Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

Blues chat with Tom Timmermann

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

    It's that time again. Chatting is now available.
    Tim,

    Any news on Erik Foley? Is his hockey career over or is he trying to get back eventually? I saw he was listed still as a prospect under the Athletic system rankings.
    There's no news, which, of course, is not good news. He's still not playing, and if he goes a second full year without playing, that will make it tougher and tougher to come back. He's still relatively young -- he'll be 23 in June -- so there's some time. But if he is cleared to start skating again, it will be a long road back.
    Any updates on Sundqvist or Steen?
    None, and while the Blues did have ice time reserved at the Saddledome today (starting in about 15 minutes), I'd be surprised if they used it after playing back-to-back games, and if they don't practice, there usually isn't an update unless a roster move has to be made. Jim is on the scene in Calgary, so we'll be checking his Twitter feed for breaking news. 
     
    Who knows? Maybe Troy Brouwer won't have to consider going to San Antonio. 
    Would it make sense for the Blues to use Sanford as a trade piece as opposed to draft picks? Seems like he's not the best fit for the Berube style of game, and they might as well get an asset for him while he still has upside.
    I don't know. I'd say he's closer to fitting Berube's style than Kyrou is. Berube likes physical players, and Sanford can be a physical player. He's also a young guy who has played in the Stanley Cup Final, which is not an easily obtainable skill. I'd rather trade away draft picks.
    So, the Blues have looked a bit sluggish here and there, which is to be expected given the year they've had.

    My question is, assuming they stay reasonably healthy, do they have enough in the tank to grab good Playoff position and actually try and repeat? They know what to expect, but any glaring concerns?

    TY!
    First off, we do have an update: Sundqvist was just put on IR. No other moves announced.
    Now back to the question.
    I've maintained all along that if a Stanley Cup hangover was going to hit, that this would be the time, after they've played five months or so of this season when you have all of last season's games plus another 50 or so on top of that. We're increasingly into that time of year where practices become very, very occasional and offdays are offdays. 
     
    The Blues will get a good playoff spot, barring something really weird happening, but how much does that matter? The Blues were the three seed in the Central last season and ended up with home ice in the second round. They have the roster, health permitting, to make a run at another Stanley Cup. If Tarasenko is healthy, this team is every bit as good as last season's. If he's not healthy, they're not as talented but still extremely effective. And they have a game that is more effective in the postseason, when games are tighter. 
     
    Postseason hockey is a total crapshoot, but the Blues are in as good a position as anyone to repeat. Though the one thing they can't totally strategize against is the fatigue from having played so many games.
    Before I get back to questions -- please write -- Sundqvist will miss at least three games, but we haven't heard anything more about the severity of the injury. The Blues announcement does not give any time length on the absence, no "will be re-examined in two weeks" or anything like that. Usually that means they don't think it will be long. But we don't know for sure.
     
    And they haven't said anything about Steen, so either he doesn't have to go on IR or they haven't gotten around to examining him yet. 
    With Sunny now going back on IR - do you think Brouwer will be back or do you think Army is done with him completely and will end up in San Antonio or retire?
    Keeping Brouwer around would be the easy move, and especially since whoever is going to be in that spot will be a healthy scratch anyway, better Brouwer than Poganski or someone else you'd rather keep playing. 
     
    The Blues like having Brouwer around. He's a good guy in the room, understands the situation, isn't going to complain about being a scratch, and wants to pass along his hockey knowledge, both on and off the ice. I don't think Army is done with him at all. He likes him. If they didn't like him, they would put him on waivers to get rid of him rather than try to keep him available by sending him to San Antonio. And if Brouwer does finish out the season in the organization, I think he's the kind of guy they would want to have around in the playoffs, like they did with Thorburn last year. 
    it looks like the pacific will get 5 teams in this year and the blues will open up with a team from that division given they go on to win the central. With the pacific being so tight. do you feel this is an advantage for the blues (again assuming they are the central champs) or do you think that the pacific teams essentially having to play playoff hockey from here on out will carry over to the playoffs (a la the blues last year)?
    There are a several ways to approach this. For one, if they were to win the division, they could be playing a team that had 15 points less than they did. That's a significant number. Still, we saw a lot of first round upsets last year, with all the top seeds going out to wild card teams. Can the Blues ease into the playoffs with rested players if they're spot is solidified? Is that good or bad? And there are some teams the Blues haven't done well against, like Arizona. At this juncture, it's too hard to say.
  • Will Justin Faulk actually ever play, you know, defense? he was horrible last night.
    Since that's in his job description, I'll say yes. There were a lot of guilty parties last night. The Blues got stretched out of position. Faulk being on the shutdown pairing, though, seems adventurous to me, at least this season, so having Parayko back is a good thing.
    Happy hump day Tom and Blues fans in the stratosphere.

    We all miss Vladi, but it appears the team's player cohesiveness and team performance lies in a healthy Sunny. He has become a great player, Sidney Crosby saw his potential, what is it that makes Sunny so necessary to our Blues?
    When Sundqvist came back, I asked Berube if it was a coincidence that the team went on a winning streak when Sundqvist got back in the lineup. He paused a second and said, "Probably not." He does, as Berube has said, make whatever line he is on better, so his absence will hurt. But the Blues have depth. I was musing with another writer last night about impending lineup decisions. MacEachern, even if he was healthy may have had to come out of the lineup, and if Sundqvist hadn't gotten hurt, de la Rose would have been next. That would have been two parts of a fourth line that was actually working pretty well together. So the Blues have bodies, if not at the level of Sundqvist but at a level where you aren't afraid to play them.
    For the expansion draft, who do you see the Blues leaving unprotected?
    It will be much easier to get a feel for this after his offseason, since the Pietrangelo signing makes a difference, as will the status of Schwartz, who's a UFA after next season. Assuming both are still around, the Blues would keep Binnington, Pietrangelo, Parayko, Dunn, O'Reilly, Schwartz, Schenn, Thomas, Perron, Kyrou and Tarasenko. If the Blues wanted to keep Faulk, they would have to go with the 8-1 rather than the 7-3-1 (or expose Dunn), which means Perron could be left exposed again. In any case, Sundqvist could be left exposed. On defense, Bortuzzo will certainly be available. 
     
    In any case, I think you'll see fewer deals made before the next draft. GMs learned they got too cute in trying to save players and gave Vegas too good a team. 
    if #91 comes back who becomes the odd men out in the line-up?
    If we took last night's lineup as a base: Schwartz-Schenn-Kyrou, Sanford-O'Reilly-Perron, Steen-Thomas-Bozak, de la Rose-Barbashev-Blais, and had to add in Sundqvist and Tarasenko, de la Rose comes out and then either Kyrou or Sanford, depending on who's form was better. With a fully healthy team, MacEachern and de la Rose will be hard pressed to get playing time. There are a lot of names on there that are written in ink. And last season's playoff run was indicative: you can put Steen on the fourth line with good results.
    Jim reports a lightly attended optional at Calgary today. Blais and Binnington the only players from last night on the ice. Bortuzzo, MacEachern and Allen are others out there. 
     
    Even if healthy, Steen probably wouldn't have been out there, but since they did skate, there is a chance we get an update on him today.
     
     
    army expressed the potential of adding a top 6 forward at the deadline. likelihood this happens, who will the player be, and what has to be given up to get this player? I'm assuming this all depends on the status of vladi and if he will be back for the playoffs or not?
  • It all depends on Tarasenko's status. If he's back before the regular season ends, they can't really add anyone because of the cap situation anyway. If he's not back until the playoffs, they've got some room to maneuver.
     
    Kreider is the name you hear the most, though he'll also be the player most in demand, so his cost will be highest. And Colorado also figures to be after him, so that would be another plus to getting him, namely keeping him away from a rival chasing you. Tyler Toffoli and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also figure to be on the blocks. 
     
    Guys who are more than rentals will take a higher cost, and likely someone off the current roster. 
     
    As to who the Blues might give up, look at what they got when they traded away rental players at the deadline in recent years. Stastny got them a first-round pick and a prospect, Erik Foley. Shattenkirk got them a first-round pick, a conditional second and a prospect, Sanford. So figure the deal looks something like that. A pick or two and a prospect, though I think they would want to keep Kostin. Could they trade from their defensive excess? They probably can't use Mikkola, Walman and Reinke (though if Pietrangelo doesn't re-sign, spots will be open in the near future).  
  • does there seem to be any appetite to using perunovich if/when he signs and burning a year of his elc for a few regular and playoff games? and do you get any sense from the fo that he may go the free agent route instead if blues think he needs time in ahl first?
    With the defensemen the Blues have lined up, I can't see Perunovich jumping in line. Mikkola proved he's NHL ready today if needed. And no one has told me anything, but I think just about any team is going to have Perunovich play in the AHL first. It's not a bad thing.
    Hi Tim. Instead of trading for a forward why not Kostin? Also, now is the time to make a decision isn’t it? There are only 31 games left. Your thoughts? Thanks
    Kostin ultimately isn't a top six forward, which is what the Blues would be looking for if they don't think Tarasenko is back. He's going to be a throw-his-body-around guy who can score. The Blues like what he can do and are glad they got to look at him this season. Next season, he'll be like Kyrou this season, waiting in the wings to get his chance. But I don't think putting him on one of the top two lines this season is in the Blues plans.
    Regarding the Seattle expansion draft and UFA players, such as Schwartz, could the Blues and Jaden come to a verbal agreement on a deal and wait until after the draft to make it official? That way they could use that slot to protect another player.
    I suppose you could but I think if the league found out you'd be in a lot of trouble.
    looking in your crystal ball two years down the road, would you think the blues would protect high priced veterans on the wrong side of 30, or younger, cheaper players in the seattle draft? the athletic had an article yesterday predicting each teams protected list, and writer had blues losing dunn, and protecting vladi, faulk, and perron and leaving exposed oskar, ivan, and kyrou. also had protecting binnington and schwarz, but unless extensions happen before then both should be ufa. would blues gamble on leaving them unsigned with a nod, nod, wink, wink (rip to terry jones) agreement to re-up them after the expansion draft dust settles?
    That's the complicating factor. If the Blues re-sign Pietrangelo, they're keeping him in the draft. Perron is an issue. He's older and has a limited horizon, but what you might get from him in the next two years would be higher than you would get from Sundqvist, though his career would many more years to go. And some of it is gambling. Just to use a name, would you leave a Bozak type player exposed since you figure demand for him is low? There are a lot of factors at play. Sundqvist falls into one of those cracks. A good guy who you want to keep, but not as good as some of the others, and the kind of guy a team would want to take. 
     
    Ultimately, though, you're only going to lose one guy, so take a deep breath, take the loss and go on from there. You're going to lose somebody you'd like to keep, but that's how it goes.
    De La Rose is a RFA after this year. Does he do anything better than the in-house competition (Blais, MacEachern, or even Poganski), other than being a center? Is there any reason to offer him a contract?
    They'll offer him a contract to protect him as an asset, but with the guys they have waiting in the wings who they have to find space for, it will be tough for him to get ice time after this season. It's going to be tough for him to get ice time this season if they're healthy. He could very easily end up in San Antonio next season, or be a trade chip somewhere. If de la Rose is playing next season, either his game has picked up substantially -- we're talking Sundqvist like -- or something has gone terribly wrong and the team is desperate. With all that in mind, I'll say de la Rose has exceeded my expectations from when the Blues got him and he's got to be having a lot more fun than he would be having in Detroit. I figured I'd be writing him down as a healthy scratch every game.
    I think given age and length and cost of contract, means the Blues could safely expose Faulk in the Seattle draft. My bigger concern is losing a good forward- Barbashev, Sundqvist, Blais, maybe Sanford. No matter who they expose, it sure seems the Blues are bound to lose a player they would rather keep.
    That's the gamble on Faulk: would his contract make him unattractive to Seattle? Still, the team has to hit the salary floor, so they can't just take 22-year-olds on entry level deals. The team is going to have to a few guys with big contracts. Plus, you want some veterans to serve as mentors.
    Do you see the Blues acquiring one of the Tkachuk brothers in the future?
    They would like to because they're both very talented, but they won't come cheap and it's a situation where they're going to have to fit into the Blues situation. Free agency will be the way to get them, since a trade cost will be high in terms of talent given up. It's going to be a matter of when they're on the market and what the Blues' situation is at the time.
    I watched last night and am watching the replay this afternoon. Robert Thomas was all over the place last night. What's his ceiling?
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