Absolutely. Expectations will be high for this team heading into the season. Yeo is eager for that challenge, but he must answer it. Armstrong sees the next 2 to 3 years as peak years for the team, so he will need to see reassuring success early on.
We have seen some more summer coaching movement around the league, but none here. All is quiet. As I said last week, it will be interesting to see how the Blues address their power play heading into the season. O'Reilly, Bozak and Fabbri (if healthy) will factor into that and perhaps Maroon and even Thomas could as well. O'Reilly seems like a lock for the PP1, given his faceoff skill and success in the traffic zone, but how will the parts fall for what should be two balanced units?
They allowed nine shorthanded goals last season, which put them in the bottom third.
The Blues lagged badly for a huge portion of last season, prompting Armstrong to make his bailout trade of Stastny. That is reason No. 1. Also, the coaching staff never fixed the power play. That is a huge reason No. 2. The Blues should upgrade their lineup at least four forward spots this season, perhaps six spots. So barring catastrophic injury, that will be reason No. 3 to make a change if the team struggles.
It's an uphill battle for Kyrou after all of those additions to the front line. If everybody is healthy, he would have to be off-the-charts great in camp and basically force the Blues to trade a forward to make space for him. That said, guys get hurt and Kyrou will almost certainly see some NHL time next season.
NHL camps open the third week of September. Before that is the prospects tournament Sept. 7 to 11 in Traverse City, where Thomas and Kyrou will be among those playing. The Blues will have an interesting squad for that event.
The Blues should be able to get Edmundson under contract without moving anybody. The team's cap space is almost $4 million. If Thorburn ($900,000) gets through waivers and plays in San Antonio, that won't count against the cap. The same goes for other guys in the minors beyond the 23-man roster limit. That said, you are correct about the fringe guys making small salaries. So if everybody is healthy in training camp and Walman and Reinke show well, nobody would be shocked if Armstrong moved Gunnarsson to create some flexibility to handle injuries.
The Blackhawks have had to move some pretty good young players to ditch contracts. Losing Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina move Bryan Bickell's contract is the best example of that. Vinnie Hinostroza could be a nice get for Arizona. Losing good, low-cost young players has taken a toll on the Blackhawks. We saw that last year.
After subtracting both Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson, the Blues would like to see their younger defensemen fill in behind Pietrangelo, Parayko, Edmundson and Dunn. The Blues will need their cap space to start giving new contracts and raises. Maroon could get a raise, as could Edmundson if he signs just a one-year deal. Fabbri could get more if he stays healthy. Perhaps Bortuzzo, too, if he holds up this year. Then come the Pietrangelo and Schenn extensions.
No idea. One of his better coaching jobs after St. Louis came in Boston in 2000-2001, where he had no control over personnel. Like his idol Scotty Bowman, Keenan could really feel a game and manage it on the bench. It was everything else that got him in trouble.
Sure, the will be one more chance to see your heroes at the IceZone out in Hazelwood. It will sad to leave that ghost town for the new place the following season.
Initially, the Blues can make the cap by just getting down to 23 players. But, again, moving a guy like Gunnarsson to create in-season flexibility would make sense if everybody is healthy.
He was a decent checker last season, but, yes, he was a placeholder. Right now he is just low-cost insurance against multiple injuries. If the Blues lose him on waivers, so be it.
I don't see the cap space there, not with Chicago needing massive upgrades on the blue line with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook fading. Never say never, but that team also has to worry about Corey Crawford's future too. It may have to spend some money it didn't expect to spend in goal.
Home office, watching Jon Lester serve afternoon meat to Cardinals hitters.
I have not been in there, but I talked to Stillman and he was pretty excited about that what was happening. (He did joke about having an office in the basement, essentially. No window view for the owner?)
I believe his date was set for Wednesday. Usually the two sides come to agreement without going through the hearing. If I am Edmundson, I bet on myself, take a one-year deal, then go for the big coin on a five- or six-year contract. If Jets D-man Jacob Trouba can ask for $7 million per year with a straight face, that shows you were contracts are going for legit Top 4 guys.
Just guessing here, but Steen and Fabbri are versatile players. If healthy, I could see them on the right side. Perron is flexible as well, although he does prefer playing the left as a right-hand shooter. I would say Maroon is most likely to stay on the left.