When you think of strong NHL teams that simply can’t “get over the hump,” your mind goes to teams like the Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, and the St. Louis Blues. Perhaps it’s the missing transcendent success that explains why Blues GM Doug Armstrong is currently waiting on a contract extension, then. The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford goes in-depth on Armstrong’s lack of a deal (sub required), and honestly stole my thunder in vividly describing how Armstrong’s put together a remarkably clean, competitive roster. One of Rutherford’s most salient points is that, while other teams have used buyouts to clean up past mistakes, Armstrong’s avoided doing so, thus saving the Blues both face and money. Rutherford’s well-written piece notes that the Blues wouldn’t just risk losing Armstrong; they’d also possibly lose some worthwhile management team members who would follow him out the door if another team would come calling. (And why wouldn’t another team do so? Looking at you, Florida Panthers.) And if the person who has signed the Blues’ contracts for the past eight years comes close enough to free agency himself, the Blues may risk losing not only him but his “Army” as well. Assistant GM Martin Brodeur, vice president of hockey operations Dave Taylor, senior consultant Larry Robinson, director of player development Tim Taylor, director of hockey analytics Thomas Cason were all brought in by Armstrong. And in addition to Bill Armstrong being promoted, Rob DiMaio ascended to director of player personnel under Doug Armstrong. Allow me to add one consideration, and it comes from the KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) school of logic: waiting too long might literally be costly to the Blues. As in, it might cost ownership some legitimate cash. Take a moment and look over the standings.