Here we are again. Or at least, I'm here. I guess if you're reading this, you're here too. So bring on any questions that are still lingering a month into the pause.
There's one thing Bettman and Daly have been clear on: They want a full and intact 2020-21 season. It may start late and end late, but they want that season to be a full 82 games. They can scrap the All-Star Game and the bye week to save them some time if they don't start until November, but while the 19-20 season will be messed up, they want 20-21 to be as close to normal as possible. And it almost certainly won't be normal.
It would probably create trouble for re-signing Schwartz, especially since his contract comes up the following season and is very directly impacted. Bozak will be 35 when his contract ends, so there won't be a lot of demand and he won't be getting paid $5 million. The Blues will move heaven and earth to keep Parayko. He's four years younger than Pietrangelo, has a big future, and is the face of the franchise in waiting. They will restructure the roster to accommodate him. Fortunately for the Blues, he's got two more seasons after this one, so there's potential for the cap to go up a bit (relative to what it will likely be next year) when he's on the market again.
Schwartz is clearly streaky, which is in part the result of his propensity for getting injured. There clearly seems to be a period for him to get back up to speed, and once he gets there, he's fine and plays the way he's expected to. Then he takes a puck in the skate -- because he's the guy most likely to go to the net and get hit by a puck -- and the process starts all over again. When he is on his game, he's part of everything, winning pucks, scoring goals, drawing penalties, making things happen. Kane has five years to go on a $7 million AAV deal with the Sharks; at that price, I think the Blues are better off with Schwartz.
Much will depend on how the defenseman situation sorts itself out, but I think the Blues would be content with him getting a season of conditioning in the AHL before coming to the NHL. Even if Pietrangelo doesn't come back, the Blues have Mikkola and Walman waiting, so Perunovich would have to jump ahead of a few players to get a spot, and he's only making the team if he's top six, not as the seventh D because they'll want him to get games. So his game may be ready, but he's got a lot of players to be better than too. The team is certainly high on his potential.
The big mystery in all this will be what the salary cap looks like. Will the league and the union artificially prop it up for next season to at least keep it even with what it is now? This is what happens with successful teams under the cap: You can't keep everybody. At some point, you can't give them the raises they've earned. One piece of savings is Jake Allen's contract is up after the 20-21 season and at that point, I think it will be time to work Ville Husso into the equation (if he hasn't already). You don't save that much on a guy like Gunnarsson because you have to replace him with someone making $900,000, so you're "only" saving $800,000. So it would take some moves on Armstrong's part to make it work. It can be done, but it has a trickle down effect through your lineup. Robert Thomas will also be getting a raise that offseason, though as an RFA it won't be as big.
No. I hope it warms up soon.
We go to a Christmas Eve party at some friends' house and every year, Phil Roberto's name comes up.
I always liked Salvador as a player, though at the time of the trade, he was about to turn 31 and was in the last year of his contract and the Blues weren't going to give him the raise he was going to get. (He pretty much doubled his salary with the Devils.) I like Cam Janssen as a person. Don't know if the Blues could have gotten more for Salvador at that time. I'm sure they put some value on having a local kid which made it slightly more appealing than trading Salvador for a draft pick.
Jim's in charge of that, so I don't know what he's got planned. That's one of the things about this: I used to see Jim every day, unless one of us was on the road, and then we usually talked every day. Now I don't see him. Nor do I see Jeremy or Lou or the radio and TV guys and the players and the coaches and the security guys at the rink and the equipment guys. I miss them all.
The Blues have put a high value on the camaraderie of the team, so that would come into play. A lot of times, players who have bad public images get along fine in the room with their teammates. And there are guys who have good public images who are despised. San Jose seems happy with Kane, but I don't think he would fit that well with the Blues. But if a guy goes out and works hard and the team wins, that makes up for a lot of other issues.
Sorry, but Nathan Walker is not a substitute for Jaden Schwartz, as much as we love hearing him talk.
Since moving back to the hockey beat, April 15 has generally been a busy time for me and a lousy time for doing my taxes.
That's one of the issues on this: At what point will hockey fans say, nope, you can't do that. I think some collection of purists will draw that line but a great many others will say, who cares? Their playing hockey. Four on four hockey wouldn't be great for the Blues. They haven't done very well on that this season. They're one of six teams that haven't scored a four-on-four goal this season. The Blues will take 5 on 5 or 3 on 3. That's workable for them.
The fact that very few people will likely see me over the next few months does work in my favor. I'm likely to farm the duty out to another house member, just so I finish with two ears.
Now I feel like you guys like Jim more than you like me. Either that or after a month, there's nothing left to ask.
I've got more where that came from. Couldn't fit it all in. The Blues have the fourth-best win percentage in one-goal games at .581. Part of that is because the Blues gave up so many empty-net goals that they seldom lost by one goal.
And the Blues were tied for last in the league on deflected goals (goals that go in off a player's body and not their stick) and alone worst in shooting percentage on deflected goals. So if you put a shot off a Blues' leg, it's probably going wide.