The pace of that league is a notch or two below the NHL, but there is skill there. More than 600 players from that league have reached the NHL, so it's like a Double-A level.
He has shown the ability to play up in the lineup for stretches. And with Fabbri done for the year, it's possible he could spend most of this season in the Top 6. The Blues hoped Blais could move up there, but for now he learning how to backcheck in the minors.
I have not seen Chicago play, so I can't help you. I noticed the team as a whole has given up some goals, so perhaps he is somewhat a victim of circumstances.
I figured they could surprise like Colorado has, or to a degree like Vegas has. Keller is filling up the net as a rookie and the team still can't win. Their season was over almost before it started. Rick Tocchet has a huge coaching challenge ahead.
I don't see this team moving Bouwmeester this year. He can still log big minutes. Edmundson has played better lately, but he lagged for a few weeks. It's not like this team is playing lockdown defense right now. Armstrong wants a strong blue line and for this year, anyway, Bouwmeester looks important.
Amstrong will really look good in a year when several young guys on entry-level deals are ready to help in some capacity, Look at storied franchises like the Rangers and Canadiens. They are starved for the sort of front-line talent the Blues are developing.
There is no flexibility right now. Since see what the team looks like later on, when more long-term injuries could change that -- and also some young players could improve enough to fill voids. But when you start 7-2-1, you aren't fretting the cap much. All the active high-paid guys are playing at a high level.
Ah, Phil. I would love that trip. Back in the Phil lived in my neighborhood. Hockey economics have changed a lot since then. Poor Phil suffered a nasty face cut before exiting the NHL. Some souvenir that was.
Right now the third line is a problem. Patrik could fix that, to a degree. He is a solid guy who can score a few goals here and there, usually in bunches. But this team may not fully round out the Top 9 until next season.
Not sure how the other stuff is progressing. His first AHL goal was a true goal-scorer's goal off the wing. His challenge will be getting up to the NHL pace, which is the same challenge Tage Thompson has. But Kostin has a more NHL-ready body.
He's been fine. I like the fact he plays the body. That is a real bonus for a guy who is becoming the No. 1 center. Yeo still doesn't mind deploying him against top lines, which is another positive sign.
I wouldn't go that far, because Shattenkirk made the Blues power-play click. That has been an issue in his absence, for stretches last season and again this season. But Yeo had to shelter him defensively and you could argue the Blues' Top 4 is more solid in its own end of the ice. Also, other players are stepping up in his absence. That was the bet the management team made and it paid off.
Hutton in goal. Some more from Jim Thomas:
Based on the morning skate, there will be no changes on the Blues' top three lines from the Calgary game, but a change on the fourth.
After sitting out the past two games as a healthy scratch, Dmitrij Jaskin will replace Chris Thorburn on the fourth line.
Carl Gunnarsson returns to action after missing the Calgary game for the birth of his daughter. He had been paired with Alex Pietrangelo in his previous four games, but the plan is to pair Gunnarsson with Colton Parayko, and have Joel Edmundson skate with Pietrangelo.
I look for Carolina to bounce back with a huge game. That team has yet to settle in. It should be better at both ends than it has been. The Canes figure to be a tough matchup.
They are all pretty fit, but if you have to pick somebody for "Muscle and Fitness" I suppose Parayko could win.
Fabbri won't be back until next year. There is an outside chance the Blues could still get help from Thompson or Kostin this season or even Thomas or Kyrou in the postseason. But, again, there are cap issues. Trading for anything of note will be tough unless this team clears cap space the hard way -- by suffering season-ending injuries.
He has been solid, as the plus-3 suggests, buy I'd like to see more shots on goals (he is averaging 2.5 per game) and better use of his big frame. But much of what he does well gets overlooked because he makes advancing the puck out of harm's way or breaking up an offensive play look easy.
I don't know about NHL rules, but duplicate names seems like bad marketing. Will another company step up with big bucks?
He had a rough go last year and was in and out of the lineup. He came back fresh and ready to play more assertively. Also, Yeo is really encouraging his D-men to move in as part of a five-man unit in the offensive zone and twice Carl has scored from a goal-scorer's area -- on bank shot from behind the net and on a snap shot from the right doorstep.
Binnington (Providence) and Husso (San Antonio) have played a lot in goal, which is concern. And nobody in the minors is playing the Blues system for Blues-supervised coaches, so that is a problem too. It might be smart for Armstrong to rotate the young guys through St. Louis from time to time to get a refresher on how things are done on this team.