Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

Bring your questions and comments about the Blues, their Stanley Cup championship and their offseason, and talk to Post-Dispatch hockey writer Tom Timmermann in a live chat starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

    Mr. Timmerman,
    Are the Blues and J-Binns far apart on a contract? Do you have any idea what the team would like and what Binnington will accept?
    I don't know any specifics on the Blues-Binnington talks, but it's going to be a tricky negotiation because each side has to figure out what it wants and what the other side wants. Does Binnington want a two-year deal or a four-year deal? The numbers end up being very different. For the Blues, a long-term deal is risky because what if he doesn't pan out? But a short-term deal can be risky because what if he's great and you've got to re-sign him in two years when he can be a UFA and demand top dollar? The same goes for Binnington. Longer term for financial security, or shorter term hoping a huge payday awaits. Once they find some common ground on that, it should come together.
    And actually, it has to come together. The arbitration hearing isn't that far away.
  • Mr. Timmermann,
    I must confess I was despondent last week at the suggestion there might not be any more chats until closer to camp. I am very happy to hear otherwise. Thanks for the great coverage and for putting up with us.

    Sorry to hear about your glasses. One time I forgot where I put mine and it took me an hour to find them. I had to walk all around my house looking at things from about 12 inches away until I spotted them.
    I'm presently wearing glasses that are probably 15 years old. Needless to say, my prescription has changed a bit in that time.
     
    And I'm glad to be able to get you out of that despondency. But August may be a rough month for you. 
    I would have to imagine Petro looking at Kaarlson, Daughty contracts as what he wants right? We have seen Army move on from Backes and Brower, but some team will be willing to pay him so much money for so long. What do you think is the market price for Petro and what do you think is the Army ceiling for petro?
    Every contract signed by a defenseman adds to the list of comparables, and dollars are only going to go up. As I said earlier, I think the Blues will have more confidence in Year 6 of a Pietrangelo contract than they did in Year 5 of the Backes contract. Pietrangelo has an AAV of $6.5 million right now. I don't know that $11 million is something the Blues could afford, but it will likely end up being a lot closer to $10 million than I would have thought six months ago. I would expect Armstrong to try to extend Pietrangelo before he goes on the open market.
    The Blues looked fast when they moved the puck well or backchecked hard, however they are not all that fast. Do you see how they get faster players like Kyrou and Fabri into the lineup with a team that seems to be returning almost the same roster. Do you see a need to get them in?
    Many of the Blues are not fast, but, as I know we talked about often on the podcast, you can look a whole lot faster when you move the puck well, which is what the Blues did in the second half of the season. Finding a spot for Kyrou is one of the reasons not to re-sign Maroon. With every other forward back, the only way to get him is to create an opening. It's not necessarily a Kyrou spot. It could be a Fabbri spot. Having a few players who can skate fast is a good thing because there are times when you need that speed.
    Have you seen the new NHL Stanley Cup BluRay? Is that the only one there will be? I would like a STL focused one with condensed replays of the games. I don't this that would be on the official disc. Have you heard if there will be any others?
    I think it's coming out at the end of the month. I believe that will be the one. The NHL sells exclusivity on this type of thing, and there are copyrights to think of. I haven't seen it yet.
    I know Maroon is a hometown guy and had a few big moments in the postseason, but he was largely a bust during the regular season. If he gets bought out in Boston, do you think Backes would be willing to come back and fill the Maroon role, complete with the $1 million contract slot so the team could fit him under the cap?
  • I do not think Backes is returning.
  • I believe Gordo posted a recent article about how many of the Bruins stars signed contracts with "hometown discounts". Do you have a feeling whether Blues like Petro and Schenn would do the same? It really seemed like the chemistry and success with the Blues was a big deal, but then again $ is $.
    I could see Pietrangelo taking $10.5 instead of $11.5. I wouldn't label Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson as hometown discounts as much as two veterans taking the sure thing rather than rolling the dice on free agency. It was as much a favor to themselves and their families as it was to the Blues. It's going to be less of a gamble for Pietrangelo and Schenn. Someone is going to pay them. Armstrong is going to have to look at the whole picture, including what the cap is going to do down the road. And if Pietrangelo or Schenn want to get paid more somewhere else, they've earned that privilege.
    Berube made almost all flawless decisions since taking over as head coach. The only one I think he should take back was playing Thomas in game six! Moving forward, I have no problem with any of the player decisions. He has earned it. My question is he only played Fabbri, Kyrou, and Sanford, only when he had too! Fabbri has a horrible plus minus rating, Kyrou, well we all know his issues and Sanford was pulled out of the lineup plenty of times for lack of effort. I would hope that Armstrong takes notice and not hamstring Berube by having to keep these guys up in the bigs or even on the team if these issues continue! I personally think we should give them a chance but on a very short leash. Am I too far off base? Thanks for the chat. I hope this doesn’t sound like a troll question
    The Blues didn't play Binnington last season until they had to. They started Allen in 14 straight games and Binnington finally got in because the Blues had back to backs. So there's a history for paying guys only when you have to, but when you do, you've got a chance to show what you can do. Binnington did that and ran with it. The others haven't, though Sanford did well in some stretches. Kyrou never had a game when he was up where you said, he sure earned more playing time! Alas, it's the nature of the NHL and contracts that sometimes you have to ride guys out because you can't just say, well, Sanford has had a bad two weeks, off to the minors he goes, because you end up losing a lot of players to waivers that way. As it stands now, Kyrou is the only one of the bunch who is waiver exempt, so he's the one bound to bounce up and down.
    Wouldnt one tend to think that with Allen's 4.5M and Steens 6M+ coming off potentially as soon as next offseason that that would free up a lot of money for Parayko, Petro and Schenn? A little long term thinking hopefully stops an unnecessary trade.
    Well, Parayko is signed through 2022, so he's not an issue right now. If Binnington pans out, then Allen becomes tradeable, and, if things develop, Husso could be a low-cost backup, which would save you $3 million. The Blues like Steen a lot, so I wouldn't go expecting him to be bought out. But there are certainly ways to provide for raises for Pietrangelo and Schenn.
    Tom, in reference to your earlier comment, the CBA says that "The party against whom a salary arbitration election was filed (i.e., the Club in Player-elected salary arbitration and the Player in Club-elected salary arbitration) shall elect in its brief whether the salary arbitration award shall be for a one or two-year SPC". Naturally, this statement is subsequently qualified by a paragraph of exceptions. But I think it means that since the Blues elected arbitration, Husso can choose (before the arbitration) whether he wants a one- or two-year contract.
    That's what I thought it was, but I wasn't positive. I think one of the exceptions is if one side chose the year before, the other side gets to choose the next time. This would be Husso's first arbitration.
  • More of a prediction than a question. I think Maroon (and the Blues for that matter) are waiting to see how arbitration goes esp. for Binnington. Once all the numbers are known, then the Blues may or may not be able to make an offer that interests Maroon. We'll have a good team with or without him, but we'd greatly miss him in April and May if he doesn't return. A Bruins fan of mine who has watched hockey for 50+ years said Maroon is the guy they just had no answer to. I think it's a mistake to let him go if they really want to repeat. Unfortunately, that might not be a good long term decision. Thoughts?
    Maybe, though I don't think the ultimate dollars will be that much different. The Blues need to open up a spot for some young forwards and Maroon gets in the way of that. That's the big issue. They don't want to hold some of these guys back any more and Maroon happens to be the guy whose contract is up and who is at an age where the demand for his services starts to drop off.
    If you've got a question, now would be a good time to ask.
    There were many moments during the Blues' remarkable run where the team clearly showed signs of needing more skill offensively. If most of the roster returns next season, where to you think the team can expect to receive a boost to its offensive skill levels?
    What they needed was more results offensively and a greatly improved power play. I think you'll see an improved Schwartz from start to finish next season, which will help a lot, and putting Kyrou in for Maroon should, potentially, be a skill upgrade while a power downgrade. As for the power play, Armstrong said the Blues could still add another assistant coach. Someone to make their power play better would be a start.
    Happy Hump Day Tom and Blues Fans Everywhere!

    I don’t see the upgrade with the recent Stars’ signings. They are too old to make a difference once the playoffs begin, same with the Deads ( I mean Preds). With Winnipeg losing talent and no signings who will contend with the Blues in the Central?
    The Stars have gone all in. Either they'll be better or they won't. The Avs should be better. Chicago looks to be greatly improved in goal, and we've all seen what having a goalie having a great season can do. I think you have to look at all of them as potential competitors. And don't look down on Nashville too much.
    Any predictions for who will be the most pleasant surprise next year and who will be the biggest disappointment?
    Going to be tough to have a pleasant surprise since there don't figure to be many new faces. If Mikkola gets a chance, he could really shine. I obviously haven't seen him play much, but all the evidence points to him being close to taking the step. He just might not get that chance next season. And it's hard on the disappointing side too because who foresaw Schwartz having the troubles he did last season? Sundqvist was the one guy who played way over expectations this season, but he also made a strong case for this being who he's going to be going forward. Kyrou may have the best chance of being "disappointing" just because so much is being expected of him and he's still young, just like some people have been disappointed that Kostin isn't already tearing up the league.
    Pat Maroon had fantastic underlying metrics last year, so much so that I'm a little worried about losing him in free agency to open up room for some of the younger players (though, to be fair, Zach Sanford is also quite impressive based on the fancy stats). Especially when he can be had for relatively cheap. That said, I have the feeling Maroon's success was more a function of playing a lot of the year with Robert Thomas and Tyler Bozak, and less about him providing some massive invisible value. I don't know if that's my bias toward Thomas and Bozak showing. What say you, Tom: Pat Maroon - xG% Monster - real or illusion?
    I think Maroon's career has show that when he gets placed with good linemates, he can provide. I also think your expected goals percentage goes up when you take a lot of your shots from right around the goal. And that's where the Blues will need to replace Maroon, in a 10-foot radius around the goal. If Sanford or someone else can step in there and tip in shots, then that will solve that. If I were Zach Sanford, I'd be working on my hand-eye coordination for tipping shots.
    Who paid for the parade & setup for the rally at the Arch? The Blues? The NHL? The Blues made some money with the run to the Cup, but if they paid for the entire celebration, that had to impact their windfall. From things I've read, the team is doing just ok financially. Stable - but certainly not flush with cash.
    The Blues were on the hook for that, though I can't say that some services were provided at a reduced cost. I know there was a lot of overtime for the St. Louis Police. That did make an impact on their bottom line, but there is somethings you just have to pay for and can't cheap out on. The Blues have never been a cash machine and have likely had very few seasons where they turned a significant profit, but this season had to be their most financially successful ever.
    OK folks, thanks for stopping by today. A very good chat. High quality questions. We'll be back next week. Who knows? Maybe something will have happened by then. Thanks for your time.
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