The St. Louis Blues have announced that they have given GM Doug Armstrong a new four-year extension. Armstrong’s new deal also includes a team option for a fifth year.
Armstrong has been with the Blues for 10 seasons, but has only been the general manager since 2010. During his time as the team’s GM, the Blues have made six consecutive playoff appearances.
This decision is the right one for the Blues.
Some fans will point out some of the bad contracts Armstrong has awarded (see: Jori Lehtera), but it’s worth noting that none of them have had to be bought out. Under Armstrong, the Blues are the only team since 2010 (excluding the Golden Knights) who haven’t used a buyout. There have been 105 buyouts around the NHL during that time.
So, while some of Armstrong’s contracts haven’t been ideal, all it takes is a quick glance around the NHL to see that other teams are in far worse predicaments.
Meanwhile, Armstrong has done a steady job keeping the Blues in a position to compete without sacrificing the future. The Ryan Miller trade was a bit misguided, but other moves have improved the Blues without giving up too many costly assets (Brayden Schenn). In the case of Kevin Shattenkirk, Armstrong likely did the best he could to get the most out of Shattenkirk while also receiving some sort of return.
The Blues entered the holiday break in sole possession of first place, but things may be even more exciting down on the farm. If you haven’t been following Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas or Klim Kostin, now would be a good time to get familiar with their names.
Ultimately, Armstrong is tasked with putting the Blues in a position to win the Stanley Cup. They haven’t won the ultimate prize, but they have been in a position to do so.