There are a few, but like every year, the big ones are going to get overpaid and the second-tier guys may not be what you're looking for. I would think fans would be happy with Justin Williams or Joe Thornton but they're going to cost and may not want to come here. Then who's available? Remember last year when the Blues didn't re-sign Backes and Brouwer ... everyone wanted guys like Lucic, Okposo, Ladd, etc., but they signed for big money. The Blues went with Perron. So there are players available, but what do you want to pay?
No. First of all, the Blues have built some momentum with the trip to the Western Conference, the Winter Classic, and the departure of the Rams, so why ruin it. Then if you do tank it, who's to say the No. 1 center is going to be in the draft and who's to say you're even going to get the No. 1 pick with the way they've reconfigured the draft lottery? There's way too many variables in play for teams to think that way, especially the Blues.
I believe they reached out to his camp, but that doesn't put them in the mix. Many believe he'll stay in San Jose and if not, he'll stay on the West Coast. I would think the stars would have to align in order for Thornton to pick the Blues among the options he'll have and for them to make the salary work with their cap.
He's got size and skill, so the future is bright. But like David Backes 13 years ago, he's got to put some meat on. He can either go to the AHL for a year and work on that, or follow me around for a week.
Let me answer a couple more and then I'm going to get back to today's practice.
It looks like I accidentally clicked on two questions, so let's answer both in order ...
On Shattenkirk, I still believe the Rangers are the front-runner and I've been reading that New Jersey is now a possibility. Tampa Bay has reached out to him, too, and wouldn't that be something if he winds up there? Blues fans would have a cow after Shattenkirk passed up the deal with the Bolts that would have given them Drouin. Hey, it's a business, right?
On Gunnarsson, For now, it looks like he is the guy. I know some people are down on Gunnarsson, but he does give you some experience. Obviously Dunn, Walman and perhaps Lindbohm are the future, but I think they've got to see something from Dunn and Walman before they go moving a veteran like Gunnarsson. Plus, you need depth. I would think the Blues hold onto Gunnarsson and give those young guys some time, knowing also that they've got to hang onto their depth because of unforeseen injury problems.
Yes, it makes sense. I'm glad he landed on his feet, but I can't help but think if he doesn't ask for the trade. I would think he would have continued to put up decent numbers with the Blues last year. I can't assume because of their defensive problems, but he could have put himself in a situation where he walked into free agency as a potential No.1 asking for No. 1 money. I applaud the gutsy move to ask for a trade and try to improve his stock in Calgary, but it didn't work and probably backfired on him. But it looks like he'll make good money still in Philly ($2.75 per according to Andy Strickland) and I don't know that he could have made much more than that even if he had a good year in St. Louis last year. So it's probably a little moot, but it seems to me like his situation could have been a little better had he stayed.
I don't often think or talk much about a player losing a friend on the team, but this one is a little different. You're talking about your star player (Tarasenko) losing the guy (Lehtera) who he always hung around with at home and on the road and a guy (Reaves) who was very close to him. Again, it happens and Tarasenko has other friends on the team and he'll move on. But it would be interesting to know what he's thinking about that situation.
And because it seems like a lot of people are asking this question in the last few weeks, we'll end with this one ...
I have to believe the Blues. I know everyone in town says "Next year, next year ..." but the Blues' roster is much further along than the Knights and not far off from being a serious contender. But as fans have seen over the last 50 years, it takes talent and some luck who knows who the hockey gods will bless with that first. But ouch, wouldn't that hurt this town if the Knights somehow pulled it off before the Blues. Let me just say that if that happens, I will not be doing a chat the following week.
Thanks to everyone for your questions today and thanks to those who jump in and read, even if you're not involved. I appreciate your time and the support. I'll yap with you next week. Stay safe!