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Davidson Patient as Trade Deadline Looms

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
All eyes will be on Keith Tkachuk, who is in the final year of his contract with the Blues.
The trade deadline is fast approaching, but the Blues are in no hurry to make decisions.

In fact, Blues President John Davidson said Wednesday that any decisions regarding trades probably wouldn’t be made until March 4, the day of the deadline.

“We have three games left before (that) deadline. We have to take a real serious look at everything,” Davidson said in a conference call. “We know the job ahead of us to get in (the playoffs)…it’s going to be very difficult. But we want to make sure we send a message to our players and fans that we want to make the playoffs.”

And making the playoffs could mean keeping five-time All-Star Keith Tkachuk, one of the biggest names that could be on the trade block before Wednesday’s 2 p.m. deadline.

As of Feb. 25, the Blues were just five points out of the final playoff position in the Western Conference, making the decision of whether to become a buyer or seller a difficult one for Davidson and his management team, which includes Larry Pleau, Al MacInnis and Doug Armstrong.

Davidson said he’ll wait to see how the Blues perform in the next three games before making any decisions.

“When it comes down to crunch time, which is on trade deadline day, that’s when we’ll probably make a final decision,” he said. “Right now, we haven’t.”

In recent seasons under Davidson’s leadership, the Blues have made several trades to acquire prospects and draft picks. In 2007, the club traded Tkachuk to Atlanta and Bill Guerin to San Jose, getting draft picks that were later used to select Ian Cole, Brett Sonne and David Perron.

But this season, the cupboard is already stocked. T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and Perron play on the team’s current roster, while prospects such as Cole, Sonne, Alex Pietrangelo, Lars Eller, Aaron Palushaj and Philip McRae are still on the way.

 Trade Deadline
The 2009 NHL Trade Deadline is at 2 p.m. CT on March 4. Check frequently near the deadline for any trade news involving the St. Louis Blues.
John Davidson Talks Deadline
“We look at it this time around…we’re not quite as desperate in that respect,” said Davidson. “We have a lot of young, talented kids that belong to us or are already here, so we’re not as desperate as we have been in the past. We have a more open mind looking at this thing going into the deadline.”

Tkachuk, who resigned with the Blues after a brief stay in Atlanta, is one of the club’s veterans whose contract with the team runs out this season. All eyes will be focused on St. Louis as fans and media alike wait to see whether Tkachuk, 36, will remain in St. Louis to help with the playoff push or be dealt to a Stanley Cup contender.

“We’ve discussed some of that stuff,” Davidson said. “It’s more about Keith wants to win in St. Louis, Keith wants to be on a club that’s going to make the playoffs this season. Keith doesn’t even want to talk about (a trade).

“But there’s business involved, so his (agent) came in yesterday and we chatted. Both sides have a pretty good understanding of where we’re going and what we’re thinking about doing, even though a lot of it is still in the air regarding our club, how they play the next three games.”

Other veterans whose contracts run out this season include Dan Hinote, Manny Legace, Brad Winchester and Mike Weaver, but it’s Tkachuk who would top most team’s wish list when it comes to improving their club for a run at the Stanley Cup.

“We’re all on the same page right now, and if we decide to do something, we’ll do something that’s right for Keith and right for the Blues,” said Davidson. “If we decide not to, that just means we’re making the run for the playoffs.”
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