Hello again everybody, we're getting close to the start of things. The prospects tournament begins Friday in Traverse City, Mich., and main camp starts Sept. 14. What's on your mind today?
Good question. And efforts to get some clarity on this from the Blues so far have been unsuccessful. But as a restricted free agent, Schmaltz really has no options. Unless he wants to play in Europe, he either plays for the Blues or doesn't play. Not sure what Schmaltz's motivation is _ there has been some speculation that he's seeking a one-way contract rather than a two-way deal, which would lower his salary if he ends up in the AHL. Keep in mind last year at this time, Petteri Lindbohm was an RFA and wasn't on the pre-camp roster released by the team, yet he signed and showed up in time for camp.
If I recall correctly from last season, there were some rumblings that the scheme may have been too complex and needed to be simplified somewhat. But I think the personnel additions this season may help as much as anything _ O'Reilly is one of the top faceoff guys in the league and has been one of the top power play goal scorers in the league in recent seasons. One third of Bozak's career points have come on the power play. As for who's in charge, it's a group effort _ mainly I would think Yeo and Berube.
Among the newcomers, Yeo has indicated that O'Reilly will see some PK duty. Among other newcomers, Maroon, Bozak and Perron don't have much PK history, but maybe that changes here. Among holdovers, Steen, Jaskin and Schwartz all had PK duties last year. We'll see what happens when they start practicing on Sept. 14.
On paper, it looks like the Blues definitely have closed the gap on Winnipeg and Nashville. Whether that's enough to move ahead of them in the standings remains to be seen. I think 100 points, or more, is a reasonable expectation for the Blues. Of course, the X factor as we all know is goaltending. You'd have to like Pekka Rinne (Nashville) and Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg) over Allen at this point. The key for Allen is avoiding the prolonged slump.
Hard to say on Bozak. But when Bozak signed the Blues weren't sure they were going to end up with O'Reilly. (Although the O'Reilly trade went down several hours later in the day, the Blues thought the O'Reilly deal was dead when they signed Bozak,) Better get someone at center and perhaps have t overpay than be left without anyone at center on July 1. As for Thomas, I think the Blues like him at center, although that doesn't preclude shifting him to forward. And I get what you're saying about fourth-line minutes, hardly the optimal way for a young player to develop. But Armstrong has raised the possibility of moving Thomas up if he shows he's ready for that, and moving O'Reilly to a wing.
Yes, Had some last year before Christmas at the Urban Chestnut in the Grove. But does that really count? I probably need to have some in Canada, don't I, on one of the Blues trips. (Sorry for the delay in the answer: Had to take a call.)
I'm not an attorney, nor do I play one on the Blues chat. I guess it would have to depend on her qualifications for the job as opposed to the others.
At Scottrade (now Enterprise), too! Didn't know that.
That was part of his deal in Buffalo. I believe he used to keep the team late (after regular practices) and have a players-only session to work on stuff. So there's no doubt he has leadership skills, how he fits in the Blues' leadership pecking order with Pietrangelo, Steen, Schenn, Tarasenko remains to be seen. Frequently, regardless of the sport, new players are hesitant to take a leadership role until they're more established on the team.
So far, I would say Rams fans.
Thx. Later today on stltoday.com, we'll have a story posted providing an update and overview of the 4 ongoing lawsuits between St. Louis and the Rams/NFL.
You make good points. The offense should be more potent. I'm sure you remember how the team struggled to score for a prolonged stretch after the Jaden Schwartz injury in early December. Also, the Blues were at the high end (league-wide) in terms of man-games lost to injury. No guarantees, but law of averages say that evens out this year. So that's the optimistic view. And that should all help Allen. But at the end, it's still about stopping pucks. Realistically, like all players, Allen will have his ups and downs, but the key is to shorten the length of the down period.
Well, he did look heavy in that Busch Stadium photo from the other day. And following surgery of any kind, there's a period where you can't do a whole lot in terms of training. But I was out at the IceZone Tuesday for one of the team's informal skates,Tarasenko walked right past me and a couple of others, and nodded hello. I didn't whip out a scale or anything and have him stand on it, but he didn't look heavy to me. And yes, he would have to add a LOT of weight, I think, to somehow jeopardize that 30-35 goals.
Gordo almost always is much better equipped than me to handle these trade questions, and remember his chat is on Fridays. But right now, Gunnarsson is coming off a torn ACL and I believe will enter camp in the no-contact mode; Blais is an unproven 22-year-old who had injury issues a year ago; I think Steen remains a valued player and leader but obviously is closer to the end than the beginning of his career. And as of right now, Schmaltz is not under contract. So, no, I don't see that.
That will be one of the interesting subplots of camp/preseason, and the answer partly depends on the health and availability of Bouwmeester (hip) and Gunnarsson (knee). But even if you don't factor Schmaltz into the mix, you have 7 players for 6 spots: Pietrangelo, Parayko, Edmundson, Bouwmeester, Gunnarsson, Dunn, Bortuzzo. Right now, I see Petro, Parayko, Edmundson in the top three. Is Dunn ready for the second D-pairing _ he played there late in the season after injuries to others? Otherwise, I'm gonna go right now at this moment with Bouwmeester joining Parayko there. That leaves Bortuzzo on the third pairing, with Dunn. And if that's the case, that leaves Gunnarsson as the No. 7.
I hear you. And as a corollary to that _ is new backup Chad Johnson capable of stealing starts from Allen as Carter Hutton did last year if Allen struggles. I get the sense that ideally the Blues would like to give Husso one more year of seasoning in the AHL.
So I'm gathering here from the poutine replies that there is no one set recipe. Kind of like chili _ everyone adds their own personal touches.
Fair question. I get the sense, and I'm still kind of the new kid on the block, that Doug Armstrong has a little Tony La Russa in him. That is, he prefers playing veterans. Strength almost always is an issue with young players, but I think Kyrou is stronger this year. I think he has to show that his speed-based style of play will succeed at the NHL level, where there's less open space than in juniors. But I think it's undeniable: One of the byproducts of all those offseason moves by the Blues (O'Reilly, Perron, Bozak, Maroon) is that it leaves a smaller window for the organization's top prospects to make the roster this year.
I think they will begin camp in the no-contact mode.