Sure, but he is a destined NHL forward. Just a matter of when. He is proving he can create offense, but he must prove he can make consistently sound plays with the puck while keeping up with the NHL pace and competing shift to shift. Scoring goals is great, but you have to win puck battles to get the ice time to score those goals. But there are reasons for optimism there.
Not based on the criteria used for the last assembly. Youth was not served. Now, 2022 is a long ways off.
If Kostin can't play and compete at the NHL pace at this point, he would be a drag on that line. You have to get the puck before you can shoot it. NHL games are series of 1 million puck battles. Every team wants to press and force turnovers. Not saying Kostin must become another Sobotka on the puck, but he will need to hold his own to get a Top 6 forward spot. Getting there in a few short weeks of preseason play is hard.
That will have little bearing on whether he makes the team. As we note every week, handedness is a much bigger issue for defensemen.
Some people like that, but the absence of big names will kill TV ratings. Cinderella stories are fun, but fans want action and star power.
This Blues can hunt the puck and score goals. Schwartz, Steen, Fabbri, Sobotka . . . they can get on the puck. They have two of the top 20 or 25 D-men in the league and the pieces for strong special teams too. As for identity, the Pens' identity is Sidney Crosby and the Oilers' identity is Connor McDavid. Edmonton has been selecting at the top of drafts forever and yet the Oilers wallowed in mediocrity until McDavid showed.
Berglund is useful player in that regard, so he will be missed. That's the sort of player Jaskin could have developed into . . . but he didn't. I see the Blues shifting into a lot of 1-3-1 this season with Schenn operating higher in the slot and Stastny getting in down low to jam the net. I thought post-Shattenkirk Pietrangelo did a better job getting pucks through traffic and on goal, but point play remains a concern -- especially with Steen eliminated as an option early on.
This owner, no. Could the group sell out some day? Sure, if all efforts to make hockey viable in St. Louis fail. Would Kansas City support hockey? Who knows. Seattle appears to be next up on the western side of the league for expansion or a team move.
It's the old "we don't want a lame duck coach" thing. The owner there has coin and if he has to cap Paul he will. I can't imagine a team with that sort of talent missing the playoffs, but somehow Maurice failed. The Jets had a terrible power play last year and they check well. Also, could they have done better than Steve Mason to shore up the goaltending?
Armstrong is a well-respected and connected guy. He has done a ton of international work in addition to running the Stars and Blues. Hockey greats want to stay in the game and Armstrong likes to hear their viewpoints. Most management teams would not welcome all those voices.
The Blues are pretty happy with Hutton. Husso is an interesting guy, but he has a lot to prove before getting serious consideration is No. 3. But, yes, the lack of a dedicated farm team is especially hard on the goaltenders. They could suffer the most from this.
Coaches can stress tenacity, but either players are tenacious or they are not. That is a huge issue at the NHL Draft. There are some high picks who top out as third-liners. They got picked because they won battles, not because they had big upside. The Blues have picked some high-upside guys later in the first round or in later rounds hoping they would forge that edge later.
Some guys find the internal motivation to pick up their intensity and become more dogged, but no amount of motivational effort will get some guys to play that way. And, again, this is a puck battle league. There are few openers for drifters.
Thomas is playing tonight in D.C.. He has been an early standout. As for Oskar Sundqvist, he looks the part of a No. 3 center but we have to see how he competes against NHL veterans when a job is on the line -- which, for him, it is. I believe he is at least a fill-in for this team.
Injuries to Berglund and Sanford will give Jaskin some extra preseason looks, but he failed to respond to the coaching change last season and there will be some roster crowding if this team gets healthy. Unless he finds a higher gear soon, he could bide his time as an extra guy here before exiting at some point for a draft pick.
He is a good back-up fit and those can be hard to find. If Allen is The Man, the back-up could be a vet like Hutton and young goaltender with the most promise could 55 to 60 games in the AHL. That could be next year's scenario.
I like him a lot. He has progressed steadily in his career. He clashed with the previous coaching and is much more comfortable now. This season is his big test -- can he minimize his slumps and remain on top of his game from month to month? Last season's meltdown was concerning, but he bounced back an amazing run under Yeo.
No idea because beyond Tarasenko, Schwartz, Fabbri, Thomas, Thompson and Kostin, it's hard to project folks that far down the line. If Schenn excels, the Blues will try to extend him because it's hard to find Top 6 forwards. But that is a big if. Based on the first six guys, Schwartz and Tarasenko flanking Fabbri could be a nice line as could Thompson and Kostin flanking Thomas.
Hitchcock demanded a heavy style and it paid off with one Final Four run. This team plays a more tenacious style based on quickness, so I don't see the beat-themselves-up thing being an excuse.
If the Blues have to find something in Chesterfield they will. At some point I believe they will find people who want the business. There is demand for ice time, as you note, and the Blues need to get out of the otherwise abandoned Mills.
I noted Blais earlier -- what a great story. The Chicago staff loved his work last season and those guys are working with Yeo now. Surprise cut? We've talked about Jaskin. Injuries are extending his opportunities, but he just hasn't done much other than that one playoff goal to make his case.
Doan announced his retirement. He's moving on.