Schwartz looks like he is still a step off of his usual pace. He was flying earlier this season.
As for Tarasenko, fans are yelping, but he makes Bobby Ryan money. Think about that. He is getting paid mid-level scorer dollars, so if he is just a mid-level scorer this year . . .
Fans were desperately trying to get the true captain Backes out of town after that playoff collapse against Minnesota. Now fans remember him as if he was Mark Messier. As for Pietrangelo, media interviews are not a huge part of his job with the team framework. I wouldn't strip him of the "C" for that. Schenn has some qualities of captaincy with his play on the ice, but he's not a fiery locker room orator. As for practicing more, that tends to be counter productive in an 82-game season when the coach has to go down to three lines and two defensive pairings quite a bit.
Shootouts are fun for fans, but the shootout loser points do inflate the point totals unfairly. They are de-emphasized for tiebreakers and they should be for the standings as well.
That was quite a loophole the Maple Leafs used to keep the kid in limbo. The Players Association needs to close that in the next CBA, or sooner if the NHL plays along. The GMs should recommend that. Toronto basically housed an extra NHL player for weeks.
The last week was rough for sure. If only they had closed out that game at Nashville with a victory. Perhaps the sense of panic wouldn't be as severe.
He made Hutton his No.1 because he got hot. The reality set in and so now Allen gets his change, albeit after mostly sitting around for six weeks. Let's see if Jake can finally settle in and regain the confidence he had earlier this season.
Again, very few guys on this team are playing their absolute best. A handful. Not to make excuses, but the constant line shuffling can take a toll. Ditto the constant PP shuffling. Yeo is coaching to win shift to shift, but has all that shuffling contributed to the apparent lack of on-ice chemistry? You can't put all of this on the "want to" element.
The Blues could get a ton for him. And then they would be a lot worse on defense. While Pietrangelo is not on the short list of guys playing their very best, he is still a special asset.
Karlsson is going to command $12 million a year on his next contract. He is minus-29 thanks to dozens of horrendous giveaways and clearly hindered by offseason surgey that removed a chunk of foot bone. Oh, and the Senators want a ton for him. Pacioretty is the leader of a team that died on the ice this season. And he has suffered a subpar year himself. Both guys are great assets, but if you lived in their cities you would be howling about their play this season.
Sure, the Blues have been tracking them. But Armstrong kept saying he wouldn't spend big on rentals and so far he hasn't. Brassard wasn't just a rental, but that price was huge.
There are a lot of placeholder players on this team, including Jaskin. Like several other guys, he got minutes this season because the Blues didn't have many compelling options. As for some veterans getting comfy, we heard that during the "Boy Band" Era of Blues hockey and changes were made. As I wrote earlier this season, there are a lot of guys who believe they are in the nucleus that may not last in the nucleus.
He will not make an expensive rental move just to get a couple of playoff dates. There is too much long-term potential at risk.
Vladimir is playing himself into that. Gunnarsson is a placeholder. Thorburn, obviously. Barbashev has gotten games by default. Paajarvi did as well, before exiting. Sundqvist lasted only because he must clear waivers to return to the AHL, but he has done nothing at this level. Stastny has been OK in his "walk" year, but I'm sure Armstrong is thinking long and hard about what to do with the salary cap slot.
No, they've earned it. Now if Vegas wins . . .
One, I don't think one game will convince Armstrong to give up on the season and sell of assets for prospects. As for the price paid for Grabner, Armstrong has made it abundantly clear that he wasn't moving key assets for a rental. So far he has been true to his word. That this surprises fans is, well, surprising.
It's an OK draft and Armstrong will always trade up if there is a chance. But given the amount near-term prospects he has at every position, that is not a large priority. Improving his NHL talent base for next year and beyond is the priority.