St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong met with the media today to discuss the quiet trade deadline, and eventually got to the subject of Chris Kreider. The Blues had showed interest in the New York Rangers winger, but Armstrong explained that they really couldn’t go down that path once they learned that Vladimir Tarasenko would be back this season:
The interest level waned quite honestly when we knew Vladdy was coming back. In a different world if I was managing the St. Louis Blues in the late-90s, yeah we would have been really interested. It’s only the owner’s money and I wouldn’t care about it.
But there’s a salary cap situation that is in place now. Knowing that to bring Krieder in knowing Vladdy is coming back we would have had to remove X amount of millions of dollars of contract to do that. We weren’t willing to go deep into our core group, upsetting the chemistry that we had for a potential short-term thing.
Armstrong would go on to explain that he’s not surprised Kreider would eventually sign a seven-year, $45.5MM to stay in New York. The speedy winger will be a core piece to build around for the Rangers as they look to jump into their next real competitive window.
For the Blues, Tarasenko’s return would have a huge impact on the team’s chances at defending their Stanley Cup championship. Armstrong is hoping the Russian star will be back for more than three or four games before the start of the playoffs, even saying “closer to twenty [games] than three, I’d be happy.”
The Blues were one of the only teams that were quiet at the deadline, and the executive explained that a big factor in that was not wanting to upset the chemistry the team has built. A “room full of champions” now, St. Louis is in first place in the Western Conference with a 36-17-10 record. While Kreider may have given them another weapon, they are already good enough to compete and contend for another title.