Hello one and all. The stretch run is here. And the Blues and Colorado are in quite a race for first place in the Central. What's on your minds today?
By the numbers, I guess you'd say Boston. Tuuka Rask is having a Vezina Trophy-like season with a 2.13 GAA and .928 save percentage. But the Blues _ as you know _ found a way to beat him in the Cup final a year ago. Obviously Dallas with Ben Bishop is a tough nut to crack. But the Blues found a way to do it last season and are 3-0 against him this year. I'd say those are the two toughest challenges for the Blues. Colorado is interesting with the emergence of Francouz. Some are saying hie's this year's Binnington. For the local team, however, the most encouraging thing is seeing Binnington return to form lately after his midseason slump. He's 6-0-0 over his last 6 starts with a 1.49 GAA and a .934 save percentage. I agree with the general premise on the importance of goaltending. They're like quarterbacks in football and pitchers in baseball. It's hard to win without them.
Yeah, it's certainly seems like an unorthodox way to do things. Perhaps the Blues are doing it this way for people who don't have, or can't afford tickets. I'll try to look into it.
Yeah, nothing official yet. But I've seen those reports. Any cap increase obviously helps the Blues in re-signing Petro and getting their RFAs re-signed. Right now they have $73.8 million committed to their 2020-21 cap. with Bouwmeester, Brouwer, Scandella and Pietrangelo listed as potential UFA's and Dunn, de la Rose, Blais and MacEachern as potential RFAs.. So if the potential cap increase is at the low end, $2.5 million, for an $84 million cap, that would leave about $10 million to get that all done. If it's at the high end, $6.7 million _ to raise the cap to over $88 million _ the Blues would have about $14 million to spend.
It could mean not much of anything. Remember, Binnington was loaned to the Providence Bruins at one point. The Rampage are minus Nathan Walker for several more weeks, are in playoff contention, and perhaps there's nothing more to it than that. But it certainly gives the Blues a chance to look at him and evaluate him first hand. Doug Armstrong, as we all know, is always on the lookout for talent. But the biggest thing with Ho-Sang is whether he'd be a fit with the Blues' organization. As you you know, chemistry is very important with the Blues. Will he play the Berube-style game. Would he play defense. Didn't he sit out like 10 weeks of this season after asking for a trade? That's pretty extreme. I don't think it would take a ton to get him. But Jeff Gordon is much more of an expert on these things than I am. You might want to check in on his Friday chat.
I would do it. I just don't think I could hang in there all that long. Twenty years ago, yes.
Only if they can't re-sign Petro.
C'mon now. He's around a lot. He doesn't travel as much as I do with the team, but I love hanging with him on the road. He's a good man, a hard worker, an excellent writer/reporter.
Yeah, that's the theory. And at face value it makes a lot of sense. Particularly since it would bring home ice advantage _ likely for the entire Western Conference _ since the Blues have been so good at home this season, and not so good on the road. But didn't all four division winners last season lose in the first round? So be careful what you wish for. I think it's most important simply to have some momentum heading into the postseason. And by the way, although it changes almost every day if the playoffs opened today it would be. . . .Blues-Winnipeg.
I don't know if I'd want to be at a party with every beat writer in Blues history. But I am curious about Wally Cross.
Not sure that I wouldn't prefer someone from the Central. Arizona and Vancouver have been very tough on the Blues this season. I would, however, like them against Calgary. And they've done pretty well against Edmonton as well.
You may have a point there.
I think his scoring has surprised them. They were high on him entering this season, but I don't think he reported in the best of shape. For a seventh-rounder he's obviously been a pleasant surprise. Not sure how they view his NHL potential.
All season long, it's looked to me like the East was a little bit stronger at the top than the West. So I see your point. I'm not as concerned with Vegas as I am with Colorado. The Blues played Vegas twice during their month-long slump. St. Louis is playing much better defense right now and getting much better goaltending. But Colorado is another matter. The speed, the depth, the goaltending, the Kroenke.
I don't know why they wouldn't view him in their long-range plans. He's 23, he has puck-moving skill, and shooting skill. And his defense has improved lately. And unlike Blais, MacEachern and de la Rose, he is NOT arbitration eligible. So it should be relatively easy to re-sign him _ at least for next year. But with the Blues' cap limitations, I wonder if another team with plenty of cap room doesn't try to poach him with a big RFA offer. I know RFA deals are unusual in the NHL (as they were in the NFL), but that thought has entered my mind.
Oh, you mean the backup who's fifth in the league in GAA (2.31) and sixth in save percentage (.922) among NHL goalies with more than 10 appearances. Yeah what a waste. Why would you want a guy like that around. As long as Doug Armstrong feels the window is open for Cup contention, I don't know why you wouldn't keep him next year. Unless you absolutely, positively have to clear up some cap room. After next year, I'm not sure. A wild-card in this is Ville Husso. He's playing much, much better lately in San Antonio after a so-so start. Do the Blues feel he's ready to be a NHL backup next season?
His contract expires after next season, so that is creeping up on the horizon. But the contracts of Steen and Bozak also are up after next season _ so I think you would certainly prioritize Schwartz in that group. (All three are in the $5 million to $5.75 million range on their contracts.) He is fun to watch. Fast, elusive. Yeah, sometimes he makes puzzling decisions, but his passion for the game and work rate are very impressive. If the Blues want to show Jordan Kyrou how a smaller, speedy player should perform in the NHL, they should just show him video of Schwartz
Well, Rams Park had a separate entrance to the media room. But it wasn't secret. That's about it.
I agree with your read on the UFAs. But I don't think there's any scenario where both Scandella and Pietrangelo are back next season with the Blues. I think $4 million sounds about right for Scandella. After all, he's not a defenseman who will pile up the points.
He's not officially coaching like he was for a while last year after Yeo was fired. But yeah, he gets down at ice level for some practices. (But not games.)