The St. Louis Blues seem like your prototypical “one player away” team.
One that needs that added veteran forward who’s been through the wars and, more importantly, has thrived under pressure. He doesn’t have to be another David Backes; he just needs to be tougher than his weight class would indicate.
Which is to say the Blues could use someone like Danny Briere of the Philadelphia Flyers, a versatile forward and over a point-per-game player in the postseason. Like many of the other Blues, he’s a total pain in the ass to play against; your “hate him until he’s on your team” guy.
Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that both the Blues and the Boston Bruins have been sniffing around Briere as the Flyers’ ship sinks this season.
The 35-year-old has two years left on his deal, and his $6.5 million cap hit is elephantine; but in terms of real dollars, he’s only owed $5 million over the last two seasons.
Briere makes sense for a lot of reasons for a team like St. Louis - and even for the Flyers to be intrigued enough to move him. Currently, Briere isn't the type of player who will get a team into the playoffs, but getting there isn't likely the problem for the Blues. (They could use a boost up front, especially after Andy McDonald left practice Tuesday with an injury.)
He claims the Flyers’ target could be defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. A one-for-one deal would get Paul Holmgren laughed off the phone with Blues GM Doug Armstrong, but the Flyers have other assets to toss in if they covet the Norris contender.
But that’s all conjecture, because the reality is that Briere determines his future.
Understandably, Briere doesn't have interest in moving. This isn't a rental situation, where he'd only have to gut it out this season before becoming a free agent. His family is rooted here, including his three hockey-mad sons, Caelan, Carson and Cameron. He earned his right to veto any future deal when signing his 8-year, $52 million pact to join the Flyers in 2007.
The no-move clause was a necessity for the Flyers to sign Briere back in 2007, as they were in a bidding war with other teams. If they wanted him, they had to give the keys to his future to him. It’s understandable.
But as the Flyers look at their roster and see a blueline that needs to get younger and better – and roughly $2.225 million in cap space next season – shipping out Briere makes sense for the right return.
Save for the fact he doesn’t want to leave. Then again, neither did Simon Gagne back in the day.