Could the recent injury news from the St. Louis Blues could have a direct effect on the Boston Bruins and the NHL trade market?
In the shadow of the Winter Classic dominating the NHL news cycle this past Sunday and Monday, the St. Louis Blues pulled a perfect news dump on Monday morning. The team announced that center Ryan O’Reilly would be out a minimum of six weeks with a broken foot, and that Vladimir Tarasenko would miss at least four weeks with a hand injury.
#stlblues announce potential trade chips Ryan O’Reilly (broken foot) and Vladimir Tarasenko (hand injury) will be out for a while.
O’Reilly out a minimum of 6 weeks, Tarasenko out for 4 weeks.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 2, 2023
The Blues have been keeping a close eye on the Boston Bruins games at TD Garden over the past month. This puck scribe has seen one of the Blues’ senior advisors to general manager Doug Armstrong at three of the four games I covered for Boston Hockey Now in person in December. Scott Mellanby was in the TD Garden Scout’s row for three games and for two of those games he was joined by a Blues scout. Early Tuesday evening, I decided to do some digging in light of the O’Reilly and Tarasenko injury news. A trusted NHL source confirmed to BHN, that the Blues were indeed scouting the Bruins, but that is as far as he could comment on the matter.
With former Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug the already banged up Blues struggling this season, both Tarasenko and and O’Reilly had become constants on the NHL trade rumor mill. Both players are on expiring contracts there’s been plenty of speculation that the Blues would either trade one or both of O’Reilly and Tarasenko to free up salary cap space. On Monday though, Armstrong, even with the injury news on both of those star players, wasn’t going into sell mode just yet.
“I think when you work in pro sports, you don’t get down in situations like this,” the St. Louis Blues GM told the media via Zoom. “I’m really excited about the opportunity. … I remember my first year, I think it was 08-09, that team was ravaged with injuries and they went on a great heater and they made the playoffs and we lost to Vancouver, but it was the sign of a team that came together that did all the little things well, playing great in front of their goalie, their goalie played good. They didn’t give up a lot of chances and you have a lot of fun when you’re playing like that. And that’s what we have to do. We have to get joy back into being a hard working team that defends first and foremost and plays for the other guys. And if we do that, I think we can surprise people. If we don’t do that. It’s going to be a long second half of the season.”
So if the Blues are looking at the Bruins, who could they be targeting?
It’s no secret on the NHL trade wire that Bruins forward Craig Smith and Providence Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly are available on the NHL trade market. The Blues are likely looking for more offense right now so given that Smith hasn’t scored a goal in his last 17 games, they’re likely not looking at him. As one NHL scout (not with the Blues), pointed out to BHN, the fact that they’s been scouting the Boston roster could mean that they’re looking a defenseman. Stressing that it was pure speculation, this scout suggested Matt Grzelcyk given he could alleviate some of what’s lost offensively with Krug out.
For now any NHL trade speculation connecting the Blues and Bruins is just that, speculation. However, given it appears Armstrong is still in buy mode on the NHL trade market and a source confirmed to Off The Record recently that Bruins GM Don Sweeney is ‘All in’ when it comes to winning another Stanley Cup for Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, this is worth keeping tabs on.