Blues chat with Jeremy Rutherford

Blues chat with Jeremy Rutherford

Bring your questions about the Blues and the NHL, and talk to Post-Dispatch hockey writer Jeremy Rutherford in a live chat starting at 1 p.m.

    I've heard that Steen is progressing very well. He would like to play in the World Cup with Sweden, but it's going to be tough for him to be ready for that tournament. But even if he's not ready for that tournament, the fact that it's even a possibility tells us that he could be ready for opening night, considering that will be more than a month later. Regarding his contract, I'm hearing that Steen would like to get it done before the season starts. I'm sure the Blues would like that to happen, too, because Armstrong does not want to lose another player to free agency like he did with Backes and Brouwer. But if they can't reach an agreement before the start of the season, does that mean it'll be put on hold until the offseason. Not necessarily. Remember Steen said in the final year of his last contract that he didn't want to negotiate during the season and then voila!, he signed a three-year extension in December that took about a week to negotiate. I think the Blues are comfortable about Steen bouncing back from the shoulder. I just think it's going to come down to finding the deal that both sides are comfortable with, and I don't know if that's going to happen preseason or not.
    JR, last week you talked about how the Blues could’ve possibly gotten Hall from EDM for an unsigned Shatty and “something more”. Any idea what the “something more” was that EDM wanted?
    I don't know the player(s) that Edmonton asked for. I was just told that in addition to Shattenkirk, it was significant. I am of the belief, too, that it was a roster player. And the part about it being a deal for an "unsigned" Shattenkirk was speculation. That's because Edmonton wound up accepting Larsson for Hall, so you would think that they would have accepted Shattenkirk for Hall if they had Shattenkirk signed to an extension.
    So back to Steen, any feel for what he is looking for? Hopefully its not a backs type contract. AS much as I LOVE steen's game, those deals rarely pay off for the team
    Steen will turn 33 next season, and he'll be wrapping up a three-year contract paying him 5.8 million. Armstrong showed in the Backes' negotiation that he's unwilling to go long-term with a player at that age. Steen is a different type player who's well-conditioned, but I can't imagine that would change Armstrong's approach as far as analytics go. I don't think Steen desires a long-term deal either. He wanted to keep the last one three years to give himself a little flexibility. As far as dollars, even at 32, I think he's a player that can command close to $6 million. He might not back to the 33 goals he scored a couple of years ago, but playing with Stastny and Tarasenko next year, he could get close if he stays healthy. Plus, he remains one of the Blues' top leaders. That's how I see his situation.
    With Hitchcock on a 1yr deal do you think he names a captain or do they go with 3 A's and let Yeo pick the following year?
    We won't know until they make a decision, but I think they'll name a captain. I don't think they have to worry about waiting for Yeo to take over because he's here now, and I'm sure he'll be included in the conversations. He might not know some of the players personally, like he will a year from now, but I'm sure he's got a handle on it. So my expectations are that they'll name a captain and two alternates.
    So besides the Steen-Stastny-Tarasenko line Hitch gave you, what were his other lines? Also, does it even matter or will these lines be different by 15 min into training camp anyway?
    I'll pass along the combos that Hitch told me yesterday, but do you really think they'll last 15 minutes? I'm kidding. The only complete line Hitch mentioned was Steen-Stastny-Tarasenko. They've talked about that line a lot and I believe tried it a time or two, but it never stuck. Part of the reason is because Stastny and Tarasenko, it seems, have had trouble gelling. But according to Hitch, they're going to give it a strong look in training camp and see where it goes. After that line, Hitch said that he's going to put Schwartz and Sobotka together. That is a bit surprising, but I guess it shouldn't be. I had been envisioning Sobotka as a bottom-six guy, but Hitch pointed out the past chemistry with Schwartz and Sobotka, so they're going to give those two another look together. He didn't mention a right winger on that line, focusing only on the pair. I then asked him where Fabbri fits. Hitch's response: "Anywhere." They love Fabbri. Hitch said he could play with anyone, but said Lehtera would be an option. Again, he didn't give a right winger for that line. Obviously Perron would go on one of those lines, either with Schwartz and Sobotka or Fabbri and Lehtera. You also have to fit Jaskin or Rattie or somebody in there. After that, you have the fourth line with Upshall, Brodziak, Reaves, Paajarvi, etc.
    What's the latest on Sobotka, is that official yet?
    No change: Both Armstrong and Hitchcock reference Sobotka EVERY SINGLE TIME they talk about the lineup, but there has been no pressure release and no sighting. I know it's frustrating not having confirmation, but keep this in mind: In 13 years of covering this team, the organization has gone out of its way to be on the safe side, never discussing anything until i's are dotted and t's are crossed. The Sobotka situation is obviously different than your typical contract extension or trade, but the organization must be comfortable after talking to Sobotka and his agent that he is coming, or else they would not continue to mention his name and stick they're neck out that he will be on the roster. So they're either uncommonly confident or they know something that they're not officially announcing yet.
    how important is it for a left winger to be left handed and vice versa for right wingers? does it really matter that much? Seems to be more of an issue for defenseman, but I never understood the exact reason(s)
    It's important but not that important. Like you said, probably more important for defensemen. The Blues have had several forwards play on their off side, like Tarasenko for one. It matters to some players but not many.
    In your evaluation of the offseason
    a) DA did the best he could given the circumstances
    b) DA was taken advantage of by Calgary but otherwise did fine
    c) DA should be concerned for his job if this season falters
    d) None of the above (provide response)
    by say NO to Hillary edited by Jeremy Rutherford 7/29/2016 6:46:38 PM
    If I'm reading this right, you're asking about the big picture ... the reason I'm asking is because I've run into a lot of people who have said the Blues must not want to win next year or they're taking a step back, etc. I like to look at the offseason move by move, decision by decision. So with that said, they didn't want to give Backes a fifth year and lost him as a result. You can argue that all day long and will get people on both sides of the arguments. They didn't want to give Brouwer a fourth year and he went to Calgary. I think there's a good chance even if the Blues offered a fourth year that Brouwer would have went to Calgary, where he's building a home. They decided to anoint Allen the starter and trade Elliott to Calgary. I feel knowing the facts about their contract situation and that Elliott's stock was high and he wasn't going to re-sign here after next season that you had to get something for him now. Did they get enough? The goalie market is a bit different from the player market, and considering Anaheim got the 30th pick for a younger Freddy Andersen and the Blues got No. 35 for an older Elliott, I think you can argue they did. But I wouldn't disagree with others who said they didn't. MORE ...
    so having said all that, here's my response
    a) DA did the best he could given the circumstances? When you look at the big picture, few would say that they improves, but when you look at each decision on its own merit, I think Armstrong did what he wanted to do in each situation, sticking to his guns regarding the future of the organization. The Blues may not be better next year as a result, but I think the thorough, more accurate evaluation will take time.
    b) DA was taken advantage of by Calgary but otherwise did fine? Did Calgary take advantage of him? Who could the Bleus have gotten for Elliott?
    c) DA should be concerned for his job if this season falters? No, he has the support of ownership, regardless of the outcome of the 2016-17 season.
    d) None of the above (provide response)
    How could Blues' General Manager Doug Armstrong allow himself to be virtually backed into a corner as to his options in the Kevin Shattenkirk matter and virtually see the "player" directing traffic and calling all the shots?
    What are the odds we see Fabbri at center this season?
    JR, in your professional opinion, is a hot dog a sandwich?
    I've wrapped my head around the reason for Backes departing, but still having trouble doing the same for Brouwer. $4.5M for 4 years seems like it would have been a good deal for the Blues, so what gives? Did Brouwer not like St. Louis or have personal reasons to want to go to Calgary? Did Armstrong see a chink in Brouwer's armor that hasn't been publicized? Or was it really a term issue, even though Brower's only 30 years old? Thanks!
    Do the Blues have any interest in remaining UFAs? A speedy scorer like Brandon Pirri would seem to fit their needs.
    Is Daryl Sydor brought in for 1 year to make sure he behaves himself and then becomes Yeo's assistant once Hitch hangs them up.... also, what odds do you give Hitchcock still being the coach April 2017?
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