The St. Louis Blues can't seem to decide if they want to rebuild or not. General manager Doug Armstrong has kept this team competitive despite trading away key pieces in Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O'Reilly and Ivan Barbashev over the last few years. All three players were instrumental pieces in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final run that saw the squad bring a championship to town for the first time ever.

But it's been nothing but disappointment for the franchise since. The Blues have won just a single series since capturing the thrilling title, and it came back in 2022. Making matters worse is the fact that the club has missed back-to-back postseasons for the first time since consecutive misses in 2009-10 and 2010-11. With the succession plan now in place — Armstrong to remain GM until former player Alexander Steen takes over in 2026 — some big decisions need to be made this offseason.

The Blues certainly have the roster to compete for a playoff spot in 2025, but would it make more sense for the front office to trade a few veterans and try to restock the cupboards for the future? That's what Steen and Armstrong will be navigating this offseason and beyond, and the decisions made this summer will be very telling in determining how good this roster is come training camp.

Here are three moves the Blues must make this offseason as they try to steer the franchise back into Stanley Cup contention.

Select a defenseman in the 1st round of the NHL draft

Although the Blues have a few overpaid veterans weighing down the lineup (more on that later), the club does boast a solid core of players under 25-years-old. That includes Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Alexey Toropchenko, Zachary Bolduc, Zach Dean, Jake Neighbours and Nikita Alexandrov, who should all be part of the organization's plans in 2024-25 and beyond.

That's not even to mention the future of the forward core, with a pair of first-round picks in Jimmy Snuggerud and Dalibor Dvorsky likely to make the jump to the NHL in one of the next two seasons. The catch is obviously that all of the aforementioned players are forwards. The Blues don't have a significant defensive prospect pool, and the front office should be looking to rectify that at the 2024 NHL Draft in Las Vegas on June 28. St. Louis owns nine picks in the draft, including the No. 16 overall selection.

With a much weaker defense pool compared to the plethora of young forwards in the organization, a defenseman should be hearing their name called halfway through the first-round in a couple of weeks time. There are a range of solid D-men around that spot, including Zeev Buium, Adam Jiricek, and Aron Kiviharju. The Blues are also equipped with another two picks in each of the next two rounds (No. 48, No. 56, No. 81, No. 95).

The play probably isn't to select too many blue liners, but Armstrong, Steen and the front office should most certainly be picking one in Round 1 – at the minimum.

Make a splash by either trading Pavel Buchnevich or Jordan Binnington

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) turns aside a shot by St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the first period at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Blues have already decided to develop their young talent, which is a big reason why Tarasenko and O'Reilly were eventually shipped out of Missouri. Pavel Buchnevich remains on the roster, however, despite constant trade speculation surrounding the Russian.

The 29-year-old has been excellent since being traded from the New York Rangers, amassing 206 points in just 216 regular-season tilts as a member of the team. He was a staple on the first line along with Kyrou and Thomas in 2023-24, but with only one season remaining until the power forward becomes an unrestricted free agent, it might be time to get him a change of scenery.

While it was rumored that veteran Brandon Saad could be made available on the trade market — which would also make sense — Buchnevich would fetch a far higher price, and if the front office is going to pull the trigger on a trade, he's probably the guy to go. Still, Armstrong and Steen might decide to hold onto the Russian and try to get him re-signed. That's unlikely, but it's not a sure thing that Buchnevich is traded this summer.

Another veteran who could realistically be moved is Jordan Binnington, who was a catalyst of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final team but has struggled mightily since. The 30-year-old has three seasons remaining at $6 million AAV, and according to Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, he's not a lock to remain in STL.

“He's got a NTC that goes to a partial no-trade,” the hockey insider said back in April. “I think it's 2/3 of the league next year, so his full no-trade drops. I would be curious about what Armstrong would do here, because he's got value. It might be your best chance to get something.”

Certainly interesting comments from Friedman, but they make sense. Joel Hofer impressed as Binnington's backup last season, and the 23-year-old could be ready to step into a starting role as soon as 2024-25. If the front office decides that a retool is necessary, the hero of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs could be playing for a different team for the first time in his career.

Both Pavel Buchnevich and Jordan Binnington have trade value, and if the organization continues looking to the future, one of them could be gone this summer. But, regardless of that, one of Torey Krug, Justin Faulk or Colton Parayko should be getting moved before next season.

Ship 1 of the 3 overpaid, aging defensemen out of town

It was mentioned earlier that the Blues had a few overpaid veterans on the roster, and look no further than Krug, Faulk and Parayko. Krug is 33, hasn't scored 40 points or more in three seasons and is making $6.5 million for the next three seasons. Faulk is in the exact same boat ($6.5 million AAV until the conclusion of 2026-27), but he's 32-years-old. And Parayko, who has struggled mightily the last two years, is interestingly also making $6.5 million and he just turned 31.

All three of Krug, Faulk and Parayko are making way too much money compared to the value they've been providing over the last two seasons, and a lack of playoff hockey in St. Louis has a lot to do with the shotty defense and goaltending lately. It might be time to let the young guys play — like Scott Perunovich (25) and Tyler Tucker (24), who are unquestionably the future of this blue line.

It will certainly be intriguing to see what moves the front office makes this summer, and whether it will signal a desire to return to the postseason in 2025, or a sign to blow things up altogether. If it's the latter, expect that a few more veterans will be on their way out of St. Louis before training camp.