Schmaltz is still behind Dunn in the pecking order. Since he will be due for a one-way contract after this season and subject to waivers, the Blues will need to make their call on him. I still see him as a depth guy here and as potential trade chip.
He is sick and won't go on the road trip as a result. Could he be trade bait: Sure. I would not out the untouchable tag on him either.
Perhaps all of them at some point. This team has a bunch of placeholders logging minutes these days.
I don't see coddling. Allen shouldered a big workload in the first half, especially with Hutton missing a start or two with his injury. If he was coddling Allen, he wouldn't started Hutton three in a row. That looks more like a challenge to refocus and improve.
There are very few forwards available period. Montreal and Ottawa have tanked, so a makeover seems to be coming. For some reason Ottawa has rejected prospect/pick offers. As for Montreal, Pacioretty is a perennial 30-goal scorer. Marc Bergevin needs to get a huge return for him. Not sure I see a huge package coming from the Blues.
The ice seems to be the same as usual, not great. Just like in most rinks these days.
I think there was real interest in keeping Backes, but contract length became the issue there. I think the Blues made the right call there, given Backes' age and injury history -- and the NHL's evolution to a much faster game.
He is a great passer too. He has the strength to fight off checks and and he can sniff out pucks on the forecheck. He should finish the season with 35 to 40 goals and 75 to 80 points.
Allen has played 33 games, which is one off the league lead. He played 13 times in December and frayed a bit as the New Year arrived. The fact Hutton got a three-game run isn't a blockbuster. Get back to me in a couple of weeks with the "Jake Allen is finished" story line.
Jake Allen started 13 games in December. Thirteen. Hutton has a nice little run this week, but it's a bit premature to call for a changing of the guard. I am a big Hutton fan, but has been kicking around pro hockey since 2009 and if he had true No. 1 potential we'd probably have heard about it before now.
He is committed to the Olympics. He will captain the U.S. team. Not sure if the Blues ever considered him seriously or whether he wanted to come here to extend his NHL career. But what if he shines in the Olympics? Then he could get some calls.
At least part of that was the penalty kill in the middle of the period. After that, Yeo went with his better checkers.From Tom Timmermann:
“There's no strategy,” Yeo said Friday before the Blues head to Philadelphia for a game Saturday. “I think you can make a story of it if you want. The bottom line is, you can look at it how you want to look at it, what he wasn't doing or what other guys were doing. I don't think it's any different from what we talked about with (Kyle Brodziak) and (Scottie Upshall) earning some extra ice time. It's not any different from (Carter Hutton) deserving a couple games. There were some guys last game that were rolling really well and playing really well and through the course of the game as a coach you have to do what you think is right to get the win.”
It's not that simple. Tarasenko and Lehtera had some chemistry from the KHL days, but that turned out to have limited value as time wore on. Kostin will have to adapt to the North American game just as Tarasenko did -- and Lehtera didn't.
Thomas, Kyrou and Kostin would all rank in there somewhere. The unbiased analysts like all three of them quick a bit.
It's early for that. He could be a 25- or 30-goal scorer if he gets much stronger on the puck and prove capable of playing at a consistently high level. Our of every five guys with that potential, maybe one ever gets there.
The Blues are a different team each season. They don't dictate the play at this point of this season because half of their forwards are just placeholders waiting for better players to replace them. They are just trying to claw out points.
Allen, because he has won at this level after winning at other levels.
Kyrou. His junior coach, Derian Hatcher, threw out a Mike Modano comparison. Not saying he is going to be another Modano, but he has that ability to make plays at high speed.
Fortunately the playoffs are months away and the Blues will likely have Schwartz back then.