Blues Outdone in Free Agency (AP) St. Louis: No matter how you cut it, no matter how you spin it, the St. Louis Blues receive a failing grade in free agency. Sitting on top of the largest war chest in the HFNHL â€“ upwards of $60 million at last count â€“ the Blues were seemingly poised to flex their financial muscle this free agency period, targeting several high profile players in anticipation of loading up for yet another run at the Stanley Cup. However, when the dust settled, the Blues had added nothing more than a few blue-colour forwards in Scott Walker and Tyler Wright, and several young players with question marks who will not make an impact with the team any time soon - if ever. Hardly the moves expected of the usually aggressive Blues. With the loss of Paul Kariya and Luc Robitaille to free agency, this means a net loss in the skill category. While loyal Blues supporters point to the fact the team was the highest scoring team in the HFNHL last season and could arguably afford to substitute a little skill for the grit of Walker and Wright, it is clear the team fell short of their bigger plans on the open market. Much of the controversy stems from the fact the Blues failed to land gritty left winger Dallas Drake, who joined a host of other veterans by signing in Minnesota, and Sergei Zubov, who surprising chose to sign a one year deal with the Hurricanes. The Blues were in the final bidding for both players. Many questions surround the losing out on these two players, as the Bluesâ€™ offers consisted of much higher signing bonuses, a similar averaged salary, and in the case of Zubov, a much longer term. Factor in the reality the Blues are considered a much more serious contender to compete for the Stanley Cup versus teams like the Canes and Wild, and it has left General Manager Nick Quain in a quandary. â€œIâ€™m not sure what happenedâ€, stated Quain. â€œWe clearly felt we made the best offer, and for a role that would have provided great line-mates and a high likelihood of personal success for both Drake and Zubov.â€ â€œObviously, their agent disagreed.â€ Part of the controversy stems from the fact both Zubov and Drake had fired agent Reggie Swingstein leading up to free agency, and had alternative representation from an agent south of the border. Quain and Swingstein are considered close, while Quainâ€™s relationship with the new agent was less clear. â€œMaybe that was part of it.â€ Added Quain, â€œbut I like to think the decisions had more to do with their clients wishes rather than my relationship with Reggie or their new agentâ€ Swingstein would not provide any official comment on the situation with Zubov and Drake given he had been dismissed as their agent, but it was clear he was agitated by his former clientâ€™s actions. â€œTo hell with both of them. Theyâ€™re both punksâ€, stated Swingstein while caught entering a late night brothel during a alleged business trip in New Orleans this past week. The Blues also made a considerable offer to Jochen Hecht, who signed with Ottawa, and were also in the final bidding to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to an offer sheet. Kovalchuk finally signed with New Jersey, and now waits while the Calgary Flames scramble to fight the raiding of so many of their restricted free agents. While the Blues may make an offer or two on remaining free agents, it is anticipated a trade at some point will be needed to add a bit more potency up front. In Walker, the Blues do gain a disagreeable leadership force on the right-side who also brings with him a potent scoring touch. It is anticipated Walker will move onto the second line alongside Vincent Lecavalier, with Steve Yzerman moving up to replace Kariya on the Prince Vinceâ€™s left side. There have been rumblings Yzerman could retire however, which would leave the Blues with a gaping hole on one of their scoring lines. Assuming Yzerman does return, Craig Conroy will move back to the checking line to center Scott Young and most likely Peter Schaefer. The fourth line will likely see Wright alongside Jason Wiemer and assuming the team doesnâ€™t add another forward via free agency, youngster Chuck Kobasew, It is believed Quain would rather have Kobasew alongside Peter Sejna in the minors for one more season however. The top line of Joe Thornton, Pavol Demitra and Dany Heatley â€“ the highest scoring line in the HFNHL last season - is expected to remain together for the third consecutive year. â€œI donâ€™t think you can realistically consider our forward lines a weaknessâ€, added Quain, who has been the target of much criticism from local media stemming from his lack of free agency spending. â€But perhaps we do want another player or two for depth purposesâ€.