My apologies for the delay. Whether it was wireless issues or whatever, I had trouble getting into the chat room. But it looks we're functioning now, and I know everybody has some shopping to do today, so let's get chattin' ...
Who's available? Good centers are at a premium. You've either got to groom one or buy one and the Blues tried to buy one with Stastny. They also drafted Lehtera and brought him in, although he wasn't your typical "brought up through the system player." I think Stastny has been good, may not as many points as you'd like but his overall game is good. Lehtera has struggled to the player the Blues want. So let's talk about where we're at now. You want to a No. 1 or 2 center, like a lot of people do. Look at the good ones around the league: Toews, McDavid, etc. ... all drafted by their teams. If the Blues want one, they're going to have to make a trade, and you're not getting one of the top guys. So you're looking at a guy like David Krejci from Boston. Is he available? It doesn't sound like it. We could keep exploring here, but I've already taken up too much time answering this. Point is, good ones aren't available, who is available and what are you willing to give up?
This will be interesting because I we know how much they like Edmundson, but Bortuzzo is playing well. His minutes were way up the past couple of games and today they played him with Shattenkirk. Gunnarsson slipped down and was playing with Parayko. Could Gunnarsson be holding Edmundson's spot until he's ready? We'll see.
I do. He isn't playing well and I don't know that he deserves to be in the lineup right now. Sometimes people will say you have to give a guy 15 minutes a game, let him play in the top six, and if not you're not giving him a chance. Not true, especially in this case. He has to earn it. I'm not saying he's not trying, or doesn't want to play well. But he's just not delivering in the limited time he's getting. Go back and watch one of the Ovechkin goals, I think it was No. 2. Cross-ice seam pass right past Yakupov, whose stick is not on the ice. He doesn't deserve more ice right now.
Steen did practice today, the first time in nine days with the team, but afterwards Hitch didn't have an update, saying we'd know more in the next couple of days. He didn't participate in the power-play drills. So I'd rule him out tomorrow against Saturday and right now Monday against Dallas looks very questionable.
I would think there's a good chance none of the three will play. Paajarvi of course is in the minors and Steen's availability, as I mentioned, doesn't look likely, and we could probably see Rattie step in for Yakupov.
We just delved into Yakupov's situation. As far as Rattie, I think this is a little bit concerning. You can't have a 23-year-old in Rattie's situation playing two out of 21 games. He needs to develop. He's unfortunately caught in a situation where he's grateful to have the one-way contract , but it means the Blues can't send him to the AHL without the possibility of losing him on waivers. I'm not saying he deserves to be in the Blues' lineup regularly, but he's got to be playing somewhere. This is good for no one. Now, some of you might be saying Yakupov is 23 and his situation is identical. Not to me. He's played in 16 games this year. He's had a chance to prove himself a little more and not done so. Both players have fans pushing for them to play, but the bottom line is the Blues are trying to win games right now and they've got to put in the guy that gives them the best chance. Right now neither one of those guys has distinguished himself, but regardless I believe Rattie needs to be playing ... somewhere.
I would not be surprised if JVR were included in a potential deal. Toronto offered him up in a deal (last year?) but I believe the Leafs wanted Fabbri. No dice.
They've been better. Yes, checking and shooting is always going to be their calling card. They've been doing it more often and it's translated into goals and wins. But as I'll write for tomorrow's paper, the Blues have had an uptick in offense, but Hitch believes it's because they're not covering up their own end very well. In other words, they're trading chances again, which they don't want to do. But it has been better and that's progress.
Yes, both the Blues and Chicago have released their alumni rosters. I don't have them on hand, but I blogged the Blues' roster, so you could find that with a quick google search. Yeah, it is unfortunate to miss out a few of those household names, but with the Winter Classic being here at Busch finally, I don't think anybody's complaining. I don't know who will be in town for the alumni game, but yeah, I'm sure there will be more than the players who are listed on the roster. Should be a great weekend, like you said.
Jordan Schmaltz missed the first part of the year with an upper-body injury. He played two games, but then he's been out the last two. I'm not sure of the reason, but will check into it.
Parayko, as Tom pointed out, is shooting more. I've got him for 37 shots directed at the net in the last six games. He might not getting off the wide-open one-timer from the top of the circles that everybody wants to see, but he's getting shots off and some through. It's a work in progress. Again, as Tom said, this is a young guy who we thought we'd see this season for the first time, not last year. They are working with him and are trying to get him to use the shot more.
I was actually driving down the highway thinking about Brian Elliott's situation today. For those who haven't seen, Calgary is running with Chad Johnson as the starter and he's been really good. Elliott is basically now the backup. I admire Elliott for wanting to go somewhere else and prove himself. He could have stayed put in St. Louis and remained comfortable with familiar teammates and a familiar system. Had he done that, he would have become an unrestricted free agent after this season and probably commanded a nice salary in free agency. Instead he went to Calgary where they were reportedly talks about a contract extension, but with the situation now, those appeared to have cooled off. If nothing changes the rest of this year, he'll land somewhere in free agency, but it won't be as a potential starter for starter money as he might have gotten if he finished out this season in St. Louis. Again, you've got to admire his desire to want to prove himself and earn a big payday, but he's finding out how difficult that is to do in Calgary.
He's got this year and another year left on his deal. A little too far out to project, but if we had guess, I do think both sides would have some interest. From Stastny's perspective, he likes it here, he's got some teammates that he's close with (Steen, Schwartz) that are now signed long-term and the Blues are moving forward next year with Mike Yeo. As far as how much he'd cost, I don't think it would be what he's making now ($7 million). He capitalized by hitting the market at the right time and he was one of the few available top-six centers. Hard to predict what salaries will look like it two years, but it seems like he might be had for something in the $5-6 million range. He'll be going on 33 by then.
Possibly, but to me it's never been about whether the Blues have enough money to sign Shattenkirk. It's more about whether they want to pay him $6 million plus. Also, do you want to lock in Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk on the right side, making the third pair the ceiling for Parayko?
Those are probably the preferred destinations, but I've talked to his camp and they would be willing to play in the West, depending on the team.
I understand what you're saying and I would tend to agree. If they're starting to put things together, it seems like they'd want to run with it unless something just makes too much sense. But to me, this team is still missing something. They need Lehtera to pick up the pace and they need more from their third line. So while I wouldn't be running out to make a trade for the sake of making a trade, you have to see how you could be better in these areas. You also have the Shattenkirk situation that needs to be addressed one way or the other, which affects what you do.
Very valid point and I'm sure a concern when the Blues think about any potential Shattenkirk deals. But could the player(s) they get for him help fill production in another area (third line)? Also, is Shattenkirk the difference in making a playoff run. Are you going to win the Cup with him and you might lose that chance if you don't have him? If the answer is he's the difference-maker, then perhaps you keep him and roll the dice. But if he's not, you've got to get something for him. The Blues can't afford to lose Oshie/Brouwer ... Backes ... Shattenkirk ... for nothing.
You certainly look better today with Backes. But in three or four years when you want to sign Player X to really bolster your team, would Backes' $5 million deal be hamstringing the payroll. That's how you have to look at it.
I'm not saying the Blues would have interest necessarily. What I meant was I wouldn't be surprised if that's what Toronto was offering. The Blues do have a lot on the left side, but as we know Steen and Perron can play on the right. Schwartz and Fabbri are really the only ones tied down to the left side.
Happy Thanksgiving. I understand where you're coming from but I gave you my thoughts on his situation. Look, the Blues don't want to play him 10 minutes on the third line, so they're not going to give him more minutes and more games on a line with Tarasenko. It may not seem like a fair shake when we turn on the TV and he's not playing. But you change that in practice and in the seven or eight minutes you're getting and he's not doing that.
Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or drive around just about any fast-food joint in the St. Louis area and you're bound to run into me.