Armstrong will be open to anything. Who knew Brayden Schenn would come free in a trade that also off-loaded Jori Lehteri last summer? That was a miracle. Derick Brassard did not shine after going over to Pittsburgh, in part because of an injury, so he could be a cap casualty. He has one year left with a $5 million cap hit. While the Blues would like to add somebody with more term, Brassard could fill the center void for a season while Thomas developed. And the cap hit is quite manageable.
I could see Stastny getting the $5 million cap hit Brassard has for, say, three years. Winnipeg has two restricted free agents to sign, Hellebuyck and Trouba. Both are due big raises for next season. Also, Laine and Connor are one year away from massive -- MASSIVE! -- contracts as restricted free agents and the Jets could move to lock them in at some point. So all that works against Stastny.
i believe Tampa Bay is the best team left, top to bottom. The Capitals are banged up and that does not help. Winnipeg-Vegas will be breakneck hockey and I like the Jets, based on how they just closed out the Predators.
Armstrong figures to be here for a while since the Blues appear positioned to win a lot of games the next few season. Brodeur may get a chance elsewhere in the meantime. And if the Blues do go in the wrong direction, wouldn't Stillman look outside the organization for a whole new direction? If the Blues do flop, while promote somebody that had a hand in the failure?
The Blues could have a lot of talent under the cap for 2019-20, barring some more Fabbri-like medical emergencies. This team is not that far off. As for trading Allen, as I note every week the goaltending scenario across the league was crazy this season. Many big-name guys failed. Trying to assess what (if any) trade value guys like Allen have is difficult. He is coming off an erratic year like about half of the other starters. The idea scenario is to re-up Hutton as protection and give Husso one more year to get ready at San Antonio.
I'll go Lightning and Jets.
A lock? No. He has to play all 200 feet to make the team out of camp. Will we see him playing for the Blues next season? Sure, but he may need to ride the AHL shuttle. The tools are there to be an impact player at some point next season, especially with the NHL moving toward an even faster style of play. What Vegas is doing may convince more teams to put speed and skill on all four lines and forget the old "energy line" concept for the fourth line.
And he had such a great season. Getting pulled so quickly in a Game 7 . . . ouch. That might be the beginning of the end for Rinne in Nashville, given his age. He may play out his contract in a time-share deal next season and then move on down the trail.
Ah, but Winnipeg is a real Canadian city, like Ottawa and the Alberta markets. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal are big multi-cultural hubs. So the real Canada is represented in the Final Four.
No, he wants to be a NHL head coach. I believe the NHL head coaching market has settled down. Once the assistant coaching market settles, too, the Blues will know for sure which guys are available.
As expected. The Blues knew it would be a mess and it was. Walman probably got the worst of it, experiencing a tough time in Chicago before moving on to Binghamton as a rental. Also, the Blues weren't able to get their guys coming from college the AHL work at the end of the year they would have liked.
I think the broadcasts are fine. All in all, I think the NHL's relationship with NBC and NBC Sports Network has been fine. The one pain was having to go look for which NBC-related channels the games were on during the early rounds.
That's hard to say because I know how much work he actually does. The Blues have an army of advisers, so to speak, so it's tough to assess who really comes up with a bright idea.
Yeah, Beau might show up in Europe next season, if anywhere. Injuries were a problem earlier in his career. But this season he had every chance to earn a regular Top 9 forward role and he couldn't even stick with the team. This is a fast-paced league if you don't go full-tilt, you can't stick. Apparently he just lacked the drive to keep up.
Maybe some day Bob will publish a true X-rated version of his NHL days. Some of the guys he played with . . . yikes! Many good times were had. And some of the on-ice chatter could get a big coarse.
I expect to see him get some NHL time next season. He was around this season as a back-up, but didn't get in games. Next season I expect to see him in games. If he progresses as the Blues expect he will, then 2019-20 could see him pushing for regular NHL work.
Powder blue? You are kidding, right?
Nah . . . I can't go there for 41 or 82 games. The Winter Classic was fine for a one-off.
The Blues are competitive with those teams now. They have an opportunity to improve further next season and again in 2019-20. Can they get hot again and take a deep playoff run like they did in 2015-16? Who knows. All teams can do is get into the bracket in the best shape they can then hope to take off. Nashville barely made the bracket last year and played for the Cup. They dominated the regular season this time around and bowed out in Round 2. Such is life in the NHL.
The big trend is speed of the game. Vegas surprised the league with it's go-go pace during the regular season and it's held up in the playoffs. Look for teams for favor speed over bulk more often next season and also look for more quick-strike attacks and less deliberate regrouping at even strength.