Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat

Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat

    Hi there. Sorry for the slight delay. Not quite sure what the problem was, but if something happens mid-chat, hang in there. It doesn't mean I don't care.
    Is the defense pretty much set for this season? If you were Army, what are you looking to bolster before the season starts?
    It looks like the roster is pretty much set for the season, barring I don't know what. I still think the defense needs to get sorted out. Yes, you want to have depth on defense, but it seems like the Blues have more D than they know what to do with and I'd want to be playing Perunovich and Mikkola on a regular basis. 
    I would not be surprised to see a move on defense, but I am not sure what it would be because the obvious guy to trade, Scandella, is going to be hard to trade. 
    Hi Tom, what's for lunch? And are the Blues substantially worse at this point, or just slightly worse?
    I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (strawberry) with a glass of milk.
    I'd say not as good, but maybe Jake Neighbours steps up and fills a need and Perron's departure is minimized by the play of others. The power play won't be as good as of right now.  The goalie depth might not be there but, as with any goalie situation, who knows. And the blueline is essentially unchanged from the end of the season. 
    Isn't all the talk about Tkachuk, Perron, and roster construction mute when it comes to the teams ultimate success? Binnington, Binnington, Binnington is the key. Last year he was keeping the team afloat even though the Avs we're dominating on-ice play. Yes, you need a team to win enough during the season to make the playoffs but a super hot goalie is the only way for the Blues to advance and win the cup. O'R was a nice story winning the Conn Smythe and Petro was also deserving but w/o Binnington there was no parade in 19.
    Let the record reflect that my Conn Smythe vote in 2019 went to Binnington. (As did Jim's.) Yes, it comes down to goalies on any team. You don't win if you don't have an excellent season from your goalie. And it's a crapshoot. Very, very few goalies are outstanding every season. So can Binnington do it again? He's done it before, which is a vote in his favor. It's not like you're asking Chad Johnson to do it. 
    And last season, had Husso not been there when Binnington stumbled, the Blues would have been in trouble.
    So yes, the goalie matters, but I'd also say you can't have a great goalie and no offense and expect to have success. You have to score goals, or limit the other team's chances, at some point. So while the goalie is key, there are five other guys on the ice most of the time who have to do something, in the regular season and the playoffs. 
    And, I would suggest, Colorado won the Stanley Cup without great goaltending in the postseason. 
    Is it surprising to you our friend UFA Nazem Kadri hasn't signed yet? Reasons for his unemployment:
    A) He took too long to decide.
    B) Nazem thought too highly of himself and asked for too many years.
    C) GMs didn't want a player known in the league as dirty on their team.
    D) All the above.

    It seems to me Nazem either signs with Buffalo or he sits out a while. Couldn't be happening to a nicer guy. Enjoy Binner, you're being paid and he isn't!
    Seems like Kadri thought he was setting the market and everyone would wait for him to decide. That didn't happen, and his options are now limited because everyone else has signed. So I guess I'd say A. Teams and GMs don't seem to have a problem with C when that guy is on your team, especially if you're very good. Brad Marchand and Tom Wilson are proof of that.
    Kadri will land somewhere and will get paid. Maybe he gets a Hoffman like one-year deal somewhere and goes on the market again next season. But he'll be playing on opening day .
    Armstrong would have to had seen when drafting Perunovich so high he was getting a clone of Krug and that ultimately one would not fit in the D make-up. Krug is proven w Perunovich showing he could do it but hasn't stayed healthy. How do you see the Blues moving forward w these two pieces?
    Perunovich wasn't taken all that high. He was a second-round pick, 45th overall, who turned out to be a very good player. I'm of two minds on Perunovich. One is that with all the struggles he's had staying healthy and getting in the lineup, to the point that he is still unproven after this long, maybe it's best to move him somewhere else and get something in return. The other is that the Blues defense is old and getting older. They've got five guys over 30. The Blues need all the young defensemen they can get, and trading away one of your few young guys doesn't help that. 
    I think of the Big Three on the Blues' defense, Faulk, Krug and Parayko, Krug would be the one who would be least averse to a trade, especially if it was back east, where hockey life is so much simpler. It's a complex jigsaw puzzle back there, and I'm not sure what they're going to do with it. 
    And the plumber has gone, so that's taken care of.
    Tom -

    Which young player do you think will have the most significant impact in the upcoming season:

    I'm going with Neighbours because he'll have the biggest chance to have an impact. Toropchenko will miss the first few months and be on the fourth line. Mikkola and Perunovich have the potential to be scratched often, or be on the third pairing when they are in. Perunovich is probably the only one to get power play time, so he would be my second choice.
    Hi Tom, good work in the Post. Besides the obvious, Neighbors, are there any prospects that might break through in a big way this year? PD articles on Kissel and Dickerson were intriguing. Does Kissel have a chance? Is he top 4 if there is an injury? Also, if 1/2 the Traverse tourney is missed, can we get other city's articles on Blues games there? Thank.
    If the Blues didn't have so many defensemen ahead of him, I'd say Kessel would have a chance, but right now, there's a lot of traffic he has to fight through. He's no better than 10th on the defensive depth chart at the moment, though training camp could change things. Dickinson has promise but is coming off an injury and this season is probably too soon for him.
    Alexandrov or Laferriere could be next season's Toropchenko. And of course there's the Bolduc situation, though I think he's also a year away. 
    Hard to say who shows up to cover Traverse City from year to year, so no guarantee that the team the Blues are playing will have a writer there to cover it. 
    Forget hockey for a moment, I hope you and everyone in STL are okay after the flood.
    Thanks. My home sits on high ground, so I didn't have any trouble, but it was scary to see some of the stuff happening around town yesterday morning and some of the stories we had this morning were amazing.
    If the Blues are not close to being in the playoffs by the trade deadline, do you see them selling off pieces for draft picks or up and coming rookie talent?
    Oh certainly, though they don't have all that many really attractive UFAs to be. Tarasenko would be gone, but would they trade O'Reilly? The other impending UFAs next season will be Barbashev, Acciari, Mikkola and Greiss.
    Hi Tim,

    What role do you think the many no-trade clauses that the Blues and Armstrong have handed out in recent deals played in unsuccessful trade talks for Tkachuk? And how will they affect future contracts, whether ROR and Vlad (if he wants to stay)? I'm fearing a scenario where we lose one or both of them because Armstrong can't move Saad or another guy to make space.
    As Armstrong has said, a no-trade clause doesn't mean you can't trade the guy. It just means the player has some say in it. So maybe you can't make the deal you want to make, and you have to make a different one. I can't imagine many players saying, 'I only want to be in St. Louis, I am not consenting to any trade.' So maybe they don't want to be traded to Buffalo. Great. There are 30 other teams if all you're trying to do is free up cap space. (Now, it can be a factor if you're making a player for player hockey trade.)
    But also, if you don't give out no-trade clauses, it becomes a lot harder to sign free agents. The Blues may have locked themselves out from some free agents -- say, Pietrangelo -- by not doing no-movement clauses. And if they were to stop doing no-trade clauses, or severely cut back on them, you may not be in the running for a guy like Tkachuk anyway.
    Tkachuk, by the way, has a full no-movement clause for the next five seasons after this one. He wasn't getting that from the Blues.  
    Concerning the right side of the Blues D. They are loaded at the top w Paranko and Faulk who are capable of major minutes and last year Bortuzzo stayed surprisingly healthy and fills a valuable role. Are any of the LH D really effective in filling in for any of the three if there is a long term injury considering how difficult it is to play and move the puck out of the D zone on the off wing?
    I'd think Leddy or Mikkola could do it. The one thing Leddy does best is move the puck out of the D zone, so he could probably adapt to that.
    Seeing what the price was for Tkachuk, do you think the Blues would have been a better team (short term and long term) if they decided to pay a similar price (i.e. Tkachuk's salary, roster players traded, prospect and Draft pick)?
    I don't know what package the Blues would have put together that would be better than Florida's that they would have wanted to make. Tarasenko and any of the top three D -- Parayko, Krug, Faulk -- would have been a serious overpay. Or if you threw in an extra forward, all of a sudden you're down 90 goals from last season and expecting Tkachuk and Neighbours to pick that up. Then add in a $10 million AAV on Tkachuk's deal, and all of a sudden, you become a very top-heavy team. Maybe long term they'd be OK after the salary cap started rising, but that's two or more years down the road.
    Tom, it’s probably a blessing in disguise we didn’t get Tkachuk. Hopefully we can develop our own. What rookies do you see possibly breaking camp with the big club in October?
    I don't know if there's a Tkachuk in the Blues' system, or the prospects for one unless they have a bad season and get a really high draft pick. 
    As for rookies, again, Neighbours will be the guy. It would be really something if a defenseman was able to break through. There isn't a Parayko type lurking down there who is going to jump over five other guys. On D, Bolduc would be the most fun, but he may be a year away. The other Ds down there are more third or fourth line types. 
    And it's also unlikely that any of the young goalies break camp with the big club. It would take one awful camp from Greiss for that to happen. 
    I understand why a player’s number is retired, but where do you draw the line? The Blues have eight numbers already retired in just 60 years. In another 60 years will the team need to use three digit numbers for prospects at training camp, or call ups? The Penguins joined the league the same year and only have two numbers retired. I’m fine with hanging their name and number from the rafters, but not retire the number. If it was up to me we would only have three numbers retired to date: 5, 16, 24.
    The Canadiens have retired 14 numbers, and they get by. The New York Yankees have retired 23, including one, 8, twice. (And, technically, I suppose, 42.) It's a call for every team to make about who they hold special. 
    I have no problem with any of the numbers the Blues retired. 
    Not so sure about how this trade is going to work out for either Florida or Matthew Tkachuk. FL is now 3+M Over the Cap. They are going to lose some additional talent to be Cap compliant to make this trade work. As we've seen, windows open and close quickly in the NHL and this might be an instance of winning the battle but losing the war for the Panthers. For Tkachuk, FL could return to mediocrity very quickly and playing in a half full arena on the far outskirts of Miami for 8 years might get old quickly. Especially after coming from the fun environment that is playing in front of Calgary fans.
    This for me was a hard trade to rate in the here and now. There was something in it for both teams. A lot will depend on Florida's commitment going forward to keep a good team around Tkachuk and finding a way to do it. In any event, Tkachuk is a good place to start building a team, and for me, Florida was the most fun team in the league to watch last season. But right now, I can see both sides of this trade being good -- Calgary got two decent players in return -- or at least neither team having been fleeced.
    As much as Roy Hobbs may disagree with me, the Matthew Tkachuk signing was "fools gold". Too much salary given to one player and Calgary wanted to much in return. Calgary will end up winning this deal. And MT didn't show up in the playoffs when the Flames needed him.
    Would have been a lot of talent and money going out and his impact on the payroll would have been there for a long time. I'm less inclined to judge a guy on the short-term period of the playoffs. I think Matthew Tkachuk, if money wasn't a factor, is a good addition to any team.
    Tom, happy hockey hump day from the "Mouse House". Please pass along my well wishes to Jim.

    Yesterday I asked BenFred the proper way to pronounce Zachary Bolduc's last name, and he responded with the pronunciation "bull-dook". Therefore, hance forth young Zachary's nickname will be "THE DUKE". I recommend my fellow chatters, you, Jim and Gordo to begin referring to him in all articles and chats as The Duke. I predict The Duke will make the team out of camp.
    Bolduc certainly brings some excitement to the ice. The question will be can he fit into the top nine, because it would be a mistake to put him on the fourth line. So there's O'Reilly, Tarasenko, Schenn, Buchnevich, Saad, Kyrou, Thomas, Barbashev and Neighbours. Does Bolduc play well enough to make Barbashev your fourth line center? If not him, who is he pushing out of the way. 
    Calgary got 2 decent players in return? I would argue that Huberdeau is at least as valuable as Tkachuk and Weegar is a legit 1st pairing Dman. If Treliving can resign both of them, this trade was a home run for Calgary. Time will tell.
    Tkachuk is an excellent two-way player. Huberdeau is not. Huberdeau's expected five-on-five goals for per 60 minutes is right around the league average and he's below average defensively. He is an excellent passer. Weegar is a very good defenseman though his numbers dropped last season.
    Is Kostin considered a bust now or does he need more time to develop? It feels like he's been struggling and his potential has plummeted, but the same could have been said of Tage Thompson a few years ago. What do we need to see from him this year?

    Also, I thought I heard Kostin wasn’t shy about dropping the gloves, but I've never seen him use it. If he does have that skillset it seems like Berube would covet having a mini-Reaves on the 4th line (not to mention giving Schenn a break).
    By now, I think Kostin has had the time he's needed to develop, and if he hasn't gotten more time in the NHL, it's because the Blues haven't thought he earned it. He did spend some time in the minors this season because of cap concerns beyond his control, but he didn't come back because other players did better than he had done. An advantage Thompson had with Buffalo is that he was going to get the ice time there that he wasn't going to get in St. Louis. There's not a scenario out there where he was getting first-line time in St. Louis. So could Kostin thrive elsewhere? Quite possibly. And he may still get a chance in St. Louis at the start of the season when Toropchenko is out. Assuming he's still here. 
    Kostin has shown an edge in his game at all levels, but there's a feel for fights and when to do them and may not be comfortable with that in the NHL yet. And when ice time is as hard to come by as it has been for Kostin, spending five minutes in the penalty box may not be his preferred approach.  His game will probably be measured by how he does on the forecheck and backcheck. That's where he needs to focus. 
    The shocker to me is Robert Thomas at 8+ million AAV. Seems about $2M too high to me. Implications of that deal for Kyrou and other Blues players means to me, we're going to have to age out some of the older players ... Tarasenko, O'Reilly, etc.
    The Thomas contract is made with the future in mind and no doubt that in a few years, $8 million AAVs are standard for players like Thomas. He's still young, and when this contract runs out, he'll be about the same age Ryan O'Reilly is now. It does have implications elsewhere, most notably in Kyrou's contract. Kyrou will want a similar deal and may well get it, though Thomas is the better all-around player. There's every chance that by the time Thomas' contract runs out, the deal looks like a steal. (Also, there's very good chance I'm retired by the time this contract ends.) 
    In three years, on a talent level, I'd rather have Thomas than O'Reilly or Tarasenko. And as painful as it may, older players age out. It is inevitable.
    Hi Tom. Do you think it's more likely that Vladi is 1) Traded before the season starts, 2) Traded before the trade deadline in March, 3) Plays a full season here and becomes a UFA, or 4) Signs a contract extension with the Blues?
    Either 2 or 3. At this point, no reason to trade him because you don't need the cap space and unless there's a Tkachuk sort of deal out there, no team is going to be trading for a guy in the final year of his contract. If the Blues are out of it at the deadline, they'll trade him then. If they're in it, they'll keep him as their own rental.
    Hi Tom. I agree with Paul that our goalie needs to be our best player, and he looked the part during the last month and the playoffs. What percentage do you put on Vladi being with the Blues all year? I personally would like him to renegotiate his last year into a three-year extension and retire a Blue. He plays well with Thomas, and he has always been a fan favorite. Thanks!
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