I would expect a few more changes over the summer. The Blues don't really have dead money against the cap, so that's a plus. Other teams are hiding washouts in the minors or on long-term injured reserve. And they have multiple candidates to play for minimum wage on entry-level deals, so that is another plus. And for all their woes, they could still finish in the upper half of the overall league standings. The road back for them is not as long as it is for other teams.
At this point they would rather win some games to further the development of younger players in a positive environment then lose their way into keeping a first-round pick and losing next year's pick instead.
Armstrong was trying to package the pick with a player (or players) with remaining term to get a Top 6 forward, preferably a center. So he could try that again, with veterans (Sobotka, Berglund) or young veterans (Fabbri. Sanford, Barbashev, Schmaltz) in a package.
Nikita looked like a guy eager to stick in the league. Sobotka made that kind of early mark for the Blues back in the day after getting caught in the Boston numbers crunch. Now, if Vladimir could watch some Soshnikov video and take notes.
At this point they have to have more confidence in Hutton than Allen. That means they play more confidently in front of him, which means they are more aggressive. Instead of worrying about "what if," they just go.
Yes, San Antonio. The Avalanche are moving operations closer to home.
This team has many placeholders. Thomas is most likely to earn a spot, given his style of play, but Kyrou could at least get some looks as Blais did this season. Beyond Tarasenko, Schenn, Schwartz and Steen, how many forwards seem certain to have roles here next year?
The Blue Jackets apparently were trying to send Dubinsky back this way, but that seemed like an odd fit, especially if the No. 1 was involved. He was trying to get guys locked in beyond next season, so guys like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan O'Reilly would have been perfect. But to have any shot at them he needed to spend from his top prospects.
They might be able to build a Pacioretty or Hoffman package come the summer. That would accelerate the retooling. If they have to wait on the kids, that could take until 2019-20 to really pay off. I'm sure they want to make some progress next year, then build on that.
True about the lack of error margin. But in this conference they could be a pretty good team and miss the playoffs. Small consolation, I know.
Sure, he could create the cap space for Tavares. But so could a lot of teams if JT said he was definitely headed for market. One thing to watch: If JT goes to market and leans elsewhere for a destination, the Blues could capitalize on that team's need to create cap space.
You do need leaders in the room, or, better, leaders by example on the ice. It's not just one guy. For instance, Toews is a great captain in Chicago, but that team had many leaders AND a strong coach. I will say that almost every team has some followers on it -- it's just human nature -- so the concept of leadership is important.
Different types of players and they had different experiences this year. Kostin has side, but needs to skate. Eeli is the opposite. Kostin did the AHL and the World Juniors while Eeli did the KHL and the Olympics. Also, Klim is coming to an organization with less depth overall and more immediate need for offensive help. My sense is both guys need some work.
Sure, given the might of the top teams in this division. Vegas has been great in the regular season, but I don't know if their formula will work as well in postseason play.
The Blues were with the Chicago Wolves last season and their prospects got great coaching. Those guys moved up to the parent club. Soon the Blues will get their chance to name coaches for San Antonio next season and aim for the same success.
The Blues need to be more physical, true, and I believe the Red Wings felt the brunt of that.
Sure, but first he must decide to leave and then the Blues must win heavy bidding.
Chicago needs to find four good young defenseman ASAP. The Hawks are loaded with good young forwards, although I don't get letting Hartman go for the first-rounder. That kid is really solid. And maybe Crawford gets healthy, which would make everything easier.
If the Blues can survive this next little stretch, they will have some less stressful games. But before they can think about that, they need to fly from start to finish just once so they can remember what that feels like.
He could go either way. Other teams like him, so he is a decent chip that is not in the Untouchable Four. It's not hard to see him, a No. 1 and other stuff going into a Pacioretty package.