Not zero, but clearly Lou Lamoriello is doing everything to keep him. Daily conversation, which means JT has some input on the coaching hire as well as personnel moves. And there is this: The Islanders will have no choice but to give him a max contract. Losing him would be a huge blow to these owners.
Yeah, if this stuff is even somewhat true teams need to be super careful. Wives drama is nothing new to the NHL, but this stuff was ugly. Although Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun believes the team can still get a good price on Hoffman, other insiders are not so sure. The team absolutely has to move him, so teams will either pass on him for off-ice concerns or try to steal Hoffman for a bargain price.
There has been plenty of this stuff. The big one that ended up on the record was Brendan Shanahan, who ended up marrying Craig Janney's ex. There was a LOT going on back in those days, including some high jinks with Mike Keenan.
Yeah, Doug Armstrong hit the "team chemistry" note while discussing his off-season plans with Jim Thomas. He marveled how the Vegas team rode great chemistry all the way to the Final.
Now? I could see Hoffman fetching a second-round pick and middling player. The Senators were hoping to bank another No. 1 pick for him. We shall see. If he sticks with this woman and the allegations stand, this is going to be a huge issue.
Sure, the Blues might go a second year with him as a back-up, but I doubt it would go three. And back-up dollars would come in under $3 million per year. Although Philipp Grubauer is the No.1 target for teams looking for a goaltender, Hutton might be the top unrestricted free agent for teams shopping for a starter. Blues management is bracing for his exit..
The Blues have had some tough luck in free agency. Paul Kariya, oops. Jay McKee? No. Stastny got overpaid to fill a need position and that is the norm for free agency. Adding a vanRiemsdyk would take extra dollars and extra years. That is why Armstrong would love to work the trade angle if possible.
If the Blues believed Bouwmeester is coming back healthy enough to be a Top 4 and if they believe Reinke/Walman/Schmaltz offer legit support, then they could make a deal from the blue line.
The Blues don't have much in the way of "meaningful players" among their forwards to trade. I mentioned Sobotka as one possibility, but that is not a huge trade chip. Same for Jaskin and Barbashev. Same for Fabbri, until he plays a couple of healthy seasons. If the team puts Thompson in play, that might draw action. Other teams like Blais, but how much? There may be a team that likes Kostin, but there is a real risk of moving him before he establishes true value. As for this year's late first-round pick, that is an OK chip because teams crave cost-controlled prospects.
I doubt Tavares ever becomes a real option. O'Reilly bidding will be high -- and rightfully so -- and we've touched on the Hoffman dilemma. If Tavares is smart he will at least talk to other teams, which will raise the bar for the Islanders.
Lehner is a restricted free agent who has been consistently substandard. He failed in Ottawa and failed in Buffalo. Allen would be a nice upgrade for Buffalo, so presumably such a maneuver would be in package sending O'Reilly here. In that scenario, the Blues would re-up Hutton as the starter and force Lehner to take a short-term deal.
The Predators have no need for Hutton. The Islanders, Sabres and Hurricanes are looking for a lead goaltender and the Flames and Flyers are among the teams also looking. I don't see Husso getting the back-up job with no real NHL experience. The Blues would shop the back-up market for his replacement, assuming that Allen stays put.
Thorburn has another contract year, but it's at a low cost. He could be on the waiver wire or relegated to playing once every few weeks. Reaves would be a nice add IF the Blues filled other needs.
The back-up market is full of options, either in free agency or a minor trade.
Ah, the Glenn Close Factor. (Her character, not her.)
As for a fan boycott, I suppose a few fans might quit coming to Blues games if Reaves came here and engaged in any form of social protest.
I'd say 80 percent. He is a motivated shopper. His challenge will be striking deals while facing heavy competition.
If he gets healthy, stays healthy and plays to his ability, Fabbri could work into the Top 6. That is what the club has always envisioned for him.
No idea. I do not follow the arena improvement story.
Schwartz's injury was supposedly minor and of no concern for camp. Armstrong has been confident about the two veteran D-men, but we're still months away from camp.