The St. Louis Blues knew they had to alter their core if they were going to push further into the post-season. After a third straight elimination in the first round, they made a deal in the form of a good old-fashioned “hockey trade.”
The Blues traded forward T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Troy Brouwer, goalie prospect Phoenix Copley and a third round pick for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
“Hockey trades are hard to make in this League. You don’t see many of them,” general manager Doug Armstrong said. “This is a team that we have some younger players that I would like to see take a bigger role moving forward. I think that opens up a little bit of space for that. It brings in a different style of player. Obviously we haven’t had the success that we’ve wanted to have, and this isn’t a reflection of one player, but you have to make adjustments.”
Oshie’s name had been batted around for weeks now and he found himself at the core of many trade rumours, so it has to be a relief to have something done.
“I thought something would possibly happen at the draft,” Oshie said. “After a couple of days, I just figured that I’d be staying in St. Louis. I got a call from Armstrong today, and my initial reaction was a little bit of shock, even though that I knew it was a possibility. Then after a couple of minutes, I started getting excited to go onto the next chapter of my career.”
The Blues have been dynamic in terms of the regular season, but they’ve tumbled in the playoffs and have been looking for a way out of the spiral.
The knock on Oshie has been that he’s prone to long periods of silence during the post-season, but he was easily the most useful player the Blues could’ve put up in terms of a trade. In 72 games last season, he had 55 points and finished a plus-17. But in six playoff games, he only registered one goal for a total of two points with a minus-three rating.
The good news for the Capitals is that they now have Justin Williams in the fold, so that might balance things out.
In Brouwer, the Blues get a tough “sandpaper” player capable of needling the opposition. He had 43 points in 82 games last season, scoring three game-winners. In the playoffs, he registered just three assists and was also a minus-three in 14 games.
The Blues may not be done after this deal, either. Armstrong says that he’s still looking for some depth players, even as his forward lines are relatively set.
“We’re still active and maybe looking to add another piece or two, but they’re not at the higher level,” he said. “It would just be filling out our roster…This certainly solidifies our group of nine forwards.”