The NHL Trade Deadline came and went Monday at 2 p.m. without any moves from the St. Louis Blues.
The fact that General Manager Doug Armstrong stood pat might surprise some around the hockey world. After a tough stretch in March, the Blues found themselves outside of the playoff picture until Saturday and with several key unrestricted free agents, including Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak and Mike Hoffman.
But three consecutive wins - including a statement 9-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Friday night at Enterprise Center - likely changed Armstrong's approach to the deadline.
"The way the team has played the last few games, we're in a playoff spot right now," Armstrong told stlouisblues.com. "It's been a tumultuous year from start to finish, from starting late with COVID and all those things. Right now, we're in a playoff spot and there didn't seem to be the proper pieces to add to this team and I didn't see any reason not to keep the team together.
Video: Armstrong meets media after the trade deadline
"But we haven't played our best hockey on a consistent basis," Armstrong added. "One of the things we talked about (in a previous press conference) was maybe we'll get healthy at the right time and get on a roll. Maybe the last three games are an indication of that. When we got (Vladimir) Tarasenko back, we got (Jaden) Schwartz back, and our goals sort of dried up. That shouldn't last with that caliber of players in our lineup when you add it to (Brayden) Schenn, (David) Perron and (Jordan) Kyrou and that whole group. The goal scoring should continue to pick up, and both goaltenders have played great the last two games. We're going to need everyone to push through in the last three or four weeks of the regular season. There's no guarantee we're going to get in. We have to focus every day like it's a life or death situation."
As of Monday, the Blues had a one-point lead on the Arizona Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the West division.