When the New York Rangers moved Pavel Buchnevich to the St Louis Blues, they took a big risk by trying to get some development out of Sammy Blais. Blais is not the kind of player that developed into a top-scoring caliber of some of the young players the Rangers are using to fill out the bottom six. So when they decided to move Blais back to the Blues in the Tarasenko deal, it made a lot of sense for everyone involved.
Blais tore his ACL during the 2021-22 season and did not play again until the start of the 2022-23 season. You cannot hold such a freak injury against the player, but this situation really put Blais behind in terms of the system. After his injury, the Rangers became a juggernaut in the Eastern Conference and there were players doing what he is best at better than he could do it and it clearly became difficult to fit in.
Going into this season, it seemed like the coaching staff had more faith in the guys that were part of the deep run despite adding a ton at the deadline in order to bolster the group up and Blais really never got going. Since being traded to St Louis, he has scored a goal. His last goal since before the Buchnevich trade. He never scored a goal as a Ranger, and it just didn’t look like it was going to happen in New York for this young man.
Hopefully, going back to the Gateway to the West will do the player some good. New York was able to leverage out the cap hit of his contract to take on the newest folk hero Vladimir Tarasenko and third-pairing defenseman Niko Mikkola. Those two have fit like a glove and it seems like a deal that is going to work for everyone involved. St Louis gets futures, Blais gets a fresh start, and New York gets to push for the cup.