Let's say they don't plan on making the playoffs
-They trade away Guerin, Tkachuk, Brewer, and a couple others at the deadline. They save probably around $3M.
They won't trade all of those players. Not gonna happen.
If they are sellers, they may move a couple guys...but no way to they trade five guys.
-They get a better draft pick, which increases the likelihood that they'll get an NHL regular who will have restricted pay for 5-8 seasons. (Sidney Crosby is the ultimate example. He's making $850K per season. How much would it cost to get like production out of another player? $5M? $7M? That's real savings....)
Sidney Crosby-like players do not come around every year...not even close. I wouldn't bank on a player like that being drafted for quite a while.
It is quite possible, that if the Blues do what you are suggesting for a few years, that they could improve greatly.
It is also quite possible that if the Blues don't try and improve much over the next few years, if they suck and have a top 5 or 10 pick each of those years, that a good number of those guys may never pan out. (Gasp! in the NHL draft you say! Shut your mouth!) The NHL draft is usually a crap shoot after the first few picks...and quite often players drafted later in the first round turn out to be just as good as some of the other high picks.
I just don't trust the NHL draft. And to put all of my eggs in that basket and wanting this team to suck for a few years to gather those eggs, may not pan out...and then what do you have? You might have a team with little future, and still sucks.
-They'll pick up additional draft picks/prospects from the deals, and all of those players will have restricted pay for 5-8 seasons.
The additional draft picks and prospects would be nice...I'll give you that. That is more appealing than wanting to finish near the bottom of the league, just to get a high draft pick and select a guy who may never play in the NHL.
But no way do I get rid of all of the veterans at the deadline in an attempt to do this. Maybe move two or three tops if you get the right deals.
-They'll be closer to building a team who can actually compete in the playoffs, meaning they could host as many as 16 playoff games per season, as opposed to the 3 they can hope for at most this season.
For that to happen...the draft picks would have to pan out and actually become good/great NHL players.
When you account for everything, there's much more money to be made (saved) by not making the playoffs.
Only if all of the chips fall in the right places.
That plan may work...but it could flop as well because of the wild uncertainty that is the NHL draft.
If you were to look into your crystal ball and tell me that the Blues over the next three years would get a #1 pick, a #2 pick, and a#3 pick...I'd be in favor of attempting to get those picks because the odds of those picks being good players are decent. But if you told me they would be drafting #7, #8 & #9...I'd say forget it. You are sacrificing multiple seasons for a much lesser chance at good players. I'd take my chances later in the 1st round. You may get just as good a player, or maybe better...you never know.