As I say all the time, this season is Allen's chance to take his place as one of the NHL's better goaltenders. The team was counting on it. If he can't get there, then the team has more of a problem than a controversy. Hutton would play more, but he would just be the back-up playing more out of necessity. As the team builds toward having a true Cup contender, the goaltending scenario will need resolving. Interesting times away. The Blues have a lot of down time during the next two weeks. Is that good or bad for Allen?
If the Blues trade Allen, they need to know they have a true Cup-contending goaltender to replace. Nothing suggests that Hutton and Husso would fit that bill.
Petro spends a lot of time talking to reporters. On balance he is not a guy who routinely shuns accountability. He is a stand-up guy. From a reporter's perspective, it is most aggravating to not get a guy when there was decisive play in the game that needed some explanation. After a brutal performance, all the captain can say is "we were terrible" and "we've got to be much better" and so forth. There is a whole script for that at Captain's School.
The weird thing about Allen is he would have piled up some Ws in December had the Blues not been mired in a dreadful offensive slump. Then a couple of messy games would have been just that, a couple of messy games. But when the losses pile up and THEN a couple of bad games come, everything is magnified. Allen pulled it together nicely last season and he will get every chance to do so again this season.
Duclair is a talented guy for sure. But he is not exactly a high-motor guy. Maybe he earns a Top 9 role, maybe not -- the Blackhawks have lots of young guys fighting it out. And he has to please Coach Q, which is not easy. Chicago's big gain was dumping that second year of Panik's deal with a $2.8 million cap it.
I would be shocked if the Blues missed the playoffs with this team. They won't have to play too many more games without Schwartz and we're seeing growth from Thompson and (finally!) Barbashev. Sanford could add to the competition at some point next month.
Armstrong has to re-up Joel Edmundson after this season and that will be a hefty ticket. He is committed to building around the core in place and re-upping guys who play their way into that core. .So there could be a minor deal at some point. Evander Kane is the top forward with an expiring contract, but it would stunning to see the Blues win that bidding for many reasons, including trade price (the Sabres want a first-round pick, the Blues owe their next one to Philly) and cap considerations. Patrick Maroon has an expiring contract, as do Thomas Vanek, David Perron and James Neal. The latter two could re-up in Vegas,
Teams enjoyed playing against Perron in the playoffs last year when he mustered one assist in 11 games. Had Armstrong been smart enough to predict the Fabbri reinjury as well as the injuries to Schwartz and Sanford, perhaps he would have given David another chance. As for Dunn/Bouwmeester, two different players. Dunn did a nice job in sheltered minutes, lots of offensive zone starts. In no way was he prepared to replace Bouwmeester's tough minutes. Bortuzzo has improved, but it's the same thing. Fans don't want to hear it, but this team still needs Bouwmeester to kill penalties and take the tough matchups.
Based on the last few games, it would be interesting to see Schwartz-Schenn-Steen, Barbashev-Stastny-Tarasenko, Sobotka-Berglund-Thompson and Upshall-Brodziak-Jaskin as the four lines. Sundqvist is the obvious candidate to go down if the team actually gets to full health. If somebody claims him, fine, because it's not like he was guaranteed a spot on next year's team based on his offensive production.
Beau Bennett is a Chicago Wolf. I think we've see the last of him in the NHL. As for Fabbri, who knows. There is no recent case history on the sort of double knee injury we're looking at here.
Backes was a heart-and-soul guy for sure, always willing to put himself into harm's way. Of the players I actually covered, Sutter was the classic because he tough like Backes but also crazed. He would take on anybody, any time, even if he were playing with a major injury.
At least that would be make sense. Goaltenders are always a lightning rod.
As for Kostin, I did not see the interview. As for the scoring, we've seen a bit of an uptick with 10 goals in the three losses. Thompson and Barbashev showed signs of filling holes. Schwartz will be back soon. Eventually the trade market could open up and the Blues could add a rental, but primarilty the Blues will have to rely on what they have.
That would take at least an hour to assess intelligently. IF the Blues actually get healthy and IF they actually stay healthy, they still have to battle through deep competition in the Western Conference. Look at Calgary, a team streaking right now. There are few gimmee victories on this side of the league. They could Blues could get healthy, play pretty well and still lose some tough games. Even healthy their margin of error is small.
There is nobody better in the minors to call up. Perhaps some day Sammy Blais could be an option, but not for a checking role like Paajarvi fills.
Yeah, but all of those previous losses piled up on him. Not that he could have done much about them, expect perhaps by scoring himself, but they took a toll. That is what made the two tough games worrisome.
There are so many good players in the league that's tough to get MVP consideration after missing double-digit games. A lot of voters consider this a "best player" award and those folks will sort through various Tampa Bay players for candidates.
Schenn has been better overall.