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Blues Make 3 Deals on Deadline Day

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Blues GM Doug Armstrong was busy Monday, making three separate trades before the NHL’s 2 p.m. CT deadline.

First, Armstrong acquired defenseman Zbynek Michalek and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2015 from the Arizona Coyotes. In exchange, the Blues sent 2014 second-round draft pick Maxim Letunov to the Coyotes.

Michalek was been out with an upper-body injury since Feb. 14, but he will arrive in St. Louis to skate on Tuesday.

“Michalek was a guy we had a lot of interest in,” Armstrong said. “We were close to getting a deal done before his injury, so that slowed things down. We got to a decision point last night that we were going to assume some risk on an injured player. He’s a guy that can give us minutes and he’s a guy that is comfortable defending against the other team’s best players.”

Michalek, 32, ranks 12th in the NHL with 130 blocked shots in 53 games this season. In his 11-year NHL career, Michalek has played in 696 games, recording 38 goals, 129 assists (167 points) and a -18 rating.

Next, Armstrong sent defenseman Ian Cole to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and a 2016 seventh-round draft pick. Bortuzzo, 25, has played in 38 games for the Penguins this season, recording six points (two goals, four assists) and 68 penalty minutes. At 6-foot-4, Bortuzzo has appeared in four seasons, accumulating 20 points and 171 penalty minutes in 113 regular season games.

“Bortuzzo is another right shot guy that brings us a physical element on the back end,” Armstrong said. “Ian (Cole) was a great pro here. This was a win-win for all the parties involved.”

Finally, the Blues acquired forward Olli Jokinen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2016.

Jokinen, 36, has played in 17 NHL seasons and ranks eighth among active players with 1,223 career regular season games and has recorded 747 points (320 goals, 427 assists). The Kuopio, Finland native was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round (third overall) in 1997.

“When a top nine player gets injured, we didn’t really have a player that could slide up and play consistently there,” Armstrong said. “Olli wanted to go to a team that he felt had a chance to win. He wants to win a Stanley Cup, and he’s willing to take whatever role - he’s 100 percent committed to doing whatever he can do to be a great teammate.

“We weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel today,” Armstrong added. “We were just trying to add some finishing touches.”

Zbynek Michalek
Conditional 3rd Rd Pick
Maxim Letunov
Robert Bortuzzo
2016 7th Rd Pick
Ian Cole
Olli Jokinen Joakim Lindstrom
Conditional 6th Rd Pick
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