OTTAWA - The NHL Trade Deadline came and went quietly for the St. Louis Blues.
General Manager Doug Armstrong and his hockey operations staff remained in St. Louis throughout the weekend to evaluate and work on potential deals, but none came to fruition before Monday's 2 p.m. CT deadline.
The only deal the Blues did make was Saturday morning, trading goalie prospect Niklas Lundstrom and a fifth-round pick to the Oilers for goalie Anders Nilsson, who served as the back up to Jake Allen in Sunday's 5-2 win against Carolina.
“Going in, we were hoping to stay involved in a few things," Armstrong said. "We had set a value to the players we were looking to acquire but thought the asking price got to where we weren’t comfortable. This year, we weren’t comfortable giving up a first or second-round pick for a rental player... so we just sat this one out.
“I didn’t see a player that was going to fit into our (forward) group of nine when we’re 100 percent healthy,” Armstrong added. “So, that kept us out of doing some things.”
Armstrong said earlier this week that economics and injuries would make trades difficult this time around.
“As a manager, you're always saying ‘this player would be a good fit for us’, and you can put him in there and make it work,” Armstrong said. “But right now, it’s more of a math equation than anything to make the salaries work in our system,” Armstrong said.
In addition to being up against the cap, the Blues are currently playing without injured players Alexander Steen, Jori Lehtera, Steve Ott and Brian Elliott. Getting those players healthy, Armstrong has said, would be like adding players at the deadline.
Despite not making any moves Monday, Armstrong said he still thinks his team is a legitimate contender.
“I love the resilience of this group,” Armstrong said. “I’m really excited about getting Steen back in there, Lehtera back in there, Elliott back in there… the list can go on and on. We’ve got a little scar tissue this year, a little battle-tested. The great thing is, we have a very good record but we’re in the best division in hockey bar none.
“There’s nothing easy in the NHL anymore.”