The third day of the Blues prospect camp is underway, with scrimmages in a couple of hours for those of you in the St. Louis area. I know there's probably a lot of you that wish you were in town so that you could see the future of the Blues. I'll do my best to answer questions about the camp, the start of free agency and anything else you have on your mind. We'll need to keep the chat to an hour today so I can get back to the practice, so let's get chattin ...
The Blues are fairly well set. They have a couple of holes on the right side with Perron heading to Vegas and Reaves being traded. Army has said they will try to address Perron's spot internally, but I don't see it. I think they're going to have to look into free agency and see if there's fit. As far as Reaves spot, I think they will definitely try to find a replacement in free agency. Chris Neil and Chris Thorburn come to mind.
That's always hard to say because you just don't know what injuries the Blues are going to face and who's going to under-perform, which could lead to the team giving Thompson a look. I remember last year, I didn't think Barbashev would be in the NHL. They really wanted to keep in the AHL and keep him playing well. But there was a need and he came up and handled himself well. Thompson really, really needs the time in the AHL and I think again the Blues would like him to take his time developing there. But if the need arises ...
I do. I know he's got some other offers, and obviously it'll come down to who makes the best pitch for the 38-year-old. But that could be the Blues, who won't overpay but have the room. It's a team that can win and they've got a glaring hole with Reaves' absence. So it appears to be an attractive situation, but Neil is going to have his pick of a few teams. If not Neil, I think it's going to be somebody. It seems the Blues have decided that they do want to add that element.
They're being leaked by the agents and probably a few players. The NHL calls it the "courting" period and has warned teams that they're not supposed to talk contract terms with the players. But I don't think anybody ever believed that teams would follow the rules.
I only know what I read in Dan Caesar's column in the Post-Dispatch today. There is a stalemate in his contract negotiations and Pang certainly has other options. Most fans in St. Louis enjoy his personality and like his work, so it would be a shame if they couldn't figure it out. But these are negotiations and this is what happens.
I don't think there's been much, if any, dialogue with the Blues. He'll hit the market tomorrow, but I couldn't guess where he'll go. He had a nice year last year with 10 goals and 18 points on the fourth line, which was the Blues' best at times. I would think he'll find a deal similar to the one he's played on in St. Louis (about $900k or $1 mil). I wouldn't think he'll have to go somewhere on a tryout again.
How about his tweets yesterday? If you didn't see them, you've got to find his account? Jagr made a joke about how every free-agent forward is getting calls from 10-12 teams around the league and he is getting none. He later posted two pictures of himself, one circa the mid-1990s with a six-pack of abs and said every GM was calling then and none are calling in 2017. It was hysterical. He's 45 but obviously he can still play. Could he help? Sure. But the Blues have a good thing going with their young foundation and I just don't know if a 45-year-old, yes even if it's Jaromir Jagr, is the help they're looking for.
This is an interesting situation. As I mentioned a minute ago, the fourth line was the Blues' best line at times last year. Now you're losing Reaves and probably Upshall too, leaving Brodziak as the only guy standing. I still think Brodziak can contribute and his veteran presence will probably take on more significance now with one linemate gone and the other probably gone. But remember, Brodziak was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. The injury to Berglund changes things a bit, but I think Brodziak is going to have to battle for his spot. The Blues have options with what they want to do with the fourth line and if they go in the direction of Barbashev, Paajarvi, Sanford, etc., then Brodziak could be in some trouble. But with his presence, along with Berglund's injury, I think they'll be leaning on him at the start.
There's just so much going on there. Does he want to play in the NHL or doesn't he? Is he posturing for a bigger deal? Can you count on him? In a perfect world, he'd announce his intentions to play in the NHL, the league would clear up his status and the Devils would shop him quickly. I do think the Blues (because of Brodeur) would have a shot at the right price. But it just seems like there are so many hurdles that it's not even worth talking about until something more concrete happens.
I don't get it from Minnesota's perspective. I know they've been trying to trade a D-man and it gives them some cap space. But I liked Scandella and I thought having a guy like Pominville on your fourth line was some pretty good depth. Looks like a lot to give up for what they got back, but I guess let's see what the Wild do with the money.
I like the move and I think Schenn can help the Blues. Will it be at center? Maybe. But if the question is "Who do the Blues have to set up Tarasenko?" I don't believe the answer is "Schenn." He's good and he can score, but he's not the setup guy that many Blues have envisioned Tarasenko having at one point in his career. And maybe that's not what the Blues have in mind, either. The search to help Tarasenko will likely continue. But the bottom line is they had to make that deal, as it represents a huge upgrade over Lehtera whether Schenn plays on the wing or center.
Walman has looked really good and Kyrou has shown some flashes too. Kostin has been impressive, but he's only participating in drills, not the scrimmage. Thompson has had his moments, but it's obvious that he needs to get bigger.
Regarding Kostin's contract with Moscow Dynamo, there are reports out of Russia that the team's bankruptcy situation could lead to the team releasing its players from their contracts over the week. That could make Kostin an UFA (which has nothing to do with the Blues having his rights) and he would be free to sign an entry-level deal with the Blues and play in North America this year. That's a developing situation.
No, but the salary-cap picture is a lot more clear now that the Blues have gotten through the expansion draft and made the Lehtera and Reaves trades. The Blues have about $10.8 million left in cap space according to Capfriendly.com, which leaves them with more than enough to re-sign Parayko and at least one forward (maybe two) in free agency. This doesn't change what the Blues plan to pay for Parayko. They've known the ballpark figure all along and I would guess it's in the $5-6 million range. That could fluctuate depending on the length of the deal, as I've said in the past, but that number should get it done.
Yes, it's the second time in three years. The last time, the Blues said that he injured it in Sweden, but he did take a spill in a pick-up practice St. Louis and that's when he suddenly needed the surgery. Also, it was to the left shoulder, and Berglund had already been dealing with problems with that shoulder, so it wasn't a surprise. This is one, to the right shoulder, was a surprise. It sounds like a freak accident while he was training, so with the two stories having different circumstances, I don't think it's a situation where we can really link it to his training.
The newcomer, Sundqvist, is a right shot, but your observation is valid. I remember Hitch saying last year that the Blues missed having a right shot when he was out with the broken foot, not necessarily for shooting but for zone exits, etc. I would think that is in Army's mind as he approaches free agency.
Nashville has 19 players signed and $22 million left in cap space, according to Capfriendly. So the Predators have the space to do what they want, plus we don't know yet what they'd be giving up in the Duchene deal. I'm sure some salary would be going the other way. They're set up pretty good financially, but with the success they had going to the Cup final, it's going to be hard to keep everybody when they're deals are up. But their Big 4 on defense are all signed through next season, so they've got a little time on their side.
Those are some good candidates, but I think the names Berglund, Bouwmeester and Armstrong have come up a few times, too. If I had to pick a winner, though, it would probably be Sobotka.
He was offered to the Blues a few years ago, but the Leafs were asking for Fabbri and Lindbohm, so it never happened. He wouldn't be a bad add by the Blues, but I don't know if the Blues have room for another left winger with Schwartz, Fabbri and Steen. Perhaps if Fabbri clicked a center, it could work, but we don't know how that's going to look yet. Also, JVR is making $4.25 million next year and, depending on who the Blues moved in a deal, that could squeeze the Blues tight on the cap.
I'm with you. Why didn't we see the numbers?