The St. Louis Blues missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs this past season, but they don't want a repeat performance in 2023-24. St. Louis is hoping for a return to postseason hockey next spring. They have a solid roster already in place and made some moves to bolster their existing group.

Their most notable move might be the much-publicized trade for forward Kevin Hayes. Hayes joined the Blues from the Philadelphia Flyers in what essentially amounted to a cap dump. However, the deal originally was supposed to include Flyers blueliner Travis Sanheim and Blues defender Torey Krug, but that version of the trade fell through.

Regardless, the aim for the Blues this upcoming season is clear. That said, there exists a reality in which St. Louis is out of playoff contention around the NHL trade deadline. And in that scenario, the team has a few players they could sell off for draft assets.

So, acknowledging both possibilities, let's take a look at the Blues and identify three potential trade candidates on the roster as the 2023-24 NHL season approaches.

Jakub Vrana

The Blues acquired Vrana at the 2023 NHL trade deadline in March from the Detroit Red Wings. Vrana fell out of favor with the Red Wings organization after entering the league's player assistance program last October. The 27-year-old Czechian forward took full advantage of this fresh start by scoring 10 goals and 14 points in 20 games.

The Blues certainly hope Vrana can continue to build off his fast start with the team. He has shown he can be a highly productive goal scorer in the NHL in the past. In fact, he even has a 25-goal season under his belt. For whatever reason, things just haven't gone his way in recent years.

A productive Vrana could help the Blues into playoff contention this upcoming season. But, if the team is on the outside looking in, St. Louis can trade him. The 27-year-old has one year remaining on his contract. Furthermore, the Red Wings retained salary in his trade to St. Louis.

Any contending team could have a productive Vrana on a $2.625 million cap hit. Perhaps even less than that if the Blues are willing to eat some salary. It's hard to imagine buyers not having an interest in this opportunity come trade deadline season.

Kasperi Kapanen

Kapanen joined the Blues last season after being placed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kapanen suited up for 23 games in St. Louis and ended up scoring more goals with the Blues (8) than he did with the Penguins (7) in 20 fewer games.

Kapanen has consistently put up around 30-40 points since 2018-19, though he has only eclipsed 40 points just once. On a $3.2 million salary, that production might be a bit hard for a team to accept. However, if Kapanen can maintain his pace from the end of last season, maybe there's something left to unearth with the 27-year-old.

Kapanen is a free agent at the end of this upcoming season. It might not exactly be a make-or-break campaign, but the pressure is on to show something. But even in the event Kapanen continues at the pace he's settled into, the Blues could use one of their three retained salary slots and dangle him on the trade market this spring.

Marco Scandella

Scandella is the most experienced player on this list. He has spent 13 years in the NHL thus far. The 33-year-old blueliner has suited up for the Minnesota Wild, Buffalo Sabres, and Montreal Canadiens in his career. And he could add another team to the list this upcoming season.

Scandella is coming off an injury-shortened season in which he played just 20 games. He missed the first half of the season recovering from hip surgery. And then missed the remainder of the season after blocking a shot against the Nashville Predators in early April.

Injuries are certainly a concern for any player getting up there in age. Another obstacle is Scandella's modified no-trade clause. The Montreal native can veto a trade to seven teams of his choosing. Teams could already be cautious due to injury concerns. His no-trade protection definitely doesn't help matters.

However, Scandella can rebuild himself this season. Remaining healthy through the trade deadline goes a long way toward alleviating concerns about his health.  This could open his market up and allow the Blues to recoup some assets for the veteran blueliner if the opportunity arises.