Blues chat with Jim Thomas

Blues chat with Jim Thomas

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




    Hello again everybody. Hope you all had a great Christmas. Blues return from the Christmas break Thursday vs. Carter Hutton, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka and the Buffalo Sabres. What's on your mind today?
    JT,

    Aside from Hughes, If the Blues get a top 5 pick, are there any other exciting talents to look out for?
    Looks like Finland's Kaapo Kakko (6-4, 207), a right winger, is being projected as the No. 2 overall pick right now behind Hughes. He's playing in the World Juniors (which started today) along with Hughes. In fact, if you have the NHL Network, you can watch him tonight (9:30 p.m. start, I believe) against Sweden. Sweden by the way, has a defenseman to watch in Philip Broberg, though I don't think he's a top 5 guy. I'm hardly a draft guru when it comes toe the NHL, but other top prospects include Vasily Dodkolzin, Dylan Cozens and Kirby Dach _ all forwards.
    JT,

    Over/under that either one of Petro, Steen, or Vlady are traded by the end of this season?
    By the end of the year? Assuming things continue as they are now with the Blues, I'll say one of the three gets traded.
    Tarasenko continues to play on the point - has there been any discussion about moving him down low where his shot and size would be more effective?
    That's a good point. (Pun not intended.) He seemed to be moving around more earlier in the season _ to the wing, down low. Not seeing that as much lately. Will try to ask Berube about this.
  • OK, I'll bite: Carter Hutton is on my mind today. Who's most responsible for letting him leave St. Louis and was this person demoted?
  • Well, I guess you'd have to say Doug Armstrong. He's the GM. He assembles the roster. He decides when and where to allocate the cap resources.
  • Tom, thanks for the chat. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I’ve read a couple of articles about the possibility of trading Tarasenko. Part of me says “wait and see how he is next year after his shoulder is healthy”, and the other part of me says “let’s see how much we can get”. Same with Petro, let’s see what the market will bear. I’d love to dump Parayko too but you still need someone on the blue line with some sort of skills. You don’t have to blow it up but you can jettison a couple of key players in hopes of getting either high draft picks or good young talent. Even if we manage to get to a playoff sport we’re a one-n-done team. What are your thoughts on this?
    Actually, it's JT this week. But I did have a great Christmas. I say if you can get in the playoffs, you get in the playoffs. How many No. 1 overall seeds have actually won the Stanley Cup in recent years? Like a 9-7 NHL wild-card team, I think once you get in the dance who knows what can happen. As I mentioned during an earlier answer, if things continue they way they've been going so far this season, I think you have to do something about the leadership core. But as Jeff Gordon mentioned in his column today, you can't trade just for the sake of trading. You need a good return. And with so many Blues having something that would classify as well-below career years, you're not dealing from a position of strength. I believe you need players that can contribute now, rather than prospects in any trade. And it would have to be a heck of a deal to pry Tarasenko away. You may have seen the stat _ only Ovechkin has more goals in the entire NHL than Tarasenko over the past four-plus years. Goals don't grow on trees.
    Mr. Thomas, for weeks now this team has taken us on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve never seen a more Jekyll & Hyde team. If we continue to play the same way we have this season for the next few weeks I think sweeping changes need to be made. Armstrong needs to find new homes for Steen, Tarasenko, Parayko and Boumeester. See how much good young talent and draft picks we can acquire that we could possibly use this summer for good established talent. We also need a permanent coach in place by the trading deadline. If coach Q is not interested then move on. Agree, disagree?
    So if I understand you correctly, you want to pile up young talent/draft picks via trades before/at the trade deadline and then use those picks July 1 to get established players. Interesting. But that does make it a two-step process and thus a more complicated process. You could face the danger of having all these prospects, but no trade partners in July.  Bouwmeester's contract is up after this season, so I don't think you have to concern yourself about him being back next year anyway. Even though he has been playing better, I don't think he'd fetch much at his age before the trade deadline. Again, I'd expect some of the other core players to be moved at some point if things don't improve. And yes, it has been an amazing roller-coaster so far. Amazing, as in hard to fathom. Not amazing, as in wonderful.
    PHIL-That is a great point and one I have been saying? Why do we continue to use Vladdy on the point? It is not working and I believe its obvious to everyone. Has this even been brought up?
  • Can't recall that's it's been asked. At least not lately.
  • I read an interesting story about MLB teams using "mental coaches" and about the counseling roles that they bring to the personnel mix. Do the Blues use anyone to help this season's band of misfits muddle through all their bouts of "I don't know, I can't figure out what's wrong with us"?
    The Blues do have a sports psychologist. He's based in Toronto. He spent some time with the team when they were in Toronto earlier this season.
    I think Gordo's overall point was that Pietrangelo, Parayko and Tarasenko all are pretty good players and that if you're going to deal them, you better get something that's pretty good in return. A cardinal rule of trading in pro sports that's cuts across all lines: If you think you can do better than somebody currently in your lineup, you better get someone at least as good in return. Easier said than done.
    If the horn goes off at Enterprise Center but there's no one there to hear it, will it make a noise?
    Sorry, answer to "what is Gordo" drinking question somehow got posted twice. This is in response to question about declining attendance. (If the horn went off at Enterprise Center. . . .)
    Four-game homestand coming up and 3 of the 4 should be good draws. Buffalo and Carter Hutton; Sidney Crosby and the Penguins; defending Stanley Cup champ Washington. Be interesting to see how many empty seats there are for these games.  
    Hey Jim, long time no see. Sorry I was ducking your interview requests for so long, but things have been pretty hectic around here, dontcha know. Anyway, I was hoping you could get me in touch with some of these Blues coaches so I could bring them over to the Rams and get this team back to sub-mediocrity. That idiot Demoff assured me that this McVay character was in way over his head, make big promises about how bad the team would be, and now look at this mess! My first choice was to bring back Larry Marmie but he's not returning my calls. I hear this Mike Van Ryn fella went with an ill-advised defensive scheme change that's both outdated and wrong for the personnel on the team. Now that sounds like my kind of guy!
  • Have been told by more than one Blues player that there are next to no changes/tweaks in defensive scheme this year as compared to last. Stan, you lucked into a pretty good coach. The story I heard was that you went looking for Jon Gruden, that Gruden turned you down and suggested McVay.
    Happy Wednesday JT. Thanks for the chat.

    I don't believe the Blues have to change too much to become a winning club. I believe they need a 3rd or 4th line winger (a Ryan Reaves type) who brings toughness and keeps the other team accountable to what the other team does to our skilled guys. I would trade Petro for a guy like this plus a defenseman.
    It would have to be for a pretty good defenseman in return, don't you think?
    Hi JT! Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    So, let's go with some superlatives for the team, as the year winds down:

    1. Most improved Forward?
    2. Most improved Defenseman?
    3. Biggest leader?
    4. Most likely to be traded before the deadline?
    5. Most vital piece to the lineup?
    6. Biggest personality on the team?
    7. Toughest player?
    8. Best player to interview?
    9. Most likely to become a coach after retirement?
    10. Most likely to return once he retires?
    The Blues win in Calgary on December 22 should not be a game that shows what the Blues can be if they bear down. Calgary played the Lightning in a wide open game the night before (and lost) and then had to play the Blues the next afternoon. The Blues need a new composition of players and I don't trust Army since he put this group together.
    1.) Sunny Sundqvist, hands down. 2) Don't think I have a most improved defenseman right now, not on a team that ranks 26th in goals-against average. 3.) Not exactly the answer you're looking for, but I'd like to see Edmundson wearing an A. 4.) Bouwmeester, as a rental, the way he's playing now could help a team that thinks it can make a deep playoff run. 5.) I think logic says O'Reilly here, but I'm still going to go with Schwartz. 6.) In terms of what the media sees in the locker room, I'll say David Perron. 7.) Think I'm gonna go w/Edmundson, w/Nolan as first runner-up. 8.) Jake Allen, honest. 9.) I don't know if this is in his career plans, but I'll say Chris Butler. 10.) Ken Hitchcock. . . .no, I think with players today, once they're out, they're out.
    OK, having some issues with getting the question in order. This comes in reply to the question stating that the Calgary game shouldn't be counted as a game that shows how well the Blues can play when they're at their best. Actually, the Flames played Tampa Bay on a Thursday, so while the Blues were traveling from Vancouver, the Flames were there home resting. But I will agree that the Flames may have looked past the Blues a little (heck, they beat them 7-2 six days earlier) and they may have been a little emotionally spent from that knock-down, drag-out vs. Tampa Bay.
    Two questions. With the ongoing renovations being done at the Enterprise Center will the Blues re-visit the bidding for the World Junior Championship in the near future? Next Thursday the Capitals and Tom Wilson come to town. Do you think somebody steps up and gives him a little pay back for the Sundqvist hit?
    At the moment, I believe the Blues main push is getting an all-star game in St. Louis, which is something by the way they feel pretty confident about happening in the very near future. I think then, they might look at the World Juniors again. As for a Tom Wilson welcoming party, I nominate Jordan Nolan.
  • Tarasenko was outside the top 20 in goals last year and outside the top 60 this year, it is entire possible that he is entering the downside of his career and he has declined the last two seasons in goals and is on pace to decline again. Gordo article is kind of silly to think you are going to get the production Tarasenko have you right away. That’s not why you make the trade. You make the trade to get better in the future. This team is not ready as it has proven to win in the next couple of years so Petro and Tarasenko should be traded as they both will be passed their prime when the blues may be ready to compete again and have a good goalie. Just another thought on the trade process.
    Tarsenko turned 27 on Dec. 13. Are you sure he's past his prime? You better be sure. With just one more goal last season, he's in the top 20. I know enough about shoulder surgeries to know that five months is a pretty quick recovery time. I mentioned on the chat earlier this season that I saw Tarasenko talking to someone after a game (outside the locker room), with the shoulder wrapped (and I believe in ice). Just throwing this out for consideration.
    Well, gosh, thanks. I feel better now, knowing that they have a sports psychologist who works 800 miles away and that the Blues have access to him as long as the team is in Toronto. Which happens, what, once a year?
    What are the chances that we see Kostin this year or is he at least another year out?
  • I wouldn't be surprised to see him called up at some point this year. And if he continues to build his game, I would think next year he could make a real roster push.
  • Didn’t say Tarasenko was on the decline just said it’s possible, as he has gone down the last two years and I hope the front office is more aware of where he is and where he projects to go than we are.
    The Blues have 2 weeks in St. Louis. How many players have permanent homes and families here? One would think it helps to have some kind of home advantage instead of flying every two to three days.
  • Can't give you a head count on who has homes and who doesn't in St. Louis. I think most of the single players have condos/apartments. And some share. Thomas, as you may know, lives with the Tkachuk family. You would think being at home would have advantages, but it hasn't been the case either this year or last. There can be more distractions, more demands on your time when you're at home. On the road, it's all hockey and you spend more time with your teammates away from the rink. I remember last year at the season-ending press conference/locker cleanout, Doug Armstrong mentioned that he was so concerned about the team's less-than-stellar home record that he'd thought about the possibility of having the team stay in a hotel on game day. Given the amount of home games in hockey (41), that would seem like a pretty radical approach..
  • Has Jaybo played himself back into the role of riding shotgun across from Peitro after the later comes back, or do the Blues use him for 3rd pair and PK duties? It seems like Peitro needs a good defensive partner.
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