That is far more likely now that it would have been a few months ago. Barring a late surge -- which he may not get a chance to deliver -- Allen will face an uncertain summer. Husso is making his case in the AHL and Hutton figures to get a lot of work down the stretch.
The Blues played a front-loaded schedule, more games than other teams through the first 2/3 of the season or so. But that is hardly an excuse. Nor are injuries, because many teams were hit harder and kept going.
Only an idiot would trade Panarin. And that means you, Stan Bowman. Sure he destined for a big raise from his $6 million after next season, but this is a guy you find money for. Columbus is starved for offense, so I expect the Blue Jackets to clear cap space and try to keep him. Now, if he hits free agency, you are on to something.
Sure, but this team had a bunch of guys playing by default. Like we've said in this chat, placeholders. Guys riding the San Antonio shuttle didn't make a difference and the fringe guys like Sundqvist haven't earned playing time either. To bench somebody you need to have a guy ready to go in.
That or go old school and sniff ammonia. (Not to say that we endorse such dangerous behavior, but we're just answering the question "What would Brian Sutter do?"
He is on the comeback trail. Until he really pushes himself on skates, who knows. And, really, until he plays 20 or 30 games, who knows. Complete crap shoot with him. No medical precedence for the Blues on this type of reinjury.
He is busy, which is how he came advertised. He wants to earn real NHL playing time and it shows. It's a shame he isn't bigger and capable of hitting with more leverage.
Upshall, Brodziak and Hutton are the UFAs. Obviously Hutton is a keeper and the other two have played well. But with this team getting younger, I could see both Upshall and Brodziak moving on as part of the retooling.
I believe there is a decent core group of players here: Tarasenko, Schwartz, Schenn, Pietrangelo and Parayko. Maybe Dunn and Edmundson earns that designation too. And maybe Fabbri gets healthy. That is a nice group of prime-age guys and younger. From there you add a half-dozen younger guys from within the organization and decide which the veterans to go forward with. I expect a notably different roster next year. There is work to do.
But they didn't win Cup beforehand, either, so . . .
I'm sure they all have their routines. For Yeo, many of them involve veins bulging in his head as he review previous video tape.
Gudbranson re-upped with Vancouver and Dell re-signed in San Jose, so they are likely staying. De Haan could become a free agent, but the Islanders responded to his injury like they lost Scott Stevens -- so I expect that franchise to keep. And I don't believe any of the three offer this team an upgrade.
He fires lots of hard shot and many of them miss the net.
Steen and Schwartz play hard and give up their body. They are two pretty good tempo-setters. But obviously Mike Yeo offered the media a list of players who have not done that lately.
No, I think the franchise has a pretty good handle on what the market is for him. He is another physical guy the team has missed. Take him and Bortuzzo out at the same time and the Blues are easier to play against.
No. And I am a big Edmundson fan.
Vegas has some young goaltenders in the system. And they loaded up on D-men as well. They have a chance to remain competitive and Marc-Andre is a big part of that. He is the face of the franchise, despite his early injury. If they were in a typical expansion build-up, then maybe.
I would expect all those key prospects to get some exposure at the NHL level at some point next season. The Blues could have a busy shuttle running from San Antonio. Look around the league and you see a lot of very young players making a mark. I expect the Blues to dangle that carrot to all those guys. Remember, it's a long, long year and injuries create the need for essentially a 30-man NHL roster.
That is a scary thought, given their recent play.
Nothing on Fabbri. The Blues say Blais was healthy when he returned to San Antonio, but he hasn't been in the Rampage lineup. I din't know if that's just the Avalanche playing their own guys ahead of him or something else.