Once upon a time, Doug Armstrong was considered one of the best general managers in the NHL. He pulled off some truly remarkable deals for the St. Louis Blues (Erik Johnson), seemingly fleecing other GMs with reckless abandon. Then, as time wore on, the luster started to fade. Soon, bloated contracts became the norm (Jori Lehtera) while major trades (Ryan Miller) failed to pan out.
Following the 2016-17 season, Armstrong’s seat was as hot as its ever been with the Blues. He needed to make some waves this summer or risk losing his credibility entirely.
A couple trades and draft picks later, the Blues prepare to enter 2017-18 with a few new interesting pieces. Lehtera is no longer being overpaid by the Blues. Brayden Schenn enters with a fairly impressive recent record of lighting the lamp. Ryan Reaves exits, but the Blues used his trade to make one of their most exciting draft picks in years – Klim Kostin.
Were Armstrong’s moves enough to restore your faith?
It’s way too early to ask that kind of question based only on the draft picks, but it may be fair to ask as it seemed Armstrong’s time in St. Louis could have been approaching an ugly end.
He was able to move Lehtera which is pretty impressive, but at the same time he was the one responsible for the Lehtera mess in the first place. The Reaves move might be more impressive depending on how Kostin pans out, but so far things look positive.
No NHL GM has a clean record. Armstrong, like every other GM, is going to make mistakes. Unfortunately, many of Armstrong’s mistakes centered around large contracts which were then difficult to move. He has done a lot to redeem his immediate track record, but the jury should still remain out until the Blues finally achieve their ultimate goal.