Hello again everybody. Blues bye week winding down. Team returns to practice tomorrow. Buy? Sell? Binnington? Allen? Are playoffs realistic? What's on your mind this week? (And I hear there's a football game going on this week.)
It looks like Berube's going to ride Binnington more than indicated. I really thought Allen would get one of the two starts in California before the break. (LA or Anaheim). While I don't think you can just kick Allen to the curb, you just can't ignore Binnington either. He is hungry. Very hungry, after more than 200 games in the minors. Which obviously is a lot for a goalie.
He just seems a little bit behind a lot of plays. I wonder if he's having some knee issues as well. (I've seen him wearing a brace _ I don't know if he wears it all the time.) Also, he's not getting a ton of power play time. Remember, he led the league in power play goals I think it was two years ago in Philadelphia. He's been on the Blues' second power play unit basically all season. Don't know about getting two first-rounders. Might depend on where the trade partner might be picking this year. And I don't think Armstrong is very interested in adding more prospects. He's told me he's more inclined to make a "hockey" trade _ established veteran for established veteran this year.
Armstrong really likes Schwartz. What a fun player he is to watch when he's really on his game. I think Armstrong indicated earlier in the season, around the time of the Yeo firing, that Schwartz basically was untouchable. I think I'm remembering that right. In any event, I wonder if the prolonged goal slump changes that. But you're right. Even though Schwartz has two years remaining on his contract after this season (at $5.35 million per), his injury history and his goal drought might not lead to the return Armstrong is looking for. .
I think Armstrong still has the full support of Stillman at this time. Keep in mind,Armstrong agreed to a four-year extension a little over a year ago with an option for a fifth. So unless you're talking about Armstrong ending up in Edmonton's GM post, I don't see it happening. Curious, what would you like to see him change regarding his drafting and player development?
Nothing official, but I'm expecting him to be on the ice Thursday when the Blues return to practice. Thomas, too.
Although you never say never, Armstrong has told me he doesn't want to trade young assets. As I mentioned in an earlier post, he'd rather make a "hockey" trade. Keep an eye on Maroon, he goes from a full no-trade clause to a modified no-trade (8 teams) on Feb. 1. (That's Friday.) I can't imagine both Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson being back next season _ both are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents after this season. Does a defense-needy team interested in a rental reach out for them at the deadline? I also wonder about Schenn and Pietrangelo, both with just one year left on their existing contracts after this season, and both probably in line for pay raises. Those are all possibilities.
The February schedule is daunting. Fourteen games in 27 days. Nine of the 14 on the road. Three sets of back-to-backs. Only three of those 14 games are against teams currently not in a playoff spot. So yeah, it will be tough. I think if the Blues lose 7 of 10 as you suggest, yeah, they have to be sellers.
You know I'm pro-Sunny, but I'm going to go with Tarasenko, who had scored five goals in seven games leading into the break.
Interesting. Panarin does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, but I believe he's made it pretty clear he wants to play for a larger market. (Larger than St. Louis, I would presume.) So you'd be risking sending someone like Schwartz and Schenn for a six-week rental.
Wow, that's a tough one. Kind of a team in limbo situation. Maybe it depends partly on how they got to 3 points out at the tradel deadline? Were they 9-4 in the 13 February games leading up to Feb. 25, but everybody they're chasing has played pretty well? Or 4-9 with everyone playing poorly?
Well, it's 5 degrees here, so I don't feel too bad for Minneapolis. I just can't see a total BLOW IT UP scenario. Again, I don't think Armstrong wants to pile up a bunch of prospects. At the start of this season he thought the window (towards being a serious Western Conference contender) was starting to open. Does he do a complete 180 on that? Binnington sure looks good so far, there's no doubting that. But are you totally sold after 7 starts that he's your guy?
I've been wrong before, but I just don't see it happening. This is a team that has been unable to win more than three games in a row all season. Even though the team has played better since the week before Christmas, I just can't see any kind of prolonged run to get them in the playoffs. The X-factor, however, could be Binnington, who definitely has provided a spark in goal.
Nice. Yeah, I was in and out of jury duty quickly. Didn't even make it out of the holding room.
Bouwemeester has played pretty well over the past 20 games. _ plus-6 with 2 goals and 5 assists. Led or shared the team lead in blocked shots 7 times. So that much-improved play could increase the trade interest. But you make a good point in terms of the no trade clause. Would Bouwmeester waive it? Would a chance to potentially finish out his career in his home province (Alberta) be a reason to waive the no-trade. Lastly, does red-hot Calgary with only 13 losses and the second-best record in the league, still feellike they need defensive help.
None. I had a long interview late last week with Armstrong and neglected to ask. The last time I checked with Armstrong on that topic, and that was probably a couple of months ago, Foley was still recovering from concussion symptoms.
I don't know if the Blues anticipated a production decline _ and I will say, Steen was playing pretty well before the injuries struck this year _ but I would think, yeah,it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that the team might want to move Steen. But again the age (35 on March 1) and cap number ($5.75 million through the 2020-21 season) aren't going to make it easy to trade him. Plus. Steen has a no-trade that lasts until Feb. 1 of 2021 _ the final year of his contract.
Sure enough, the Blues are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. Keep in mind, we're not around the players as much as you might think. But I think the attitude is pretty good. There is at least some degree of confidence as far as I can tell. I don't think anyone's giving up in the season. Haven't seen anyone swinging a golf club in the locker room like I saw a Rams tight end do many years ago as another lost season of football was winding down.