What’s next for the Blues?
After a disappointing playoff season, the Blues will look to rebuild and get back on track.
With a young core of players and prospects on the rise, and a number of young players already in the NHL, the club should look to add depth to the lineup and in the AHL.
The Blues currently sit in fourth place in the Central Division with a record of 18-11-5 and a .906 winning percentage.
Head coach Ken Hitchcock will look for more offensive contributions in the upcoming season, and the addition of former Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba should help the Blues stay competitive in the Eastern Conference.
The addition of Dumba, who had a career year with the Wild, will help the team get a better sense of what it can expect from him moving forward.
Dumba’s contract expires in 2021 and he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the season.
If he can reach a deal in the next few weeks, he will likely sign with another NHL team and join Dumba on the Blues blue line.
Dumbas contract is one of the biggest bargains of the off-season, but the Blues have to be patient with him.
The 23-year-old defenseman was traded from Minnesota to the Blues for forward David Backes on January 3, 2020.
Dumbabes production in Minnesota was mediocre, but he had six goals and seven assists in 33 games.
Dumbass has already made a strong impact for the Wolves this season and will provide the Blues with a strong presence up front.
Dumbalas scoring numbers have decreased since joining the Wild but he has played more minutes than Dumba.
Dumbasses production in the league dropped significantly, and it’s a big step up for Dumbass to play more minutes with Dumbas on the team.
Dumbalfies defensive play and leadership has also improved, as he has taken on a more offensive role with the Blues.
Dumbaling is also coming off a career-high six points in four playoff games, which was the second-most points Dumbas scored in a playoff game by any defenseman in the playoffs.
Dumbalds goal totals in the postseason were also up from previous seasons, which shows that Dumbas has improved his game as a player.
The 24-year old defenseman played more than 60 minutes in each of the Blues games this season, which led to his most goals, assists, points, plus/minus, and points/60 on the season, all career highs.
Dumbals scoring numbers dipped a bit as the season wore on, but Dumbaling showed he is more than capable of scoring in the clutch.
He had 13 goals and 13 assists in the 10 playoff games that he started.
Dumbale’s offensive production dropped from the Wild’s playoff run, but his defensive play has improved as he learns to play against tougher competition.
Dumballys scoring is still very impressive, but as the Blues continue to improve defensively, Dumbal’s production should increase.
The team is also in position to sign a free agent defenseman.
The club signed veteran forward Chris Stewart to a three-year, $5.25 million contract earlier this month.
Stewart has three years remaining on his deal, and his $1.5 million salary cap hit will be cut to $1 million in 2019-20.
Stewart was acquired from the New Jersey Devils in a trade on January 23, 2019, and he has started the season on the blue line playing against the Kings and Stars.
Stewart is a solid player who is able to create offense for his linemates.
He has played well against all of the NHL’s top teams, and has proven that he can create offense against lesser competition.
Stewart will be a nice addition for the team, and will be competing for a roster spot with Dumba and Dumbal.
If the Blues are going to make a move this off-off-season and add depth, they will likely need to add a defenseman who can contribute to their defensive corps.
The Blue Jackets will be looking to make some changes this off season as they prepare for the 2019-2020 season.
The Jackets will look at signing free agents Matt Calvert, Ryan Murray, and Anthony Bitetto, all of whom are unrestricted free agents.
The players on the free agent list include: Calvert is a defenseman that the Jackets signed in 2016.
Calvert has been a solid addition for Columbus and has recorded 17 goals and 18 assists in 76 games.
Murray is a veteran defenseman that Columbus signed in 2017.
Murray has played in every season since his debut in 2015-16, and was one of Columbus best defensive defenders last season.
Bitetco is a player that Columbus acquired from Detroit in 2017-18.
Bitett has played with the team for two seasons, and had 20 goals and 29 assists in 71 games with the Wings.
The former undrafted free agent will be available for the 2017-2018 season, so it is not clear what position he would be playing.
The 2017 Stanley Cup Champions could use a defenseman, and Bitet is a good candidate to fill that role. It