Blues add depth, deal for Jokinen, Michalek, Bortuzzo
Mar. 03, 2015
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Blues made three deals before the trade deadline, none of them game-changers.
That was a big shift from the previous two seasons, when they acquired goalie Ryan Miller and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in hopes of mounting a deep playoff push.
General manager Doug Armstrong wasn't about to criticize high asking prices at Monday's deadline.
Miller cost St. Louis two regulars, a top prospect, a first-round draft pick and conditional third-round pick, and wasn't enough of an upgrade to get the Blues past the first round of the playoffs last spring.
"What I've learned from my experience is if you live in a glass house, you're better off not throwing stones," Armstrong said in a conference call. "My experience is if you're not giving them up, you think it's a lot.
"I have a hard time managing one team, I'm not going to try and manage 29 others."
Armstrong said rugged defenseman Robert Bortuzzo would be plugged into the lineup at Philadelphia on Thursday.
The Blues need help defensively until All-Star Kevin Shattenkirk returns from abdominal surgery, especially a player with a right-handed shot.
But Bortuzzo, fellow defenseman Zbynek Michalek and forward Olli Jokinen represent depth more than a splash, and the prices weren't high.
Armstrong said he's very happy with his four forward lines, especially with recent improvements by Patrik Berglund, but envisions Jokinen as a player who can step in easily.
"I really got the sense he's excited," Armstrong said. "He hasn't played in many playoff games. He wants to play deep, he wants to win a Stanley Cup."
The 32-year-old Michalek was acquired along with a conditional third-round draft pick from the Arizona Coyotes for 19-year-old prospect Maxim Letunov, a second-round pick last year. Michalek also is out, missing two weeks with a concussion, but the Blues believe he'll be ready soon.
If Michalek plays for St. Louis, the Coyotes get the draft pick back. In 53 games, he has two goals and six assists and is among the top shot blockers with 130.
Armstrong said Michalek is scheduled to skate in St. Louis on Tuesday.
"We've got the full medical file," Armstrong said. "He's trending in really a positive way."
Shattenkirk has been out a month with an abdominal injury and has been skating, but not with the team. He had surgery in Philadelphia and will visit the surgeon this week.
"He's not a player we circled that will be playing in the near future," Armstrong said.
The Blues sent defenseman Ian Cole, a former first-round pick, to Pittsburgh for the 25-year-old Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick in the 2016 draft. Both players have been healthy scratches often this season.
The 26-year-old Cole has four goals and five assists in 54 games and his plus-16 ranked third on the team, and gives the Penguins a skill element on the back line.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Bortuzzo has two goals and four assists in 38 games with Pittsburgh and has been a physical presence. His 68 penalty minutes ranked second on the Penguins.
"I think we want to give the opposition's good players a hard time," Armstrong said, adding Bortuzzo adds an element of "plain nasty."
The 36-year-old Jokinen came from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Joakim Lindstrom and a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2016.
Jokinen is making his third stop this season after 48 games with Nashville and six with Toronto, and the Blues are his 10th team in 17 seasons. He has three goals, four assists and 28 penalty minutes.
Lindstrom had three goals and three assists in 34 games with St. Louis and had recently lost his spot to Dimitrij Jaskin.
Jokinen is eighth among active players with 1,223 regular-season games and his 747 points are 20th-best. He's appeared in six postseason games.