Can't provide an update on Scottrade, other than to say I don't expect a marked improvement in the ice as part of the renovation. I've been off the last couple of days, so I'll know a lot more next week.
Yeo didn't change a whole lot with the Blues' system after taking over for Hitchcock. Ken is a big structure guy, obviously, seeking smothering defensive zone play. He moved more speed and offensive zone pressure during his final season, moving from the "heavy" game per the league-wide trend. Yeo's arrival helped with that transition to a quicker pace. Head coaches tend to delegate goaltending, power play and defensive deployment, so it will be interesting to see how the Blues evolve with a new staff under Yeo. During his unhappy last season in Minny, Yeo had a major power-play problem that inspired his top players to consult outside Adam Oates for advice. Not good! So it will be interesting to see how this staff deploys Schenn and moves past the Shattenkirk Era. Hitchcock was absolute gold with the media, both local and national. Yeo is cooperative with reporters, but more guarded. He does not look to court them. Hitchcock's Hall of Fame credentials has earned him a lot of room from management to do his thing, more than Yeo has. On other hand, his intensity, relentless attention to detail, exhaustive preparation and communication style tends to wear on players. Yeo earns credits for his ability to directly relate to the troops -- although he, too, is quite intense and very demanding.
I'm a big Barbashev fan. I liked his ability to make a mark in a game even when given fourth-line minutes. He could be a classic third-line guy with the potential to move up and generate some Top 6 offense. He has a nice feel for the game and some tenacity. I'm also eager to see if either Dunn or Walman can push into a third-pairing defensive role and add another weapon to the second power-play unit. Parayko has the big shot, but he could use a real QB type if he lands on the second unit.
The Athletic is not looking to produce exhaustive coverage, but some insightful coverage. You will see a lot of fancy stats from its NHL-wide analytics team -- something the P-D won't provide as much of on a day-to-day basis. Also, the NHL-wide prospects coverage will be something to watch as well, given the crew that firm is assembling on that front. But the P-D will have tons of stuff on a daily basis, so stay tuned.
I will try, between other duties. What you need to see from the top prospects is dominance within their peer group. Anything less than dominance will you that the player needs more time to prepare to play against seasoned veterans.
No, the Islanders would target the likes of Parayko, Schwartz and Fabbri in any deal. And with J.T. aiming for $10 million per or so in today's market, that becomes a tough price to meet with Tarasenko in place and a evolving, growing nucleus of players ready to cash in. To me, J.T. is a goal-scoring center and an offensive focal point, not a guy whose job is to make Tarasenko even better.
I arrived in '86, so I missed him. But I have a friend who once ran in the same social circle as the big fella and he was apparently the best friend ever in tavern scenarios. Nobody bothered his crew.
I believe Dunn played there twice. Traverse City is geared for prospects late in their junior career, players fresh out of college and Europeans lacking major pro experience overseas. It's for prospects who haven't played much against men. Parayko played after leaving college and sampling the AHL. Kostin hardly played last season in Russia due to his shoulder injury., so he is a good candidate for that.
They had fun together in Philly. Might Luke fit in some day? Maybe, but Edmundson has become a nice shutdown guy, Bortuzzo adds a physical element and this franchise is stacking up young puck-moving guys. JayBo still plays big minutes, but he is heading toward the twilight. What happens when his contract is up?
Yeah, some of the analytics impress me as math guys trying to make the sport more complicated than it is. But fans should at least sample some fancy stats since it gives you some insights into the data that teams use to make personnel and lineup decisions.
No. 1 is, of course, Allen. He was lights out down the stretch and in the first playoff round. That guy could elevate the team. But the goaltender who fell apart earlier in the campaign could tank the season.
Beyond that, does Schenn find a productive role? Can the team build a consistently dangerous power play without Shattenkirk running the show? Can Yeo find at lease one regular linemate for Tarasenko and build the of offensive magic that Arvidsson/Johansen/Forsberg developed on Nashville? Can the team build a fourth line that sets a tempo as well as last year's unit? Can Barbashev and Sanford build on last season's late success and add depth? Does Jaskin step out of the haze? Lots to consider.
Right now he excites folks more as a shooter, either on the wing or at center. Vladdy could use a distributor, either on the wing (think Panarin with Kane) or at center. I really like Schwartz across from Tarasenko and I will keep beating that drum until somebody convinces me I'm wrong. I'm interested in seeing if Schenn is any sort of fit, but his even-strength work to this point of his career makes you wonder. What if Barbashev matures and handles the gig between Schwartz and 91, allowing Yeo to spread real offense over three lines?
I'm be pleasantly surprised if Kostin can make the leap with so little experience playing against men. That is doubly true for Kyrou, who played an incomplete game in juniors. Sundqvist likes to mix it up, but can he skate well enough to replace Berglund as the No. 3 center? And, again, with Jaskin, does he wake up this year and become a 15- to -20-goal guy?
With Allen, it's about confidence. He is athletic enough to be more than a "system" goaltender like Elliott, relying on strong positioning within a study defensive structure. Allen can thrive in a more up-and-down game . . . as long as his head is in a good place. He really likes his new goaltender coach and he still has Brodeur looking out for him, so I like his chances of breaking through.
He is a key piece of the nucleus. The Blues expect him to learn from last season's mistake, come back strong from his injury and make an impact as a Top 9 forward. Who knows, perhaps he could become a Gilmour-like center, dogged on the forecheck and creating opportunities with the puck. Surely Armstrong is carving out future cap space for him.
A reunion could make sense, but the STL half of the brotherhood appears to be a marginal prospect at the moment. He proved he can fill in as a NHLer, but his development has come at a deliberate pace. The Blackhawks are sorting through some young D-men this fall and perhaps he could add depth up there for a mid-round pick. Now, if Jordan has a huge camp, he could prove us wrong.
The NHL Network has televised some games in the past, so I would check there. (I tried to call up its schedule and didn't get it to load.)
Colton Parayko needs to use his size more for sure, both around the net and along the walls. Pairing with Edmundson should help with that. Together they were pretty good in the playoffs, giving Yeo a second shut-down pair. Obviously Bortuzzo doesn't mind mixing it up, but he needs to stay healthy and earn that regular third-pairing role. So your point is well-taken.