Obviously the Islanders are way more attractive to Tavares with Lamoriello in charge. Garth Snow was an awful GM. Tavares liked coach Doug Weight well enough, but it was clear Weight had no idea how to win in today's NHL. So the chances to Tavares coming here have to be less than 5 percent.
Name the available Cup-caliber goaltender on another team, just waiting to be acquired. The reality is the Allen/Hutton/Husso combo makes the most sense going into next season. As next season unfolds, the Blues scenario could change -- as could scenarios across a league where half the starting goalies are coming off of bad seasons.
Well, the Blues had Joel Quenneville and he got the Blues to the Final Four. He didn't have the goaltender to win it all. Barry Trotz coached forever and finally won a Cup on what was likely his last chance with the Capitals. Gallant got the Golden Knights to to the Final after getting fired in Florida. So it takes a lot of things coming together at the same time.
I believe Armstrong will offer the pick around in trade packages, but it's near the end of the round so I'm not sure how much play he will get on that.
I'd be surprised if the Blues left Tarasenko exposed in the next expansion draft.
Tarasenko is certainly encouraged to play a more complete game. But he has to want to do it. There is no forcing anybody to do anything in the NHL, not with those contracts.
Pucks to the face could do lots more damage.
That would be a good place for him to start his career. He could grow into a No. 2 role some day, but the Blues should still seek proven help at that position. The bidding for centers in the trade market will be intense. Free agency drops off quickly, to Stastny and Tyler Bozak.
A lot of fan bases feel the same way about Vegas. Good for that franchise, with its awesome fan support. But I have more empathy for the diehards of Buffalo and Winnipeg.
Brouwer helped the Blues get to the Final Four, which was a big deal for this franchise. And Oshie got the sort of next contract the Blues feared he would command. The Blues didn't see him as worth that sort of coin. He was just OK in the regular season, but give him full credit for his postseason work.
Realistic? Maybe a Tyler Johnson-type forward in a trade. Ryan O'Reilly bidding will be very high. Galchenyuk for a D-man would be interesting. Right now it appears more teams are looking to add a center rather than trade one.
Ryan Reaves could hit the market again and he's always welcome here. He can skate well enough to hold up in the new NHL. James Neal could help fix the power play; he is a nice finisher around the net. They will keep William Karlsson, but obviously he plays a need position.
No, Berglund and Sobotka can both play on the wing so there could be room for them in the bottom six. Could either guy get traded? Sure, but it it's not mandatory.
He is an offensive-minded guy who hasn't been consistently good enough to be a true No. 2 center. Bozak can play in all game situations and could be interchangeable as a 2/3 with Thomas here. He doesn't quite measure in Toronto, which has lots of explosive offensive talent, but he is a cut above most of the placeholders Mike Yeo used up front this season.
The key is watching the contract progression. The time to go for is when a team has several strong contributors on entry-level deals, which should leave the cap room needed to load up. The "go for it" time for the Blues is 2019-20 when Dunn, Thompson, Thomas and Kryou are further along, the team is beyond the Bouwmeester contract and not yet into the Schenn and Pietrangelo raises.
Sure, Gardiner is available. The Leafs want to upgrade on the blue line and he isn't strong in his end. But that is not relevant to the Blues.
Of course, such players are precious and therefore hard to acquire. That the Blues got Schenn last summer was amazing. Can Armstrong pull off something like that again?
The coaching market is still playing out with Lamoriello looking to build a staff on Long Island. I'm curious to see which way he goes with his head coach. Up-and-comer or a proven guy like Vigneault or Tippett?