True, Alex would need to push up to 60-point range to get some of the love Drew Doughty gets. But that is certainly doable with a better power play and a faster start by this team. He had 30 points in last 45 last season and he posted a 3/16/19 line n 26 playoff games. The year before he scored 20 points in the first 22 games.
The NHL has no details posted on its 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend page, but all that info will be coming in due time.
We could see more 50-goal seasons and maybe Connor McDavid could score 60 if he had more competent teammates. But the NHL has bigger (Ben Bishop) and more athletic (Sergei Bobrovsky) goaltenders these days and bigger, more agile defensemen. Guys like Colton Parayko didn't exist back in the 80s and 90s, Guys his size were generally pylons against the rush. Now D-men glide backward and side to side while using their huge wingspan to take away shooting and passing lanes. The center red line is gone, but the rink size is the same and these athletes effectively shrunk the ice.
On balance, NHL player take first place. But most of the rank-and-file NFL players were fine to deal with as well. Most of the Blues are fine, but we'll miss Pat Maroon if he moves on just like we missed Kevin Shattenkirk. Ryan O'Reilly is a go-to guy, as is Alex Pietrangelo because of his role. David Perron. Vince Dunn, Parayko . . . good guys up and down the lineup.
I imagine they will get to that, if they haven't already.
I love Barbashev. He did a great job on the fourth line. But he's not as quite as valuable as Sundqvist, at the moment. And right now I can't say his ceiling is higher than Sanford's. So therein lies the rub. Sunny and Sanford have moved up in the lineup and produced at times. I see Barbashev making really nice money in the NHL if he sticks it out. If his offensive side progresses, I could see him getting $3 million plus with third-line minutes. But if he goes back to the KHL and allows his game to lose pace, he will never see that kind of coin.
Much closer to McDavid, who, admittedly, is a freak. Hughes could immediately get into Mat Barzal territory (60 to 80 points) on a team that will feature two strong offensive lines and two strong power-play units. After that, perhaps he could become Nathan MacKinnon if he used his wheels to create shooting opportunities.
That's about right. Most NHL coaches are thinking along the lines of 52/30 for a top guy these days. Binnington has never taken the wear and tear of a full campaign, so expecting more than that seems unrealistic.
Two different players there. Edmundson still has a chance to grow into a Top 4 role. At times he played at that level, at times he fell back. Del Zotto is just an extra guy at this stage of his career. The Blue are comfortable with Pouliot as the No. 8 guy going into camp. Edmundson is headed for $4 million-plus in the open market after this season, barring a career-altering injury, so it's easy to imagine Armstrong either dealing him at some point and just playing out the season with him as a rental. The only way that changes is if Edmundson takes a quantum leap forward and earns a spot next to Pietrangelo and Parayko in the long-term nucleus.
Yes, I should have talked up Nashville too, as I have in earlier chats. That team lost top wingers Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg for big chunks of action and got a terrible year from center Kyle Turris. Essentially GM David Poile traded P.K. Subban off his deep and talented blue line to get Matt Duchene as the new No. 2 center. Throw in winger Mikael Granlund for a full season (60 to 70 points?) and that team is going for it.
Never did meet him, but his work was amazing. In the bad old days, the NHL was a corrupt operation. The owners were tight knit and worked together to keep salaries down. The players association was a house union that mostly benefited its director. The players finally got wise and got militant. One of the smartest things the players did was to go public with their salaries. That threw sunlight onto the process and allowed players to see their real worth compared to peers.
The physical play increased in the playoffs because all that hitting would have been penalized in the regular season. But in Berube's puck control scheme, there was a premium placed on apply forecheck pressure. That smothering style is hard to play, even without as much vigorous hitting. And you're right about the team playing faster during the second half. That was a point I kept making earlier in the season when I insisted the Blues weren't as slow as they played early on. If they could start clicking (which they did), they could score on the attack.
I don't see the league going that far. That make the power play too big of a factor in deciding games, which in turn could prompt some referees to overlook penalties to avoid becoming a focal point. Always starting the power play in the offensive zone was a good step to create more offense.
The biggest need right now for Armstrong is enough flexibility to deal with injuries. He would need to trade a veteran or two to have any meaningful money to spend during the stretch run.
I appreciate the Garry Unger love every week, but, like so many other alumni, he is busy elsewhere. And for many years, all the love is going to the guys who finally brought the Cup here.
Again, Sundqvist played up in the lineup more than Barbashev did. He is about 1 1/2 years older with more pro experience. The Blues see Sundqvist as a big, physical center who improved his skating. He took a big step last season and spent real time in the Top 9 up front. Barbashev could do the same this season and get paid.
Husso is the guy in San Antonio, but he has to stay healthy. The same goes for Fitzpatrick, who played just 33 regular season games last year and two more in the playoffs in his first pro campaign. Fitzpatrick needs to take a big step this season, perhaps splitting time between the AHL and ECHL to make sure he gets the reps. Wilcox is a veteran AHL back-up, so he offers protection on an AHL deal.
The Blues have lots of good players. They have won a Stanley Cup, They have a well-respected GM. So they will continue to get good players, although it could be many years before they chase high-end unrestricted free agents. They will ride this nucleus for a while.
He and his scouts have seen Shattenkirk play the last two years. And they know his defensive liabilities quite well. Armstrong's goal was to keep as much of the Cup team together as possible and that's what he is doing.