Doug Armstrong did not consider saying goodbye to David Backes and Troy Brouwer and trading Brian Elliott an enjoyable exercise.

Backes was St. Louis’s captain. Brouwer, acquired the year before from Washington for T.J. Oshie, punched in 18 goals while dressing in 82 regular-season games. Elliott posted a .930 save percentage, the best mark in the league of any goalie appearing in at least half of his team’s games.

Armstrong’s roster, however, had progressed to the threshold where difficult decisions were required. Backes is 32. Brouwer turns 31 on Aug. 17. The 31-year-old Elliott was splitting time with 25-year-old Jake Allen.