This team won't pay top dollar or even mid-range dollar for elites, so we're stuck with what we got.
As for assets? On paper, Halak and Elliott, Pie, AMac and Tank. Everyone else is pretty much constructive trade bait, including Backes.
Why AMac? Because for as long as we've had him, Andy has been the single most consistent player to wear the Note. We've seen players hit high and burn out but Andy has been consistant. Frankly, he should be wearing the C, not Backes, if we're going to discuss players with a Ring who have fought uphill to earn them, there is no team in the last 20 years who have fought and lost in the finals to strengthen themselves and win the Cup 5 years later than the Ducks. And AMac was part of that.
If they won't listen to that kind of leadership, we have the wrong players on the team.
And why the Hell do we need FIVE Alternates AND a Captain? There isn't that many players here who deserve it or have earned it. Wearing a letter is more than goals and assists.
Blues have had a way of getting rid of elite all-stars (Hull, Shanahan, Pronger, etc) who go to teams that assemble for winning the whole thing rather than bragging about consecutive years of making playoffs.
I am not a big fan of Jackman, but I bet Jackman and AMac are the most mature souls in that locker room. I think Tank, while very early, is more mature that many of our players.
Right on about the Ducks. Instead of trashing NJ, Det, etc we should be intently studying how they scout, develop, lead, etc a consistently, Cup contending team.
Your off-limits trade list is spot on as well. Though I fear Halak would be happier in the East.