The trade deadline’s biggest mistake could cost NHL GM his job

The gutsy move has backfired and now a veteran GM could be on the way out!

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There was some trades that were just expected to happen back on Feb. 26. It was written in the sky: the New York Rangers would move captain Ryan McDonagh for a huge bundle, and they did, sending their star defenseman to the Tampa Bay Lightning in return for centre Vladimir Namestnikov, prospects Libor Hajek and Brett Howden, a 2018 first-round pick and 2019 conditional first-rounder that reportedly will be a first should Tampa win the Stanley Cup this season or next. Evander Kane was moved too, of course, getting shipped from the Buffalo Sabres to the San Jose Sharks. Moves that you saw coming and didn't jump when they took place. 

Don't worry, it is completely normal. But we know for sure that one deal got you off your seat. One trade made you go: say what now?! One transaction could you to ask and wonder as you believed that the team that moved the player were a true Cup contender. You know it by now, you were shocked when the St. Louis Blues ended up trading forward Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets. 

On the trade deadline, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff acquired Stastny from the Blues in exchange for a conditional 2018 first-round pick, a conditional fourth-rounder in 2020, plus forward prospect Erik Foley. Mind-blowing. And you weren't the only one surprised! Right after the transaction, Blues players were speechless... or had quite the message to say to their own GM Doug Armstrong... Forward Brayden Scheen, who up until now was having the best season of his NHL career, sent a strongly worded, and very public, message to his general manager, one that laid out the fact that he felt the team had made a poor decision.

"Crazy. One or two points out, move a guy that does a lot for us," said Schenn as per Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic on the trade deadline. "But at the end of the day, you know, that’s their decision. I guess we’ll see what happens here within the next hour."

Scheen and his teammates were not only sending a message to their GM. They are backing up their words with actions. On Monday night, the Blues won their second consecutive game against a team they're pursuing in the Western Conference, beating the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. They finally put an end to their fading hopes in the playoff race, after losing nine of 10 last contests. They mean business. 

"We beat two teams we're chasing in the standings," coach Mike Yeo said after the game. "We could have put ourselves in a pretty dire situation, bury ourselves almost to the point of not having a chance."

The Blues may be desperate but they are also just one point back of Anaheim and the Colorado Avalanche for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

"Everyone knows they have to bring it every night. I'm not sure what the pinpoint was for elevating our play, but we have done it", Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said.

"It's one thing to work hard, it's another thing to work smart. And I think we're doing that right now."

Whatever drives the Blues - and it might just be their desire to prove their GM he made a huge mistake - it seems to have out them in a surprising position following the trade deadline. And yes, now, Armstrong could be worried about his own position... 

Sure, all general managers make mistakes. But if the Blues have lost trust in their GM and still manage to come out on top despite Armstrong making a shocking blockbuster without the rest of the team seeing it coming, the general manager could be in hot water in the summer... The Blues tried to make a run at a Stanley Cup but only got as far as a single Western Conference final, in 2016. Now, if they can get there or even just land a spot in the postseason, they will show their GM he was wrong to remove a key piece of their roster... 

What will be the end result? An interesting one, that's for sure!