As we've noted many times in these parts, Dunn has some of the same skills Kevin Shattenkirk possessed. As we've noted many times in print, on line, in live chats and in our podcast, this team has missed Shattenkirk's power-play skills. Dunn hasn't flinched often in his rookie season and he is playing with confidence in that PP role. By playing him on the first unit, that puts both Parayko and Petrangelo on the second unit -- which is a bit short on proven forward skill. This move has helped the second unit become viable for a change.
All those guys would fit. Grabner has the most team-friendly contract, but he is also more of an elite third-line forward and penalty-killer. The others are Top 6 guys. Getting any of them under the cap for the remainder of the year would be difficult. If teams are willing to accept certain young players and a second-round pick, then a deal might happen. The Blues don't have a first-rounder to move this year and that could make it tough to land Kane. Apparently Bergevin wants proven talent back for Pacioretty, so that also rules the Blues out.
Lots of teams would love to have Sobotka. He is a versatile third-line forward and penalty killer with a team-friendly deal. His fancy stats aren't as strong as his earlier Blues work, but some of that owes to line juggling and him playing up on some ineffective lines when Yeo was searching for something, anything to work in his Top 6 after Schwartz went down. The flip side is he is having one of his best offensive seasons, due, again, to his use in the Top 6 and some PP time. He is a big piece of the team chemistry, so Armstrong would need to add some big-time talent to justify moving him.
Lots of things factored into the Backes decision. I think the two sides were there on dollars, but not on years. Steen is a different, more versatile player. You can argue against his long-term deal given his injury history and his advanced age, but he does different things for a team than Backes does. A team can't keep everybody, so this ended up being Steen instead of Backes. I'm happy to see David bounce back from a dreadful illness. How will he look at the end of his deal? How will Steen look? Far to wonder about both guys. But right now Steen is playing on the top Blues line and Backes is a third-liner in Boston.
Chicago has a chance to regroup pretty quickly. There are lots of good young forwards there. But . . . I am not sure at all about their defense. They better have a Parayko and a Dunn coming because Keith and Seabrook are showing sort of wear that Bouwmeester is this season. Also, what's up with Crawford? Does he have a potential long-term problem or are the docs fixing his issue?
Max is the better scorer, but Hoffman has two more years left on his contract so there is more value there. Hoffman might be easier to obtain, since Ottawa is a rebuild and Montreal seems to be in denial.
Price hasn't been the goaltender he once was and he has massive contract that kicks in next season. Not only would the Blues have to gut their future to make this trade, the opportunity cost would be huge. Salary cap implications would force the team to lose other players, including, down the road, some core guys in their athletic prime. So the bet on Price would be gigantic. If it went the wrong way, it could undo years of smart management and force the franchise to start over.
Let's assume that is a lesson learned. Good thing Chara has become more circumspect a million games into his NHL career. A younger Chara might have just clocked him for the hell of it.
Steen has provided net front presence, as it was again last night in the only Blues goal. Also, Scheen was in the slot and Schwartz was parked at the far post. Also, Schwartz right there in front to covert a rebound earlier in the game, but Rask made an amazing save.
That seems like a good bet, unless the team sees him as low-cost No. 7 next season to provide depth.
We're talking Edmundson, Schenn, Schwartz and Pietrangelo that would all need new deals, not to mention Fabbri (if he heals) and eventually Parayko again during the course of a Tavares contract. Also, Dunn, Thompson, Thomas, Kyrou and Kostin (if he develops) could multiple their salaries on their second contracts during the course of a Tavares deal. The salary cap is a long-term puzzle and the Blues are building a good and deep talent base. So a significant part of that base would be sacrificed to sign a $12 million to $13 million per year player. And we are not talking McDavid here.
He was never a great skater. Then he quit training at the NHL level. And the league got faster. And he got separated from his guy Tarasenko, who propped him up while he was here. Add it up and the man is now a very costly Bottom 6 fill-in forward for Philly.
I just think he gets frustrated and he lets that get to him on the ice. Yeo consistently asks him to prop up other players and there is a burden in that. Leave him with Schwartz and Schenn for the rest of the season and you would watch the points pile up. Instead, his job is to make Barbashev a passable Top 6 forward and Stastny a viable No. 2 center.
It changes year to year. Last year the Bruins flopped and won two playoff games, although Backes played well. You could make the case that Backes would be better for the Blues than Steen. And you could make the reverse argument. Different guys, different skill sets, both well-respected within the group, both providing leadership for a team will be integrating lots of young guys.
You might be the person on Earth to consider Kyrou and Rattie comparable talents. Ty was a productive junior player, but he never left scouts raving and GMs phoning about him.
The folks in Montreal are so down on Galchenyuk that they say the player has no trade value. Would the Blues gamble about $5 million a year on a player that seemed to shut down for the Canadiens? Given all the young guys coming, I'm guessing Armstrong will opt for a rental that will allow him to keep his options open -- or go for a player with some contract left and value beyond this season.
We discussed that on our podcast at length. Yes, there is pressure to make the playoffs this season. Yes, that will be a chore. And, yes, that could force Armstrong to consider deals he wouldn't normally entertain. He knows this is not a peak year for the team, but Stillman would be not happy about missing completely after spending right to the cap.
The man had two bad games back-to-back. He posted a 2.24 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in December. After his two bad starts, he has posted a .948 save percentage in two games. That is not a collapse. That said, yes, he needs to be more consistent. I would be more concerned about his sustained November fall-off than that those two bad games back to back.
That is the hope. Getting production from some of the younger guys in the interim (including Sanford) would help as well.