I honestly haven't seen him play much. He's 23 and has suited up in just 28 NHL games. What I've heard in talking with the Pittsburgh writers is that he's looked really good in the AHL (25 goals, 63 points, 118 games), but not great in the NHL (1 goal, 4 points). But I will reiterate something Army said, that Sundqvist had a tough lineup to crack in Pittsburgh. So I don't have a feel yet for his ceiling and, like you, I'm looking forward to getting a look.
I can't pretend to know what he's thinking now, much less a couple of years from now. But he doesn't seem like a guy who's going to approach things that way. First off, I don't think he's taken his Blues' development camp jersey off, so he's super excited about the opportunity. We'll have to see where stacks up in camp and then what the Blues have in mind for him this season.
I think he'd be great for the Blues, but you're going to have to give up something significant for him and it's going to have to include some salary to offset the $5.5 million AAV he has through 2020-21.
So Vegas is going to get off to a pretty good start, eh?
Well, any contract that raises the bar is going to have an effect on all contracts over time. But as you said, McDavid is a special player, so there are very few players who are worth $12-13 million AAV. Tarasenko is signed through 2022-23, so the Blues fortunately don't have to worry about that. But honestly, even if he were UFA today, I don't think he'd command near that much. Tarasenko is a terrific offensive weapon, but McDavid brings everything (speed, hands, speed, hands, speed and hands). The Blues did get a bargain with Tarasenko, as we said at the time. I still think in a couple of years his $7.5 million AAV won't look like much. That said, you can count on a couple fingers how many players in the league are worth $12-13 million per. However, when one guy gets paid, the other guys will get paid too when they're contracts are due.
The Blues, as I've reported before, will have their own affiliate in 2018-19. I know that it will be an AHL franchise that is already established, not the expansion team. I thought there might be an announcement by now, but while plans are in place, they are still finalizing things behind the scenes. I would think we'd hear something in the next month.
In the past? Gomez, Upshall, Arnott. They've brought in a lot of 'name' guys over the past few years. As far as this year, I haven't seen any commitments yet. They usually leak out in the next few weeks.
I love Draisaitl and every team in the league would love to have him. But I don't consider the Blues having enough depth that they could move Parayko and be OK. He is a major, major part of that defense. Even with Edmundson, Dunn, Schmaltz, Lindbohm and Walman, moving Parayko would make for a huge hole. I know you weren't asking about trading Draisaitl for Parayko straight up, you were asking an either/or situation and to answer that you have to keep in mind their salaries. Draisaitl is going to get a double-digit AAV right? Parayko will sign between $5-6 million. With that in mind, I'm not sure I don't stick with Parayko at that price and try to find a cheaper option at forward. I know that may sound crazy, Draisaitl would be what the Blues need, but they also need Parayko.
Two reasons: The Blues felt they needed some muscle and who knows if the Blues had interest in Doan/Iginla/Jagr they even want to play here. Fans might think it's a good idea and a cheap(er) option, but that does't mean a 38-year or 44-year old guy wants to come here on a one-year, $1 million deal. If the Blues didn't think they needed muscle, and thus didn't sign Thorburn, I think they would have stayed within the organization to fill that fourth-line RW spot.
Tarasenko, Bennett, Paajarvi, Jaskin, Thorburn ... Yes, Bennett is one of the few right-hand shots on the team, so I think that does give him a small advantage.
There will probably be a lot that goes into the decision on the 7th defenseman. Of course, who has the best camp out of the candidates (Lindbohm, Walman, Dunn, Schmaltz) ... Also, who has a left or right shot could have an effect. Meaning, if Gunnarsson (Ieft) or Bortuzzo (right) don't look good for whatever reason, which prospect could the Blues put in the 7th spot that could step in for one of those guys ... Also, do the Blues have spots in the AHL for their prospects? This is probably a little far-fetched, but if you don't have a good spot for one of those prospects and you want to keep them playing, do you keep one or more of them on the roster. Again, far-fetched, but not having an affiliate is new territory for the organization.
It's not ideal. On faceoffs and exiting the D zone, it's important to have some right-shot guys. The Blues missed Brodziak's right-shot in those situations when he was out with the broken foot last year. It would be better if they had more balance.
He's 24, so you hate to say that. This is the last year of his contract and he'll still be RFA next summer, so I couldn't see the Blues giving up on him. But if he has another dud year, he's going to make it hard on himself.
I'm always willing to talk more Blues, but let's keep in mind, it's July. Like the Post-Dispatch, 101 does a great job covering hockey with multiple "insiders" providing reports all season and in the offseason, too. I know everybody wants their hockey fix year-long, but it is July.
Yeo had a relationship with Thorburn in Pittsburgh and likes him a lot.
I don't think you're alone. Great team, one of the best goalies in the league and now you add Panarin!
Both are very accessible and friendly to the media. We do have the ability to reach out, but I try to keep that to the bare minimum. There's enough interview opportunities everyday to get answers to your questions.
It was well-received and I would have to believe that it would continue.