Hello again everybody, and welcome to this week's chat. I'm in Las Vegas for tonight's Awards show. What's on your mind today?
Uh no. I was not partying with the Blues over the weekend. The photos I displayed on Twitter were from an undisclosed source. I just arrived in Vegas on Tuesday.
I would say sooner rather than later.
I think there's a good chance it's Elias Pettersson of Vancouver. Binnington is hurt by the fact that he only played half of the season, Plus, the voting was done at the end of the regular season, before the Blues had played a single playoff game, much less won the Cup.
I hear you. No doubt the power play needs work. But their 5-on-5 play throughout the playoffs was exemplary.
Yeah 22 road games in 30 days from mid January to mid March. The Blues went 13-5-4 in those 22 road games and that's what saved the season.
Are you talking about the 2019-2020 season or 2020-21. If you're talking about 2019-20, the Blues are actually in pretty good shape, with about $18 million available in cap space. As for 2020-21, the Blues have $47 million spent for 10 players, leaving about $36 million to fill out the roster. But among those 10 are Alexander Steen ($5.75 million) and Jake Allen ($4.3 million). The Blues could free up money, if necessary, with either of those two.
I think the Blues main emphasis will be on re-signing their free agents, particularly the group of restricted free agents that includes Binnington, Sundqvist, Edmunson and Sanford. Those four players are eligible for arbitration. The Blues have only 2 unrestricted free agents of note in Pat Maroon and Carl Gunnarsson. Not sure either will be back. Pretty sure Gunnarsson will not. Also is Steen back? Allen back? Both are under contract. Not sure Steen will fetch much at all in a trade due to his age and cap number. And I'm not sure the Blues want to trade Allen just yet. You never say never with Armstrong, but this doesn't look like an offseason where there will be many outside additions.
I think it would have to be Jordan Binnington. But if you were going Mt. Rushmore on this (4 people) I would make it Binnington, O'Reilly, Berube, Armstrong.
The Blues have 7 RFAs who were on the roster at the end of the season: Binnington, Edmundson, Sundqvist and Sanford are all arbitration eligible. I see them all coming back with Binnington due a big pay boost. And Sundqvist getting a decent raise. The Blues also have three RFAs who are not yet eligible for arbitration in Barbashev, Fabbri and Blais _ those non-arbitration players still are cheap labor, so why not bring them back? At the minor league level, Connor Bleackley, Nikita Soshnikovv, Nolan Stevens, Ville Husso and Mitch Reinke are all RFAs. Husso and Reinke would be the priorities in this group. Husso is the only one among the minor-league RFAs who is arbitration eligible. I would definitely cut ties with Soshnikov, who has had concussion issues and recently signed with the KHL (although the Blues still own his NHL rights.)
Breaking news here on the Blues' chat: Stillman group has purchased the remaining minority interest in the Blues (from the David Checketts group). Stillman group now owns 100 percent of team, meaning it is all locally owned. We'll have story posted in minutes on stltoday.com.
Allen has 2 years left on his contract, counting $4.35 million against the cap each year. I believe all of that money is guaranteed, unless the Blues trade himor buy out his contract.
The Blues have more than $18 million remaining in cap space, so I think they can afford to re-sign all or almost all of this group if they so desire. (And remember, Binnington is in this RFA group as well.)
Again, I think the focus is on retaining current Blues that are RFAs. I don't see a lot added in terms of outside players. Allen is a tough call. Let's say you trade him and his $4.35 million cap count. You're going to 1.) need a taker: and 2.) Find a credible backup goalie in the market, which might cost at least $2.5 million. So you aren't necessarily going to be saving a ton by moving Allen. Ville Husso had an injury-plagued, off-year, so I wouldn't think the Blues are ready to move him up to the varsity as a backup for Binnington.
I believe Blues players will receive a lump sum of more than $4.5 million for winning the Cup. How that's divided is up to the players.
I don't disagree. But no one said the Blues are bringing back everyone. Doug Armstrong told me yesterday that the entire band will not be brought back to St.Louis.
If this bothers you so much, you're best served contacting the Blues.
Sure there's a concern. Because we're not talking about a lengthy resume' of success. I believe he's an RFA for two more years. Maybe you sign him to a one-year or two-year deal _ or go through arbitration. That way you get at least another year's worth of a sample size before committing to a long-term deal.
For an older player like Steen it's 2/3rds of his remaining contract (which I think would be in excess of $7 million but could get spread out over 4 years for cap purposes.)