Chat all things Blues with Tom Timmermann at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Chat all things Blues with Tom Timmermann at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Get your questions ready and join in at 1 p.m. Wednesday for our weekly Blues chat.

    Greetings Blues fans. We're now more than a week removed from the end of the season and, if nothing else, Colorado has shown it can make other teams look not-so-good too. I spent the morning doing non-hockey stuff, meeting with MLS Commissioner Don Garber as he passed through town to check out the stadium progress. One day there will be a soccer chat, but probably not for a couple years. In any case, hockey is my sole focus right now. So let's chat. There are already some questions waiting, so I'll dive in.
    Hello, It looks like Tarasenko is looking great in the worlds already with 3 assists and a SO GWG. Do you really think blues will be stupid enough to get rid of him in the expansion draft? Your thoughts?
    I think exposing him in the draft would be foolish, since the Blues would be getting nothing for him. (I suppose you could say it would let them keep Vince Dunn or someone else, but that doesn't seem a fair exchange.) If you want to move him, trade him so at least you get something for him. I said this on the last podcast, but I had low expectations for Tarasenko this season after such a long time off and the time it would take him to get back up to full speed. He probably came in a little low on my expectations, but not by a whole lot. I can't imagine that my expectations were that different from what the team expected. (But maybe different from what they hoped.) Anyway, giving away a guy who did pretty much what you expected doesn't make a lot of sense, especially when the expectation is it would be a stepping stone to getting better. This is about the time you would expect him to start getting better, with the games played and time since surgery. Trading him is an entirely different matter; if the deal is there, you make it. But on this team, if there is anyone who I think you can expect to make a big jump next season and score a lot more goals, it will be Tarasenko. Letting him go for nothing is not an efficient use of assets.
    Will the extent of Paranko's back injury ever be revealed? Can the fan base expect to see him return to be the dominate leader of the defensive core that we thought would happen after Petro left?
    Parayko. It's Parayko. 
    I don't know that the full extent of injuries are ever revealed, unless a player is exceptionally forthcoming. And hockey players treat injuries differently than normal humans. Limbs can be dangling and it's no big deal. 
    I think he can be. I think he showed signs of it at the end of the season. With more rest and treatment, and if surgery isn't needed, I think he can step into that role. I after Pietrangelo left that it would be a medley of events needed to replace him, and the one I would have said was the most likely was Parayko becoming the guy. Injuries kept that from happening and that may well have been the biggest problem the team had this season. If Parayko doesn't become a dominant leader of the defense, the Blues will have problems. Big problems. 
    Do you think Krug will improve next season like Faulk did this season?
    While past performance is no guarantee of future results, signs point that way. It was a tough spot for Krug to step into, and world events made it worse. I think it was hard for all the newcomers to fit in. It was Krug who early in the season when asked about what he would do when the pandemic was over said he'd have everyone on the team over for a barbecue so he could get to know them better. Krug's season wasn't all that bad. Lots of assists, not a lot of goals, and with Parayko's absence, he got pushed into a bit more high-pressure defensive situations than the team probably would have liked. His first season was probably better than Faulk's first season.
    Tom, I know the Blues have until July 17th to decide who they protect and who they do not. Since the Stanley Cup finals don’t end until the first week of July at the latest, and generally as a rule no trades or player moves are done until after the Stanley Cup has been awarded, what is Army doing right now? Is it just making phone calls and laying the foundations for possible trades? Seems like it’s just “dead” time right now, “hurry up and wait”.
  • Right now? Possibly finishing lunch, depending on how he's set his day up. In the immediate aftermath of the season, the front office staff gets together and goes over everything, player by player, throughout the organization. Discussions are had about free agents, from Jaden Schwartz down to Mitch Reinke, about whether to keep them or let them go, and at what price they want to keep them. As teams are eliminated, GMs will reach out to other GMs who have had similar discussions with their staffs about who they may be looking to move. The expansion list is scrutinized, and the team will try to figure out what other team's lists look like to see if that sparks any ideas. So there's a lot going on. And there's an amateur draft coming up too, so the team has to assess what their needs are there. The real dead time for the GMs is right after the trade deadline.
  • It's only year 1 in the new Brayden Schenn 8 yr contract and many fans are already grumbling and writing how it won't age well. Prorated over an 82 game schedule, he would have had 23 goals this season. By measurable stats, is that good value? How about unreasonable stats?
    Let me tell you that almost every eight-year contract does not age well, unless you're signing the guy to it when he's 23. When Schenn's contract ends, Schenn will be 36. You don't need to be an actuary to know the lifespan of a hockey player's career. But that's the tradeoff you make. You give the guy a big deal for those first four or five seasons, and the added years to reduce the AAV and you hope those last few seasons aren't too bad. Armstrong admitted as much when the deal was done, that the last few years of it might very well be another GM's problem. 
    Schenn may not have had a great season, but it wasn't a terrible one. He got a lot of those goals early. And if he's not producing points, he's one of the most dependably gritty players the Blues have. For a guy with measurable offensive skills, he's not hesitant to mix it up. In fact, he's eager to do it. I think a dependable 20-goal scorer who leads is worth the investment. I would write this off as just a good player having an off year.  
    Two expansion draft questions. Did Tarasenko play in few enough games the last 2 season to make him ineligible to be drafted by Seattle and the Blues do not have to protect him? Do you think it is common for teams to have agreements already in place for their own free agents but are waiting until after the expansion draft to officially sign them in order to be able to protect other players?
    The Blues have to protect Tarasenko.
    The Blues could get cute and reach a deal with a UFA like Schwartz ahead of time and not sign him and protect someone else, but it's probably not something the league would look favorably on, though I'm not sure if it's actually illegal, and possibly not worth the risk in order to add Oskar Sundqvist to your protected list. 
    Tom, if the Blues let Schwartz go and sign a scoring winger will the Blues have enough to sign a big D-man and a quality backup goalie? I hate to say it but Army needs to let Dunn go as well to free up cap space Dunn is an offensive threat but the Blues need help in front of Binnington in the form of a big d-man. Most of our defensemen couldn't move any of the Avalance players from out of the front of the net. Binnington didn't have enough room to change his mind when he played the Aves.
    First off, unless he gets taken in the expansion draft, Husso is your backup goalie next season. With the flat cap, the Blues aren't going to be spending more than they have to on a backup goalie and they were reasonably pleased with Husso considering it was his first NHL season. And the other guys are developing and getting close, so signing an experienced back up for multiple years probably isn't a direction they want to go.
    The Blues on defense next season present an interesting situation. If Dunn goes, you've got Krug, Faulk, Parayko, Scandella, Bortuzzo, Mikkola and Walman. And Perunovich is a year away. One of the things being discussed in those end of season meetings is can the team put Mikkola and Walman in their top six? If the answer to that is yes, and I think both showed it this season, then the only way you're bringing someone in is if one of those guys goes. I doubt that Krug, Faulk or Parayko are going anywhere. So it may end up being a case where the Blues make do with what they have and figure out a way to keep the netfront clear other than through brute force.
    I hope Tarasenko stays, but if he decides he wants a change of scenery, where would be the most likely place he'd go? Washington maybe?
    He'd most likely go to the team that gave the Blues the best return. He's got a no-trade clause, so he'd have some say in the matter. Hard for me to say which team might value him most highly.
  • Given the uncertainty surrounding Parayko‘s health, do the Blues explore options to secure another elite RD? Seth Jones or Dougie Hamilton come to mind.
    Seth Jones is coming off a not very good season, subpar both offensively and defensively. Hamilton will not come cheap and it would mean the Blues have an awful lot of money tied up on defense. You'd be talking $25 million for the top four D alone.
    Tom, we are kidding ourselves if we think Tarasenko will return to form next year. The league knows how to play Vladi, which is to rough him up. This summner Army needs to sign a quality scorer or two and add a big d-man and/or a proven backup goalie. He can only do that by letting Schwartz, Dunn and Tarasenko go. If Army doesn't our cup window will close. Its now or wait until next decade.
    I think we need to adjust what is form for Tarasenko. The routine 30-goal seasons are likely gone. Twenty-goal seasons may become the norm for him for the duration of his contract. Maybe 25. There are worse things. Letting Schwartz, Dunn and Tarasenko all go would constitute a major makeover of the team. It's quite possible that two of those three are gone, because of how the world works. Letting them go and replacing them would seem to constitute opening a new window.
    Tom, the Blues often appeared disinterested during the season. This has nothing to do with talent, and everything to do with desire. Also, it looked like they tuned Berube out for stretches of the season. How will they correct those problems? And, I feel this team needs an injection of new blood on the roster. I would not mind it at all if Gunnersen, Dunn, Sanford, Bozek and Schwartz did not return. At least 5 new players would keep things fresh as keeping the same team together will not get better results next year. Your thoughts. Paul
    You could get your wish. Gunnarsson almost certainly won't be back. With the defensemen they have, and with his injury, I don't see any way he fits. Dunn could go in the expansion draft. Bozak and Schwartz are both UFAs, so it just takes one good offer for them to leave. And Sanford is a young player who can score and do other things and would likely be appealing to other teams. So it won't take much for all five to be somewhere else. And if so, there will have to be some new faces, especially on offense. It's hard to see more than one new face on defense.
    I've said this before, but I don't know about players tuning out coaches. Seems to me the veterans who are around have for the most part bought into what he wants and the new guys are new. This team never got its act together this season, whether it was because of the constantly changing lineups or something else. Those kind of teams probably seem disinterested.  
    Hi Tom... could you please remind everyone that Vladi has a no trade clause. Unless we expose him (which I think would be stupid), he’s in control of a trade.
    Tarasenko has a no-trade clause. 
    This has not deterred Armstrong before, but it adds an extra degree of difficulty to any move. 
    Teams win in the playoffs with outstanding goaltending and a strong defense. Edmonton and Toronto just proved that. Improving the defense should be priority #1. You agree?
  • I don't know that there's been many Stanley Cup champions without outstanding goaltending. It's the kind of thing that kind of proves itself. And outstanding goaltending makes your defense look a lot better. But defense isn't always about defensemen. Forwards have to play defense too. Defense wins championships. But to get to the playoffs, scoring goals certainly helps. The Blues could have used an extra goal or two, or an extra save or two, at many points along the way.
    Tom, everyone wants us to get a 40 goal scorer or some new version of Larry Robinson on defense. An area not being discussed enough is our PK and how far it fell off without Jay-Bo, Steen, and Petro. Is there a strong UFA out there who is great on PK and plays 3/4 line minutes, or on 2nd/3rd defense pairing that can make that impact (outside of Sunny's return)?
    Well, Tyler Bozak fits that bill, and you wouldn't have to worry about him relocating. There are plenty of guys out there who fit that bill and they come cheaper than goal scorers. Phillip Danault of Montreal got one of my Selke votes this season and is a free agent, but I'm not sure what his price will jump up to since he's 28 and made $3 million this season.
    Tom-
    Great Chat as usual! I say call Johnny Londoff and have him pick Jaden Schwartz up in one of his Chevys and head out of town for good. What says you?
    All depends on what the contract looks like. If the Blues can get him at the same price, or less, and it's not a long term deal, then bring him back. It may be tough for Schwartz to get a raise, since his production numbers have been so limited. The thing is, if you let him go, what does everyone say the Blues need: better D and someone who will play Berube's forechecking style and win back pucks. So the Blues would be looking for, well, Jaden Schwartz, though presumably one that doesn't get hurt as much. The hole created could be tough to fill. Again, this is the kind of thing talked about in end-of-season team meetings.
    Would Jake Eichel be an offensive upgrade considering his injury situation? I would be very wary but unless Klim Kostin turns into Brendan Shanahan I don't see the offense improving from within. What say you?
    Jack Eichel would be an offensive upgrade. His cost would be very high, and it would be very hard for the Blues to match what other teams would likely offer. And unless the Blues parted with a high-salaried player to get him, they would start to have a whole lot of salary tied up in very few players, and that doesn't seem to work very well. The Blues went out and got a top-notch goal scorer in Hoffman for this season and that didn't pan out, though I doubt that will scare off Armstrong from making a move. 
    I do not expect Klim Kostin to turn into Brendan Shanahan. 
    Which 3 of the following do you think are most important to have moving forward to the teams success? Blaise, Sanford, Barbashev, Sundqvist, Joshua, MacEachern, Clifford. Explain your reasoning? Which of these do you see on the roster next year?
    This sounds like an essay question.
    Most important? Sanford, Barbashev and Sundqvist. Then Blais. The others are essentially interchangeable parts. I don't think that having Joshua, Clifford or MacEachern in the lineup significantly changes your possibility of winning any particular game. (Though we haven't seen that much of Joshua to know for sure.) Sanford can score goals and play good defense, though he's prone to silly mistakes and turnovers. Sundqvist can play up and down the lineup, can score goals, play defense and bring energy. Barbashev can do the same, though maybe not quite as well. Blais has shown surprising levels of finesse and likes to hit. 
    Any of those four could be on the roster next season. All will be exposed in the expansion draft, so Seattle could find one to their liking. Sanford has the best trade value. 
  • This is probably not a popular opinion this time of the year, but doesn’t it make more sense to add lower cost free agents that fit the system rather than high priced guys that you end up in cap trouble with? Obviously Taylor Hall is better than Blake Coleman and Douggie Hamilton is better than David Savard. But the latter players seem to fit the style of play Berube wants and you could probably add both and keep Schwartz and Bozak. I’m hoping to see the Blues get back to 4 lines of aggressive forechecking/ back checking and 3 pairs of D men that can clear the front of the net and get the puck back up the ice.
    The Blues of recent years have not been built around big stars. Pietrangelo and pre-injury Tarasenko would be the only names you would see when someone put together a top 25 or more list of NHL players, and even then not always. It's a synergy thing with the Blues, where the team as a whole is better than the sum of its parts, or however that works. Schwartz and Bozak both fit the team very well, and Mike Hoffman doesn't, which is something to keep in mind entering free agency.
    Of the teams left, who are you rooting for? Who do you think will win? I like both of the Canadian teams & would like to see one of them in the Finals... they both have goaltenders that can get them there. Colorado looked unstoppable the other night, but we’ll see what they do against Fleury tonight to determine if they’re the real deal.
    Well, I'm not rooting for anyone. I just hope the games are entertaining and well-played. 
    Bad news for your Canadian teams: One of them will likely be playing Colorado in the next round, so that should end that. I see no reason at this point in time to pick against Colorado. They are a very, very good team. It would be fun to see a team like Winnipeg in the final, or even Montreal, though it's hard to cast them as a romantic underdog considering the franchise's history. I'd probably go with Tampa Bay out of the other side of the bracket. I think a Colorado-Tampa final has the potential to be fun to watch. 
    Where do you see the "experts" placing the Blues in their division next season? What is your opinion?
    When the Central Division gets put back together next season, I think you're looking at the Blues as a top four team. It will be easier to tell if they have a shot at first when we see what Colorado's roster looks like next season. The Avs have a lot of UFAs, plus Makar will be getting a big raise. They will be losing some pieces, but the Blues may still be a notch below them. Then you'll have Minnesota, which finished ahead of the Blues this season, and Nashville and Dallas and Arizona in the mix. 
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