was concern about acquiring a player who subsequently gets hurt in the Olympics. Rutherford claims the Blues have interest in Miller but doesn’t know if they have the package the Sabres want in return.
Jeff Gordon reports Blues winger Chris Stewart remains in the rumor mill, having been linked to the NY Rangers and Ottawa Senators. One reason the Blues could afford to move Stewart is their depth on the wings. Another is shedding the $4.2 million he’s owed for next season, freeing up room to re-sign other key players. Gordon suggests Stewart could be a more affordable option for clubs seeking scoring depth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the reasons why the Blues are linked to Miller. He could significantly bolster their chances to win the Stanley Cup this season. The problem, however, is fitting the remainder of his salary within their own limited cap space, plus ponying up the big return the Sabres seek. It’s believed they want at least a first round pick and a top prospect as part of the return. You can bet they’ll be eyeballing one of the Blues good young players. I doubt they’ll have interest in Stewart as part of the package. There’s also no guarantee Miller won’t test the UFA market.
What must be remembered is the Blues’ window to win a championship has just opened. They’re a strong young team with almost all their key players under contract beyond this season and over $23 million in projected cap space for next season. They’ll be a contender for the next several seasons, and could sign Miller as a UFA if they’re so inclined this summer. Time is on their side. It would be best if they stand pat with their current goalies. If it doesn’t pan out, they can pursue an upgrade in the off-season.
As for Stewart, he would certainly be a more affordable option than Thomas Vanek or Mike Cammalleri both in salary and return. He’s a streaky scorer but brings a physical edge to his game. Here’s a thought: Stewart to the Devils for Martin Brodeur if the latter asks to be dealt by the trade deadline. Hey, no worse than some trade suggestions I’ve seen.