My apologies for the delay. I got a return call from Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper for an article that I'm writing about Colton Parayko. Cooper coached him at the World Cup and the World Championships and had a ton of great things to say about him. The story will run Saturday. We'll get chatting momentarily ...
In case you missed it, the Blues made some news today, naming Barret Jackman a development coach. There's a story on the website now and we can discuss it further, if you'd like. We've also got the expansion draft looming, the amateur draft around the corner and your favorite: hypothetical trades. So let's get chattin ...
I think Army realizes that he needs to do something. We all understand that they've put some pieces in place. They didn't necessarily have to rebuild like a lot of teams because they were bringing in players the past few years like Fabbri, Parayko and Edmundson who are ready to contribute now. But there are some holes, particularly at center. There are question marks regarding a few players and how much they can really contribute. It's fine to say that you're in a good spot with your roster, but when you see Nashville make a few bold moves and it pays off, you can't sit back as a GM and think that what you have is going to be good enough. I think Army is going to have to get creative and make this team better than it looks on paper right now.
I don't see why not. This is a player that everybody agrees is a tremendous talent. Armstrong called him a "cornerstone" player and that's a guy who's got to sign him to a contract this summer. What until you read the comments from Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper tomorrow; he just raved about him. Can other teams afford Parayko via an offer sheet? Sure, teams can make it work. I know the recent article published focused on Toronto. Could you imagine that team with Parayko? Wowzers. All that said, Army doesn't seem worried and he's always said that he'll match any offers with his good young players. I don't think there's much reason for concern with this. Yes, a club could offer him $6-7 million, but the Blues are going to pay that eventually, so it ruin the plans they had for the future. The thing is, if it got that high, which I don't think it will, they'd have to trade some salary away.
We probably would all agree that it makes more sense to be a No. 3 on a good team, but in conversations with Shattenkirk and reading his comments since he left the Blues, it sounds like he's got his mind set on being a top-pair guy somewhere. These guys are competitive, that's what got them to this level. They want the biggest role possible, the most minutes possible. We know how good of a player Shattenkirk is and what his weaknesses are and most would probably agree that he is a very good No. 3 defenseman or a decent No. 2. But you're not going to convince a competitive guy like him of that. Plus, don't forget that with the big role comes the big bucks!
I have heard rumblings that Vegas may have some interest in Lehtera and I wouldn't be shocked if the Blues gave up a second-rounder to make the deal work. For those who have been involved in our recent chats, I have said that I couldn't see the Blues giving up one of their first-rounders, but a second would make more sense. And as far as Justin Williams, he's a guy I believe the Blues would have some interest in.
There's been speculation that we could see some action any day now. Teams including the Blues have been talking to Vegas GM George McPhee for weeks about potential deals. As I've mentioned in recent chats, Armstrong said specifically that he'd be talking to McPhee again in early June. We've got less than three weeks before the protected lists are due and released, so these deals will have to come together soon.
Just to keep everybody up to speed, Brodziak has one more year left on his contract, so he's expected to be back. I would assume that he's slotted for that fourth-line center role again, but i don't think he's cemented there. When you're a healthy scratch in the playoffs, I don't think we can say he's got a hold on that spot. Plus the Blues now have a better understanding what they have in Barbashev, Sanford, etc.,and they're getting Fabbri back. I'm not saying those guys are fourth-line material, but there's a trickle-down effect when those guys are in the lineup ... so we'll see.
Yes, the name is changing to TD Ameritrade. According to reports when the sale took place, the name change was expected to happen this year.
I don't think so, but it depends what the roster looks like in camp. Did the Blues add some help at center over the offseason? As I wrote in the article, they moved Thompson to the middle after starting out on the wing with the Wolves, and Thompson himself said the reason was because the Blues see him at center. I don't see him being ready to make the jump at the start of the 2017-18 season, but IF he gains the 15 pounds and IF the Blues need help in that spot, perhaps he gets a look. But I think we're looking further down the road with Thompson, later in the year or even 2018-19.
This question could take some explaining, but I'll do my best quickly. Ray Bennett is a hard worker and a good coach and it doesn't matter that he didn't play. The head coaches the Blues have had saw what Bennett brought to the table and knew the importance of keeping him around. So why did they let him go? Army said they wanted to give Yeo a fresh start with a new staff, re-energize the team. I can understand that, and let's keep in mind that being in one place for 10 years is a miracle in the NHL, so I think Bennett can understand it too. Why didn't get Shaw get consideration for the 'Coach in waiting?" For whatever reason, he had been overlooked a couple of times when the job came open. I think the Blues saw him as an assistant, a VERY good assistant, but not a head coach. I think he would have been interested in the 'Coach in waiting,' but I don't know that he wanted to stick around for another year under Hitchcock ... same with Muller. And I don't know that the Blues saw Muller as a solid choice for the 'Coach in waiting' as the fans and some media did. Muller too, because of his playing experience, is very valuable to a staff, but I'm not sure he's head coach material.
I think Berube is waiting to hear back from Buffalo and Buffalo is waiting to talk to Nashville's Phil Housley. So while I don't know that he's out of the mix with the Sabres, he's not out either. Like I've said many times, Berube wants to be an NHL head coach again. It sounds nice coming to the Blues, but Yeo is under contract for three years, so it's not like there's going to be an opening soon. So does he want to plant seeds in St. Louis with the hope of leaving in a year or two? Who knows. We do know that he is the Blues' first choice for the top assistant role and I believe that Michel Therrien is next in line. So it'll be Berube's job if he wants it.
I would guess no. He's 37, he had 50 points last year (enough to make Lehtera jealous, but not a lot) and he'll cost a pretty penny. Even it's not the $6.6 million he made last year, he'll probably cost more than a team like the Blues would be willing to pay.
They're just rumblings ... remember Vegas has to spend some money and they're may not be a ton of available players with "big" salaries.
I'll focus on whatever you want. Those are the questions are cued up for me. I'm not going to make excuses for the Blues and why they don't have a cap. There's been AT TIMES bad ownership, management, coaching and player performance for a long time. There's also been good teams and near misses. They don't have a Cup and it is what it is, no excuses. It does help that they've had two generational players in Lemieux and Crosby, not to mention Jagr. But the Blues could have had Toews and took Johnson instead. Who knows what would have happened if they took Toews. But we can focus on that stuff 40 weeks a year. It's early in the offseason and that's usually when we have a variety of questions.
You can't have a stuff of four coaches who are all alike. Therrien is an established coach who had Pittsburgh on the brink of a Cup before Bylsma came in and sealed the deal. He's great friends with Yeo and if he's willing to work under Yeo, then why not? Plus, the Blues' staff is looking mighty young these days, so an older voice whether it's Berube or Therrien would be welcomed.
Get him and then figure it out. He'll fit somewhere.
From what I've heard and read, the Blues plan to move forward with the renovations this month. They have too. If they don't get started now, the upgrades wont' be ready by the start of the season. They can't sit around and let these threats stall things.
Yes, Malkin too. I nearly typed his name too but didn't want to come across like it was excuse-laden.
I haven't spoken to Jackman yet, but I gather that he'll be working with prospects at various positions. He'll obviously have a better handle on the defensemen, but I don't think he'll be limited to that.
I wouldn't be the person to ask. But if you send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), I'll forward it on to a couple of scouts that I know. Good luck in high school. It was the best six years of my life!