We all knew this might be coming, but god damn was this brutal to wake up to on the morning of Mardi Gras. One of the last things I wanted to see before going and disappointing my mom in Soulard (for you non-St. Louisans that is where the 2nd biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the country happens, because we wanted to be known for something other than our murder rate) the entire day. From a logical standpoint, the fact that we got a 1st round pick in exchange for a guy that *checks notes* has 20 points in 41 games this year and is a -24 on the year is some ultimate fleecing by Doug Armstrong in my opinion. From an emotional standpoint, Ryan O’reilly is the guy 30 years from now when I’m telling vulgar jokes to my grandkids that I’ll say “that’s the guy who brought STL it’s first Stanley Cup”. When this phone call happened it took the Blues from the little guy who makes the playoffs every year to not get a parade, to being in talks as cup contenders the last 4 years. And obviously, winning our first.
What makes this even more of a metaphorical cup check is just last season NHL media were all saying the 2nd round playoff matchup between us and Colorado was essentially the Stanley Cup, whoever won that series was going to win it all which Colorado might have proved right by proceeding to pee pee whack the Oilers in 4 games and dominating Tampa in the final. 5.6 seconds away from going to OT and a chance at a game 7 where who knows what happens. Hell if Kadri isn’t a piece of shit hurting Binnington in game 3 of that series it looked like the Blues would have won the series considering Ville Husso was swiss cheese the entire playoffs. Ryan FUCKING O’reilly is the epitome of an athlete that came to STL and embraced the city as his own even though he’s literally from a different country. When the Blues were completely soiling themselves the first half of that 2018-2019 season, O’Reilly was the one guy on the team that made you believe that team could really do something. And do something they fucking did. I’ve heard stories from people I know who have ran into him at bars in STL and apparently he’s an absolute beauty that will treat you as if he’s one of your buddies at the bar. The guy was captain of the Blues coming off a season where he won a Cup, the Selke, and Conn Smythe, and carried no ego with him with fans. While some fourth liners in town I’ve heard aren’t exactly sweethearts if you try talking to them (not naming any names). He was everything you wanted as a captain for your hockey team and more. He even was an incredible actor in local TV commercials, which now just feel weird still seeing them on TV.
Unfortunately this trade really nails it home that the era of the core that won us a Stanley Cup is ending. The NHL is now a skill-first extremely fast league, and the fact of the matter is the roster that the Blues had for this year A) wasn’t physical enough to beat down teams like the 2019 cup-winning team and B) isn’t fast enough to keep up with teams like Colorado, Carolina, etc. As a Blues fan the next few months will probably stink out loud, but this isn’t a franchise that will tolerate being as competent as a wheelchair with pedals like that embarrassment of a franchise is up in Chicago. Armstrong just opened up over $10 million in cap space going into this summer, we have three 1st round draft picks, prospect Zachary Bolduc has 38 goals in 48 games in junior, and the tandem of Jordan Kyrou/Robert Thomas is only going to get better. We aren’t looking at a multi-year rebuild, but the next few months will be brutal considering we just got boat raced by the OTTAWA SENATORS.
Regardless of how difficult the next few months and potentially next season will be, it was all worth it thanks to our king (who unfortunately is destined to lose in the first round because, Toronto.)
Also-I would be 0% shocked if the Blues re-signed ROR this summer which would be hilarious.