He's the same player he has been for some time. He skates well, hits with leverage and he has feel for the offensive game. He showed all those things here.
I have no updates to offer. He has been doing his work back home in Toronto under guidelines set by the Blues' medical staff. We aren't likely to know much more until the guys come back to town to start skating on their own in August.
Last week we had multiple suggestions about Sidney Crosby. Now THAT is outside the box. The Penguins appear to be more than willing to move winger Phil Kessel to create the desired salary cap flexibility, but that doesn't help the Blues. We mentioned Tyler Johnson a few times over the last several weeks. There are cap concerns in Tampa and Johnson has fallen into a supporting cast role there. He has some no-trade protections kicking in July 1, so he could get shopped at the draft.
The Blues won eight out of nine games in March to get back into the playoff hunt, which was a positive reflection on team chemistry and the group's relationship with the coach. They rallied despite losing Stastny and despite taking big injury hits. Certainly the no-show at Arizona was puzzling, as well as Jake Allen's loss against the Blackhawks. But I thought the team came together after Doug Armstrong gave up on it. In the end they just didn't get the goaltending and they had too many placeholder guys playing key minutes.
Trading Allen now would be a sell-low deal, unlikely to gain much in a messy goaltending market. The smarter play is keeping Allen, re-signing Hutton and giving Husso more time to develop. Why rush Husso? Why bank on Hutton, who has a rather thin NHL resume? A year ago Allen was brilliant down the stretch and then he stole a playoff round.
He appears to be a fast riser in the business. He had just one year as an AHL head coach, but it went very well. Multiple teams contact Arizona and asked to discuss a NHL assistant coaching role with him. He has a strong background in player development and, like Sydor, a long playing career.
I liked him in camp. He is a rangy kid and he moves the puck well. He seems ready for a big role in the AHL and a chance to earn fill-in work for the Blues.
The Blues are going to have more guys under contract with a team in the AHL, so that means there could be some spillover. The ECHL is a good option to use if a player can't quite handle a big AHL role. In particular, it's a good place to get goaltenders work.
Could be. Armstrong wanted more coaching experience on that staff. Van Ryn was a step in that direction. And don't forget the team still needs to settle the San Antonio scenario.
Depth was a huge problem for the Blues last season and it's something they will address several ways this summer. They need to add one or two impact forwards, graduate Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou to the pro level and also add better veteran depth (yes, better than Beau Bennett) for the AHL. It will also be interesting to see what the college additions (Foley, Stevens, Reinke) show in camp. That could enhance depth as well.
They Blues aren't going to blow up this roster and start over from scratch. They have a nice nucleus of prime-age players, cap space to work with this summer and some elite prospects on the cusp.
I picked against them last week, noting that every time I do that they win the round. Obvious this series is dead even. Flip a coin. Both goaltenders are on their game and both teams are going full tilt. It's great stuff.
It is pretty juicy, no? The Blues consider Parayko a huge, huge asset, but so is Draisatl. I would imagine both teams would adamantly deny such a deal could happen. And that, of course, means nothing.
I would suppose Dave Tippett would be the dream hire. He was at camp as a consultant. Since it appears he won't get a head coaching job this summer, maybe this something that would interest him. Clearly Armstrong is a fan.
Van Ryn was a head coach in the OHL, a player development guy for the Coyotes and an AHL head coach. So there is no comparison to Ott. Van Ryn has been busy since his playing days ended in 2009.
I see Berube sticking around. The guy commands respect. Scapegoating him for the power-play trouble would be stupid.
San Antonio is the Blues' equivalent of Memphis and Tulsa is the Springfield equivalent. But note this: Few top prospects every play in the ECHL, which is the Double-A league.