The big concerns are making sure Thomas and Kyrou recover fully and stay on their developmental track.
That would have been a great combination, a pass-first guy working with a shooter.. But at some point quickly Panarin's dollars were going to get crazy and the Blues did win a Cup going the direction they did.
I'd go with Nathan MacKinnon. He is explosive and he just keeps firing pucks. He was born for today's game. While other coaches are too cute for their own good, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar elected to bundle his top guys together and play the crap out of them in offensive scenarios. (Ken Hitchcock the same last season in Edmonton, which is why Draisaitl and McDavid went nuts.) Still, what MacKinnon has done is impressive.
He is a huge X-factor. Thomas got the first chance because he had the better two-way game. Now that the Blues have firmly established their identity under Berube, perhaps it will be easier to plug in Kyrou and get him in sync with the program. He should pick it up much faster on a team that has it all together.
I see re-upping Pietrangelo without drama as a top priority. As for Schenn, it could make sense for both sides to play it out. Any extension would be team-friendly to some degree. As I noted earlier, Schenn could cash in very big if he can get back to the 70-point mark. He looks at that Kevin Hayes contract and knows that he is better than that.
Just by accident it should get better, given the talent on hand. The same goes for Nashville, BTW. But getting a fresh set of eyes in the situation has to help. And so should further growth by Robert Thomas and Vince Dunn.
There is no money here for Risto Ristalainen. But he wants out and the Sabres need to move him for cap reasons, so somebody could get a steal there. The losing took a toll on his game. He could be much better all-around with a fresh start.
As noted earlier, Dallas will be much better this year. Nashville could improve as well. I see Winnipeg taking a step back, but Minnesota surprising some people. It'll be crazy again. As we saw last year, seeding doesn't help a bit. Just get into the bracket and take your shot. I see the Blues getting in the bracket. How high in the division will depend on injuries.
Bozak is really the No. 3 center and he is very good in that role. I see Thomas moving up to the No. 2 role at some point. But right now O'Reilly and Schenn are the top two centers.
No, because there aren't enough dollars for the Blues to keep all the players they won a Cup with.
And many did after they won the Cup!
Binnington has to be a Top 10 goaltender, especially with so many other guys slipping. He put up crazy half-season numbers and then he won a Cup.
JD was a great pick. He knows the corporate structure there, which is a huge plus. He knows the personalities. He is taking over at the start of a promising rebuild and he thee is a LOT of good young talent there. As long as he can find his next goaltender, he will have that team in the hunt sooner than later.
Start with the same Top 6 you won with against Boston. Right now you are missing Barbashev from the fourth line and Maroon from the third line, but you presumably will get a healthy Thomas back for the third line and we earlier went over the fourth-line possibilities.
Not all traditional ethnic foods are a treasure. That is a prime example!
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