The Wild the Preds shook off slow starts and got into gear. Those teams and Winnipeg, with its offense, are dangerous. Colorado is a huge pleasant surprise, but unlike to hang in the playoff race. The Blackhawks are suffering some growing pains with so many young players and Dallas is still adapting to Hitchcock.
Big D-men are always a plus, as long as they can skate and they are good with the puck. That is a big change in the game -- big, agile, smooth-skating D-men capable of making good first passes and joining the play. In the old days the big guys where there to clear the crease and dump pucks out.
He is a restricted free agent after this season, so the Blues would control him. Jordan would want a "one-way" deal next -- NHL dollars even if he is in the minors -- so that would force the issue with him. He is not a huge asset, but he did fine as a fill-in at this level last year. Scouts wanted to see him winning more puck battles and, like you, you can't tell that from the basic stats.
Yeah, he did well here last year as a fill-in. The new NHL rewards puck-moving D-men and certainly is a poised passer. Good for him. He stuck with it and finally got an extended look.
That market could work. Put a new arena in a good location and back the team with good ownership and it could happen.
He flashed that potential, but he more likely he is a Sobokta, a third liner capable of playing a bigger role for stretches.
Different guys. Kostin has some size and high-end goal scoring potential. Kyrou is small but speedy and creative. Perhaps Clayton Keller is a good role model for him. (Keller's role model is Patrick Kane). Thomas is a terrific two-year center who plays the whole rink.
Beyond that, Blais is a goal scorer. Not real big or fast, but he sniffs out scoring opportunities.. And Thompson has a terrific shot as well as a good feel for the defensive end. If he could handle center at the highest level, that would be huge.
Fabbri is an unknown. The Blues have no history with such a recurring injury, so I'm guessing Armstrong will be cautious. He can't count on him for a Top 6 role and he can't pay him large long-term dollars. Robby will need to sustain a comeback to get that.
Tage flashed that big shot. His issue was making decisions with the puck at either end. He needs to be quicker with his puck movement. No time to ponder options at this level.
Good question. Totally different players. If the arrive at the same time, I suppose it would depth on how pieces fit together. Right now I'd bet on Thomas to fill a bigger role, based on what scouts are saying about him.
The entry-level contracts will keep the group together for a while. Once they are start getting into their FA years, then the decisions will need to be made. But that issue is down the road. By then, the Blues will cycle out of some pricey vets.
First of all, thanks for the shooting room. I didn't shoot much, but when I did launch a set shot it took a while to get it airborn. I did like Stastny on the first unit for his work around the net and, of course, on the faceoff. I liked Schwartz in Steen's role. Move Steen to the second unit? I could live with that. But I do like Tarasenko moving around as he does now. Given the way the Blues point men move around, that could work.
Sundqvist has sacrificed himself again and again, but he has just been a just a placeholder for Berglund.
Blais could be that sort of scorer some day, particularly with regular PP work. He just has a knack. Thompson and Kostin have good shots -- and I'd Kostin could be a 25- to 30-goal guy if he can play at the NHL pace. As for junior hockey, Kyrou certainly has that potential. He needs to be more dogged on the puck because he won't have the sort of skating room he has now in the OHL.
He has one goal in 48 NHL games, so that is no much of a calling card.
That could come pretty quickly, given the NHL's desire to balance up the league and get to an even number. Both are good markets for the league. The owners wouldn't mind one more expansion fee. I see Quebec getting a team via a move within the Eastern Conference, either Carolina or Florida.
Renovations are still under way. How they are paid for/financed still an issue. Practice facility seems destined for a different site, although there is still some murkiness about the original target site. Did they start site preparation? And if so, who restores the land if the facility in fact goes elsewhere.
There is potential there. But as Fabbri's reinjury reminded us, stuff happens.