Come on down and talk some hockey.
Patrick did leave money on the table with this one-year deal. He could have made a higher salary elsewhere (like New Jersey) and he could have gotten a multi-year deal elsewhere. Nobody would be surprised to see the Blues get him a contract extension for more money before this season is up.
There are rumblings that we will see a third jersey in the Winter Classic mode.
I see him as more of a third-liner, but he has played up in the Top 6 with skilled centers at even strength and could land there if the Blues balance their scoring over three lines. Mike Yeo will have endless options with his forwards when the team is healthy.
Everybody will immediate yell "GOALTENDING!" when they see this post. My best case scenario all along was the team keeping Hutton and playing him if Allen didn't respond. But Armstrong is willing to give Allen one more clear shot, opting to spend less on insurance (Johnson for one year, $1.75 million) while giving prospect Ville Husso a clear path to the NHL. The lack of exciting goaltending options this summer helped make the decision for him.
Yeah, that will always be one of our favorite Hitchisms. What a career Ken had.
Cap Friendly lists a little more than $3 million of space with 23 players under contract. But that is effectively $4 million because when Joel Edmundson signs, that will bump one of the 23 to the minor league list.
The Blues will need a goaltender playing well to win the Cup. That goaltender could be anybody, as Chris Osgood will tell you. While Allen will likely get one more playoff shot in goal, Husso could get his shot sooner than expected. Maybe Johnson gets the chance Hutton ran with and perhaps Armstrong will have to look outside at the deadline.
I don't expect a long transition period for these players. The Blues will have the same defense that played well last year and a bit of established chemistry up front. The talent influx should make a difference right away, especially on the power play.
They need a defenseman in the worst way. Justin Faulk could have a nice revival under Joel Quenneville. Panarin isn't going back there as a rental. Would Artemi take a long-term deal there? Maybe, but even after dumping the bad Hossa money I don't see that team having $9 million to $10 million per year for Panarin.
Ottawa is going to want young assets for Karlsson, not a defenseman who need gigantic money in two years and a forward in his 30s. And I don't see how getting Erik and paying him $9 million to $10 million per year transforms this team. He is a unique talent, but he wasn't the same guy after major ankle surgery.
While Hossa has a big cap hit, his actually salary is just $1 million. So Arizona leverages the cap space it wasn't going to use to get a pretty decent young forward. Initially Chicago was refusing to lose any assets to dump Hossa, but the Blackhawks couldn't find a team that needed to take Hossa to artificially reach the salary cap floor. (The NHL has a minimum payroll mandate in addition to a hard cap).
The salary cap is based on 23 NHL contracts. The Blues can only carry a maximum of 23 to start the season. So they will get to their cap number by sending guys down to the minors. Some guys get their by spending a high-salaries player through waivers to the minors, but the Blues should be able to get there by demoting one of the lower-paid guys, Thorburn and Sundqvist are two good examples. Jordan Nolan is listed as one of the 23 right now on Cap Friendly, but he is on a two-way deal and likely to play in the minors the bulk of this season.
I haven't talked to Cam about that. BTW, it's great to have him on the media scene. He did some hard time in the NHL as an undersized battler ala Kelly Chase. He earned his dollars the hard way.
He will open the season as the No. 1, like last season. But if he falters and somebody else is better, then he will have to wait his turn just as he did last year. After missing the playoffs, the Blues feel urgency to take a big step forward this season.
Schneider is 32 and coming off of hip surgery that could sideline him into the season. Now, IF Schneider does get healthy and is deemed expendable because Kinkaid is playing well in New Jersey and IF Allen falters again, then Armstrong will explore his options.
O"Reilly got sick of losing in Buffalo and admitted that losing took its toll. Like Armstrong noted, seeing how O'Reilly handled himself in international play convinced the team that his attitude was just fine. He welcomes this fresh start. He does all the little things Stastny did -- winning draws, winning battles along the wall, attacking the net -- and it does them at a higher level. The Blues welcome the reinforcement.
Backes, Oshie and Perron have a lot of success in the NHL. They are still going and they are still getting paid. If this group produces like that, the Blues will happy. Perhaps Kyrou could be someday be one step up from Oshie or Perron some day. We'll see. But Thomas could become a character two-way player like Backes, offering quickness instead of size and physicality.
As we say every week, there are zero expectations for Fabbri. If he recovers and plays well, great. If he washes out, nobody would be surprised. On paper you can put him in the Top 9 forward group somewhere, but use a pencil when you do it.
The Blues have all the components to assemble a strong power play. But until they actually do that, it remains questionable.