Good afternoon everyone, happy Friday and happy Memorial Day weekend. If you've got plans, have a blast. If you don't have plans, have a blast. For those in St. Louis, hopefully the good weather sticks around. Well, the Blues were in the news this week with Ken Hitchcock opening up a bit on his time in St. Louis. We also had two assistant coaches hired that we can discuss. What else do you have? I've got one hour and the clock starts right now, so let's get chattin ...
It was released on June 21 last year. It's usually around that time.
From what I witnessed, Blues players really respected him when he was here. I understand why he has the reputation he has, as a chirper, because that's what he does. But I honestly do think that his knowledge of the game and hockey sense is underrated. So I understand the concern regarding a guy coaching 19 guys who he was teammates with two seasons ago. But like Ott said in the article, he had one-on-one coaching conversations with them as teammates, so it won't be anything new to them to have it coming from him now. Also, keep in mind what Yeo said in the story: the Blues wanted someone in that role who the players could be honest with in terms of getting their message delivered to the coaching staff. Well, that's what Ott will be doing. I don't know, but I think it can work.
I was surprised, yes. His name had not come up in speculation and Ott himself said it was kept under wraps. As far as the remaining vacancies, the Blues still need to hire a top assistant for the bench. I think they'd like that to be Craig Berube, but as I've reported Berube really wants to be a head coach and Buffalo and Florida remain open. I don't think he's a favorite for either, but his name is in the hat. It seems the Blues are waiting out that situation. If not Berube, I think it may go to Therrien. Yeo worked with him in Pittsburgh and loves him. It apparently won't be Dan Bylsma, whom Yeo also worked with in Pittsburgh. The Blues also need to hire a goaltending coach, but at this point, I don't have any names for you.
Yes. I didn't have the space to squeeze that into today's article, but I will be writing about it when the Blues complete their staff. Look at the previous staff: Hitchcock (65), Rick Wilson (66), Ray Bennett (55). Well, now you've got Yeo (43), Sydor (45) and Ott (34). That average could go up if Berube or Therrien gets the assistant job, but the blueprint is obviously a younger staff. Yeo had some comments on that that again I didn't get into today's article, but I will soon. They realize the league is getting younger and younger and I think having younger coaches who can relate better is a plus.
Perhaps. I see it in Ott more than Upshall, but you never know.
I haven't had seen him or had an conversations about him since locker clean-out day. But he was skating and, according to Armstrong, still on track to be ready for training camp.
With Sobotka, Berglund, Lehtera, Barbashev, Sanford, etc., I think they're pretty set with potential third-line centers. True, Hanzal may be better than all of them, but I don't think that's a priority for what he would probably cost. They need a top-six center.
I did not, but he REALLY likes Nashville. He said he was going to spend the 10-11 hrs on the road to Dallas thinking up ways to beat them.
I think Nashville can do it, but gosh, it seems like Crosby and a couple of those Penguins can will that team to wins. My heart says the Predators but my noggin says Pens.
It depends who they protect as the 7th forward: Perron, Reaves or Jaskin. Whichever two aren't protected could go. On defense, I could see Gunnarsson being picked up, and in goal, I wouldn't be surprised if Vegas liked Hutton. I would think that if Armstrong knew George McPhee wanted Hutton, the Blues would do whatever they could to keep him.
Without Shattenkirk as a trade chip, I don't know what the Blues would have to give up to get Drouin. But if they could give up something that didn't create a huge hole on the NHL roster, I think they would do it.
The AHL will be expanding by one team at some point. But I think that in one year the Blues will likely be affiliated with an independently-owned franchise already in existence.
It depends who they lose in the expansion draft, but if they need to sign a right winger, I think Washington's Justin Williams could be a target.
That's a good question. The arrangement (or lack of an arrangement) could lead to some moves or decisions that we wouldn't normally see. But I've got to believe that the Blues are going to operate as normally as possible, meaning if a guy like Thompson isn't ready, he's not going to be in St. Louis. If he's got to play in Grand Rapids, or wherever to get ice time and mature, then so be it. It's not going to be ideal, but they're not going to play him here if he's not ready and it won't do any good keeping him as the 13-14 forward. So they're going to have to bite the bullet as much as possible and keep these young guys playing.
I don't have any confirmation on this, but I'd imagine both sides know where the other stands. Parayko has arbitration rights, so if they don't have a deal done by the arbitration deadline, then it'll go to arb and we'll have a resolution by August.
We've touched on this in the past, but we can do it again. The change of scenery has helped Cole immensely. He's on a good team and he's been given a chance to contribute and done fairly well with it. I don't think he was going to develop here because he didn't seem to fit in with the locker room, and also because the coaches didn't trust him enough. He made some mistakes that gave the coaches a reason not to play him a ton, but with more minutes, he might have fought through those growing pains like he has in Pittsburgh. We're not talking about Shea Weber here, Cole hasn't gone on and turned into an all-star with the Penguins. But he's been more than a serviceable player, making some heads spin, like yours.
No, I don't think there's a chance he'll be protected. I shouldn't have left him off the list, but the question seemed to be focused on which player(s) could the Blues lose. I just don't see Lehtera being taken unless the Blues sweeten the pot for Vegas, so that's why I didn't mention him.
A lot of people have asked this, so I'm glad you brought it up. Who really knows the absolute truth, but here's what I've been told and how I see it. Armstrong, like in the case of Ott, might be the one reaching out because he has the relationship and knows it could work out. But Armstrong told me that ultimately the candidate has to come in and sit with Yeo and see if it's a match. Armstrong may have a little more control on the decisions than we're lead to believe - like with Berube/Therrien, too - but before reaching that conclusion you have to question yourself why he would create a situation that may not work. Yeo is the one who has to spend every waking hour with these people. I think Armstrong offers some pretty strong advice on these hires, but leans heavily on what Yeo thinks.
I've been asked that proposition a lot, giving up a first-rounder to get rid of Lehtera. I guess you can't rule out anything, especially since the Blues have two first-rounders, but man I couldn't see them doing that. So basically you're losing Shattenkirk and a big piece of the return for him to get rid of a player. Yeah, I get you're free up the salary from Lehtera's contract, but I just don't see how you can run a team like that. A draft pick maybe, but not a first-rounder.
I think so. He's played pretty well when he's been the NHL, but it's been hard to crack the lineup on a consistent basis with the depth the Blues have had on the blueline. I hate to keep bringing up the expansion draft, but if the Blues were to lose Gunnarsson, then Lindbohm could be a candidate for that spot. And if they're not going to play him, they're going to have to move him at some point, because with Dunn and Walman coming up, Lindbohm is eventually going to be passed up.