Ottawa is getting shelled this season, I'm not sure you would be getting two balls of fire in return for trading a precious goal-scorer in his athletic prime. The Blues may stay in the Brassard hunt without shipping out No. 91.
No, this guy hates losing more than anything. While the expectation is to make the playoffs this season, Stillman doesn't want him to make a stupid trade that could prevent the Blues from continuing their run on annual playoff contention. Everybody in management understands that the team is set up to be better next season and better still in two seasons.
No. This team is still in the playoff chase. I find it hard to believe Armstrong would bail on the season.
Yeah, Schwartz wasn't great in his last game, but overall he has made a good but not great impact. The Blues were hoping he would help set and sustain a great team tempo, but he is just one guy and he is coming back from a foot injury.
No, it's OK to panic. Teams in this playoff chase can't afford a tough week. And there is a tough game tonight and more to come. It's time for everybody to pick up their play, starting with Jake Allen in goal. This team really needs a netminder to steal a game and settle things down.
Right now they are 12 points ahead of the bottom 10, so it would take a LOT of losing to fall back that low. But, yes, that is the condition of the trade.
I don't believe anybody is untouchable. But goal-scoring wingers are hard to come by in the league. He is in his athletic prime and he carries a friendly cap hit. So there are a lot of reasons to keep, And there are very few players you could get in return that would make a trade worthwhile. This team already has prime prospects on the cusp, so they are not like the Rangers, looking at a long and possibly painful rebuild if they don't expedite the process.
Yeah, when a teammate points out in a post-game interview scrum that No. 91 tends to pout when he doesn't score, it signals an issue. Yeo has certainly been encouraging him to become more of an on-ice leader and he has looked more engaged lately. His six points in five games is a nice sign as well. Right now this team is minus it's two most physical defensemen and it is at least three offensively productive forwards short of legitimate Cup contention. Fans will put all of this on Pietrangelo for being an insufficient captain or Tarasenko for not taking over games, but this is also a team that has gotten buy with a bunch of lineup placeholders this season.
The Islanders took some preemptive action on the Tavares front, locking in his wingman Josh Bailey for six years..That is another step toward keeping him, along with the new area and the move back to Nassau Coliseum for more games. But I'm sure JT and his people would need more convincing that GM Garth Snow has some idea of how to build a winner. As for the Blues, there is no doubt Armstrong will alter the team nucleus if this team can't show more fight. It probably won't be enough just to replace the placeholders with upgrades.
If there was no problem, we would know which guy is the No. 1 goaltender. We don't. It would be best for the franchise if Allen got regular work and made the most of it, giving Armstrong that he doesn't have to put more money (Hutton with a nice raise or somebody else) into that position. Then he could put that money toward other needs, like scoring.
I would imagine Armstrong would rather that trade that pick, which explains his public statements regarding rental trades. If he could get an asset with value beyond this season, then the Blues are deep enough with prospects to withstand a missed draft.
Scouts love this kid. He is fast and quick and he can make plays on the move. This team is starved for that type of dynamic offense. Look at the Kellers and Boesers of the league, having an impact at a young age. Kyrou has the potential to be such a player.
If the Blues miss the playoffs, it will likely be by a few points. If they make it, it will likely be by a few points. By now Armstrong knows what he has and what he needs. He will definitely be willing to move some familiar faces if the right opportunities arise.
I expect him to finish with better offensive numbers than his first two years. He is certainly on pace to do that. At 24 he is a Top 4 defender logging big minutes. He has been propping up Bouwmeester quite a bit, with Jay clearly laboring with an injury. So far his big shot hasn't translated to regular work on the first PP unit, so that hinders his production. He doesn't have a vicious side, so fans can quit waiting for that. But he can certainly be more physical and he can certainly become more assertive with that shot. He has not reached his ceiling.
Armstrong kept saying he wasn't going to spend big on a rental, so I am not surprised he didn't land Grabner. And right now defensive prospects Jake Walman and Jordan Schmaltz aren't expendable with Edmundson and Bortuzzo both injured. A No. 2 and one of those two young D men would have been a big price for this team to pay right now for a skate-and-shoot third liner.
Hoffman is a great fit with Matt Duchene in Ottawa, so that is a high price. Schenn? Meh. He could address the immediate injury concern, but going forward the Blues would like work another young D-man into their mix on an entry-level deal. Maroon would to the pile of third-line talent this team has. He would add some physical play that is lacking up front, but I don't see that being worth more than a middling draft pick.
Well, who's not? Schenn is obviously going all out and sacrificing himself. Steen isn't shy about putting himself into harm's way. After him, how many Blues are clearly elevating their effort and leading by example? It doesn't take much energy to point a finger. These guys should have plenty of energy left to win some puck battles.
That Brassard trade is a logical deal. Pittsburgh is a two-time Cup champion. He has Crosby and Malkin, so he has to win now. He has taken some big cap hits -- Marc Andre-Fleury, Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen to name three -- so he had to find some replacements. A No. 1 pick, Ian Cole and goalie picked in the second round is a high price. As we've noted all year, this is not THE year for the Blues. Their competitive window is opening, not closing.
Again, how many "good" apples are there. Name all the players producing to their full ability. It is not a long list. Beyond three or four guys, who on this team is entitled to grumble about the others?
No, there are no goaltenders at the deadline worth exploring. Allen has been the regular goaltender since December, when he played pretty well and got no goal support. Again, the smart play would be to treat him as the No. 1 the rest of the way and see what happens. Last year he finished well and carried the team until the second round. That could happen again.