He finally embraces his role as a third-line checker, but he simply could not score at this level. He proved that year after year. So he was nothing but a placeholder, waiting for his replacement to arrive.
It's just a common sense thing. Multiple major surgeries on the same joint is a problematic situation. The poor guy has to go through grueling rehab once again -- knowing that just one misstep could undo everything. Will that happen? Nobody knows, but the fact he suffered knee implosion so quickly after returning from the first surgery has to be in the back of his mind.
There are not many teams looking for their next goaltender. And those teams that are in that scenario -- the Islanders come to mind -- will look for somebody with a more substantial track record. Hutton will be appealing as a back-up and he can expect a nice raise because of that. I don't expect a bidding war unless he somehow keeps the starting job all season and wins a couple of playoff rounds.
The media wasn't easy on the Rams when they were terrible. The media was easy on the Cardinals when they stayed in contention for a decade. As for the Blues, their recent downturn has been well-reported. As for other markets, yeah, there is more hysteria. Toronto and Montreal are hard places to play.
I would expect them to go back to Allen this season, not wait until Hutton leaves as a free agent (if that happens). And, no, there are no prospects on the cusp of the NHL right now. Ideally Binnington and Husso would get a year together at San Antonio with the better of the two filling in as a No. 3 next season. If Hutton isn't backing up here, then the Blues will sort through the stack of available back-ups for the next one.
No, it would take more than unloading Gunnarsson to get Galchenyuk under the cap. But as mentioned earlier, he is interesting because he has contract term left and the dollars aren't huge.
Blues. Karlsson had a huge chunk of foot removed surgically. And for all of his vast offensive ability, he can have all sorts of problems in his own end.
Also, Erik will want crazy dollars on his next deal. That is another negative.
Look at Matt Murray. When he played for the Penguins in the playoffs, he posted a 1.70 GAA and a .937 save percentage. Maybe he is not a shutdown goalie, but when he played he performed like one. Lots of goaltenders lacking a big name or major playoff experience have enjoyed that sort of success in the postseason.
Bouwmeester has two years left at $5.4 million. So he would be the target, if there was a deal that another team would make and he would agree too. More immediately the Blues will have to decide what to do with Stastny's slot. I could see re-upping him for less money and buy time for Thomas to develop there. But generally speaking, this team hopes to load several additional scorers in behind Tarasenko, Schenn, Schwartz and Steen. By having multiple guys on entry-level deals, they hope to load a maximum amount of skill under the cap.
Ah, but nothing makes life easier for a coach than goaltender that gets hot (like Hutton lately) and covers up for all that goes wrong.
Johnny T with the Islanders.
Well, he is a Penguin and, no, I don't know that Pittsburgh is looking to move him. That team is looking to add forwards, not subtract.
With the new ownership there, I could see that happening.
Pronger and Stevens would be in constant trouble with the Department of Player Safety if they played today. But, sure, Colton could stand to be more physical. He skates so easily that he could hit with leverage without really trying.
Not sure if he has changed his equipment. Hopefully part of that process is mental, using more snap shots or wrist shots to make sure he gets puck through or to set up redirections. He seems to be moving better to create lanes for himself and he doesn't have to hammer everything.
His production the last three months is more typical of his NHL work. Those 13 points in 13 games in October was a classic hot start. Also, his role on the power play diminished. He is on the second unit now -- although that worked out against Colorado. But I believe his overall play has remained strong. When you log big minutes and the team's play slips, as the Blues play slipped, then you are going to get caught in more bad scenarios.
Backes and Stempniak roll on. McClement went to camp with the Pens but did not stick.
Tarasenko is tied for the league lead with 208 shots on goal this season, so it's not he disappears for weeks on end. This team needs to build a more skilled team around him, Schenn, Schwartz and Steen up front. Part of Vladimir's burden is playing with lesser teammates with the coaching staff expecting him to elevate them. Barbashev is the latest example of that.