Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat

Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat

    I just don't see an extension coming for Tarasenko, but hey, I don't know that any of this has played out as we thought it might. As in the previous answer, whether he finishes out the season depends on how the Blues season goes. 
    And a point of order: In the NHL, he can't re-negotiate his last season. He'll have a $7.5 million cap hit regardless. But he can sign an extension for future seasons. But the NHL does not allow renegotiations to existing contracts. 
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for doing this.
    Kostin had a great fight last year against a very tough Scott Mayfield of the Islanders. Your colleague Gordo was impressed. If he does more of that, he’ll gain confidence and space to use it.
    As podcast listeners know, Gordo has been big on Kostin from the start, though that sentiment has been a bit on the decline along with Kostin's playing time. The emergence of Toropchenko is going to make things tough for Kostin, though the injury to Toropchenko does open a slight window.
    Tom -

    If this offseason is the Blues version of treading water, next looks like it will be a transformative one. My prediction is that we lose each of O'Reilly, Tarasenko and Barabchev - clearing up nearly $20 mil in cap space. Kyrou will be due a significant raise, but at the very worst that will still leave $12 mil on the table and hopefully by then Neighbours will be a mainstay on the big club and hopefully Bolduc will be pushing for a spot as well.

    Do you expect a splashy add? Via free agency or trade? Or will we be more likely to retain one or more of the previously mentioned expiring contracts?
    I'm a bit surprised Barbashev is still with the team at this moment. I thought he would be someone who might be moved to open up cap space (or avoid the need for future cap space), especially coming off the season he had. I have no idea what O'Reilly's next contract looks like, other than it will be for less than $7.5 million. But what the years and the dollars look like, I don't know. O'Reilly's season made a nice rebound in the latter stages, so maybe once he fully shook his early season COVID case, he got back to normal speed. 
    If you're asking about a splashy add for this season, that's not happening, though any free agency or trade. They will want to keep O'Reilly, but not at No. 1 center money, since Thomas is making No. 1 center money. Barbashev has showed exemplary staying power, though if you look at his numbers, his 5 v 5 defense is not very good at all.  
    Not sure why some want to nickel and dime Thomas, who just had 77 points in his age 22 season
    If there was a guy on this team to spend an extra million on, he'd be the guy.
    Tom -

    Our fourth line looks like its going to be filled out with players I've never heard of before. Do you see these depth pieces we filled out the roster with as a strength, or just warm bodies who can be fodder for those dirty minutes?
    Right now, I'd guess the opening day fourth line as Acciari, Walker and someone holding Toropchenko's place till he gets back. Is that Kostin or Brown or someone else, I don't know. Obviously we haven't seen Acciari, but Walker and Toropchenko got the job done at the end of last season. Fourth line players are generally expendable. It's one commodity that's in abundance in the NHL. Toropchenko may be able to graduate to the third line some day.
    Tom, who do you see taking Perron's spot on the line with ROR? On the PP Perron has a deadly "one-timer" which made him successful, who else has a one-timer like Perron?

    By the way, THANK YOU Tom for these chats. Its late July, 95 degrees and humid, and I am ready to drop the puck! Let's Go Blues!
    My guess is you'll see everybody at some point. But coaches do like to make pairs on a line and then to alternate the other wing, I could see Saad or Buchnevich there, but Berube will give everyone a look in training camp. It's the NHL. Nothing lasts forever.
    Hey Tom -

    Clarifying my question from earlier concerning that "splashy add". I was specifically referring to adding a star player next offseason when Oreilly Barbaschev and Tarasenko come off the books. There will be BIG shoes to fill and the money to fill them.
    Yeah, I wasn't quite clear on what you meant. Sorry. That's getting a bit ahead of the game, but if the money is there, Armstrong will spend it. But his definition of a splashy add is different than others. He hasn't been the type to go after a free agent class's biggest name. But he's also not afraid to go after someone like Krug.
    It's odd that the Calgary Flames have not extended Huberdeau yet. I thought that would have been sorted out in the negotiations. Is he possibly in play for the Blues, if they are interested?
    Huberdeau has said he's open to staying in Calgary but that part of the deal happened pretty quick, so that wasn't something that got taken care of in advance like the Tkachuk half. I don't know that the Blues would be interested.
    Tom,
    is there an optimum target that teams shot for with the % of their payroll they allocate for goaltending, defense, and forwards? Has anyone tracked how the teams that have had recent success have allocated their payroll between the 3 positions?
    I'm sure someone has tracked this, because someone has tracked everything, but I don't think there's an optimum target because there's so much at play. If you have one of the rare consistently good goalies, then you're OK with paying him more, though you'll no doubt skimp a bit on the backup. If you have a couple of good young defensemen or forwards, you can shift more money into the other unit. And some teams just like to build heavily around one part of the game. One thing you have to have is some good players making the league minimum. Otherwise, it's impossible to make the cap work. There isn't much of a middle class in the NHL.
    It has been a disappointing offseason so far for Blues Nation. Our goaltending took a hit, our depth took a hit, our power play took a huge hit, less leadership, fan morale is down. It's amazing how losing 2 important players completely changes the complexion of this team. Last year I thought we were a 8-10th best team in hockey. This year I estimate we're a 14-16th best team. This is all assuming no further changes are made. Where do you see our Blues ranked?

    On a side note, I realize as well that Colorado took a hit (lost 2/3rd of their 2nd line) and Minnesota lost an important player as well (Fiala). A lot of Eastern Conference teams got better, which is good for us since the west got weaker.
    And for an opposing viewpoint:
    Like the team going into next year as I thought we were the second best team in the West by the end of the season and nothing that's happened this offseason has changed that opinion, although I will miss DP57.

    Bigger picture though, boy, we are ALL IN on this top 4 D. 23.5 million locked up for at least the next three years (unless someone is willing to waive their NTC) and at that point, those contracts might be unmovable. For the Blues to get back to where they were in 19-20, Parayko has to get back to being one of the best defensive D men in the league. The Athletic had his as the 8th worst contract in the entire league. I'm skeptical that Leddy is the partner for him, but most of us thought Bouwmeester was done before 2019, so here's hoping!
    Parayko's defense isn't as good as it was in his first four seasons, but it's better than it was two years ago. The Blues really need him to get back up to that level when he was considered one of the best young defensemen in the league.
    Do you think it is harmful to players who’s name is part of a trade rumor, but the trade doesn’t happen? Could that lead to bad feelings towards management or spill over to the locker room? I ask because I think I would hold a grudge.
    Players know it's a business and I suspect most players have an idea when something may be happening. But a trade rumor could certainly cause some anxiety, because unforced moves, especially if you have a family, can not be fun. Not many NHL players have long careers with one team, so the expectation of being traded, or leaving as a free agent, is there from Day One.
    Yikes, I did not pace myself properly and I've got a bunch of questions still to get to. I'll try my best.
    I had the opportunity to see Neighbours play in the WHIL this past season and was quite impressed. Blues should hang on the him at all costs.
    The Blues need players like Neighbours who can make a contribution while being paid very little. And if he's impressive and can get top six minutes, that's even better. Neighbours looked good last season in his nine games, but maybe not quite good enough to merit being in the lineup all season.
    Tom -

    Is the writing on the wall for Ryan O'Reilly? Doug Armstrong has been RUTHLESS but also extremely intelligent about cutting the Blues most beloved palyers loose before they become a liability. Perron, Backes, Petro. All fan favorites, two of them captains, but each wanted more years than they'd be valuable for and were sent packing.

    I appreciate Ryan O'Reilly quite a bit for his defensive effort, his leadership, his faceoff acumen. But his game doesn't seem like the type that will age well - probably similar to Alexander Steen.

    Is he as good as gone next year? And if so, is there any consideration to move him before his contract is up? We're less competitive at least on paper than we were last year. Move him now (or at least before the trade deadline depending on how the team performs) for some draft capital or some young talent?
    I don't think he's as good as gone because he's respected within the organization and has a good influence on younger players and he's the captain. One difference between him and Pietrangelo is that Pietrangelo was a little younger and was looking at a big career-ending contract. I don't think that's what O'Reilly is looking at. I don't think he's getting a raise from $7.5 million. But where that number is, I don't know. Or how many years. Or, for that matter, is it something the Blues want to get wrapped up early and out of the way or something they're willing to wait on. I think it's 50-50 he stays, which is my way of saying I have no idea.
    Hey Jim!! Where are you on the 'trade Tarasenko now' versus let him play out the year, then leave as UFA... I'm of the mind you can't let him go for 0 assets in return.. Either way you get cap relief, I'd prefer to get something for him.. Even depth scoring, prospect.... I also think the more it's 'out there' that he wants out and the season starts, it could be a virus you don't want on your team... Time to move on. He doesn't want to be here... let's grant his wish
    I'll have to ask Jim, but as for me, I think there's no reason to trade him now because there's a not return on Tarasenko right now that makes it worth it. You don't need the cap space any more and no team is going to trade for Tarasenko and give you a better commodity at this point. So keep him to the trade deadline and if the Blues are still in the mix, keep him as a rental and play out the season.
    Where will Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews finish the season next year? I would be happy to have either of them on the Blues. What say you?
    Next year as in 2022-23? I don't think it's possible for either of them to play for the Blues. They both have $10 million cap hits.
    Hey Tom. With Perron gone and the Blues seemingly have more left-handed defensemen than the rest of the league (I jest of course), I wonder if promotion from within will handle the Perron situation first. Can we pencil Neighbours in the top nine? Kostin seems to have lost momentum and Toropchenko is out. And you already hinted at it, but something has to give at defense, no? Thanks!
    Perunovich is still waiver exempt and can be sent down to the minors, but is that good for him at this point? Does he have anything to gain down there? Seems like the Blues are stalling for time if they do that. I think you can pencil and maybe even pen Neighbours into the top nine. I was surprised Kostin wasn't moved at the draft. Maybe Toropchenko's injury made him a little more essential than he was before.
    Tom-
    Thanks for the chat! The Blues seem like a Team counting on a lot of If's and But's and we know all about how that plays out. Sure looks like 2018 all over again. Good enough to be AROUND the playoff picture but not enough to actually MAKE the playoffs. At the trade deadline we were told that nothing big happened because Army was setting this Summer up for a HUGE summer. Nothing happened outside of Leddy. This so sounds like the Cards plan every year. "Wait for the offseason and see what happens"........ then crickets. What is it going to take for the Blues to be a true contender this year? Another signing, trade, or prayers?
    Colorado right now is in the way. And the salary cap is in the way. You can't be a big player every summer. You could make the case that the Blues were the second best team in the West last season, but they were no match for Colorado (though they played them tight in the playoffs). The simplest thing the Blues need is for Binnington to look like 2018-19 Binnington. I don't know that the defense got any better, at least on the blueline.
    Chicago can retain 50% of Kane or Toews cap hit, but everything they traded for so far was a draft pick and not players so the Blues would need a 3rd team to absorb salary for us. It could be something like the Blues get Kane, Chicago gets draft picks/young prospects and a 3rd team gets Tarasenko.
    Even at $5 million hit is going to take some finagling. I think there are better uses for that money.
    OK, my apologies to Barry, Ricardo and Brian, who have questions in the hopper that I can't get to this week. My deepest apologies. We'll try again next week. Thanks for stopping by and keeping these summer days interesting.
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