Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

Join Blues beat writer Tom Timmermann for his live chat at 1 p.m. Wednesday

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

    Greetings one and all and welcome to the very last offseason Blues chat. You could make the case that since today is the day players report, that we are now officially in season, but I'm drawing the line at where we actually see something as when camp starts. So here's your last chance before the season gets going to ask questions. And away we go.
    The Blues are over loaded with players aren't they? Will we be losing some good players to waivers?
    Potentially. The only player who could be in the roster mix who does not have to clear waivers is Klim Kostin. (Dakota Joshua doesn't to either, but I don't see him getting a spot out of camp.) So if the Blues were to get another defenseman, or if one of the PTOs was to make the team, someone is going on to have to go on waivers. Someone like MacEachern could slip through. I don't know if either Walman or Mikkola would. If Kostin doesn't make the team out of camp, it's most likely because he doesn't have to clear waivers, and that's the path of least resistance. And that's another issue if the Blues go with a streamlined roster to save cap space. They have run out of waiver-exempt players.
    Do we know if the Blues are 100% vaccinated? If not, will anyone in the media have the guts to ask?
    We've already asked the question, and the team is 100 percent vaccinated, according to Armstrong. So I guess we did have the guts. Heck, I asked the question at the end of last season.
    Hello Tom! I'm one who thinks Kostin needs a spot on this team no matter what. I understand it has to be earned but I also think he hasn't gotten the best opportunities to make the team. With the roster already at 14 on CapFriendly, without him currently on it, how does he make the team? It seems like it's either make the team or move on since there are too many one-way deals. That's just my opinion.
    I'm in the camp that Kostin has no more to gain by playing in the AHL and it's time for him to be in the NHL. The 14 on capfriendly include Sundqvist, who won't be ready at the start of the season, and MacEachern's spot is always tenuous, and, as I said on another answer, he's more likely to get through waivers. How much Clifford plays this season is uncertain, and I think it wouldn't make sense to play him over Kostin, at least until they know what they've got with Kostin. Same goes with Bozak. After all this time, he's got to play.
  • It sure looks like they Blues will start camp with Vladdy, is this a case of see how it goes, or is Army just biding his time till the right trade comes along?
    The trade market isn't there for him, so he's going to start the season with the Blues and there's a decent chance he's around for a bit. If he plays well, and all is going smoothly, there's less incentive for the Blues to trade him. And if he doesn't play well and things aren't going smoothly, it will be even harder to trade him. Ultimately, a deal makes sense, but deals in season for players with high cap hits are even more difficult to make than in the offseason.
    Tom, who is the odd man out after Sunny comes back? Clifford? MacEachern? Someone else?
    I've cited this before, but Larry Pleau always would tell us that he didn't worry about those decisions until he had to make them, because happen and when the time comes, the decision is a lot of times made for you. Who knows who's hurt, who's healthy. The Blues had a bunch of times last season when right when someone was coming off IR, someone else got hurt. Voila. Decision made. As I sit here today, MacEachern is the easiest guy to send down, though Clifford is a guy who doesn't figure to play much this season. I'd play MacEachern ahead of him.
    If Army can’t get the deal he wants for Vladi, what do you see as his most likely move to get cap compliant when Sunny comes off LTIR? I’m personally in the trade Sanford camp.
    Sanford has actual trade value, but in this case, if you're trading him to get under the cap, you're not trading for value. So the Blues would be trading him for a draft pick, because they wouldn't want to take on any more salary, which is the purpose of the trade. Clifford and MacEachern are the guys who aren't going to be playing much, which makes them more expendable. But again, let's wait till the time comes. All it takes is one injury to someone and the equation changes completely.
    Blues will be over the cap once Sunny comes back. Are they going to roll with open spots to keep under the cap or is there a smaller trade on the horizon
    The challenge on going with a 21 or 22 man roster is who you send down, since anyone will come with the risk of being lost on waivers. I can see them going with a shorter roster at the start, assuming everyone's healthy. But putting anyone other than Clifford, MacEachern or Bozak on waivers would have a higher risk of losing them.
    Have you been watching Perunovich? He'll be rotating with Bortuzzo. Getting his feet wet. Very dynamic.
  • Perunovich has shown in Traverse City that his time off hasn't hurt him too much, but let's see how he does against players he isn't a couple years older than or undrafted free agents. If he's rotating with Bortuzzo, then Mikkola or Walman is gone. I think ultimately a little bit of playing in the AHL against players his age and older will help. But also, the Blues defense doesn't really need another offensive defenseman right now.
    Gordo made an interesting comment in his Blues article today. He said the Blues need 2 Parayko's not 2 Krugs. Mikkola could be that guy. Last year there was a game where the D was short handed and Mikkola free wheeled in the third period. Fast, big, strong, talented 2 way D man--looked like Hedman! That was a glimpse of his potential. He needs to play top 4 minutes instead of Scandella. Do you remember that game?
    As per the last question about Perunovich, Gordo made the point this morning. the Blues don't need a second Krug, which Perunovich would be. Mikkola shows the potential to be that defense-first guy -- his offensive analytics last season fully support that; he was a non-entity offensively -- and now has to make that step. That will be one of the big things to watch in training camp and early in the season. Mikkola will get his chance this year.
    Does it look like they will play Buchnevich on the left or right wing? I have heard many StL media point to LW as he is a left shot, but he almost exclusively played RW in NY. I am not sure why after 6 years of improving play one would want him to swap sides. Its not uncommon to play on your oft wing especially for Russian players like Tarasenko.
    If Perron and Tarasenko are playing on the right wing, then if Buchnevich is in the top six, he's going to have to be on the left wing. Buchnevich says he's fine with playing the left wing, and a lot of times it doesn't matter, since hockey positioning isn't as rigid as it once was. Guys are more fluid in switching positions during play. And he's Russian, so, playing on his off wing, as you say, shouldn't be a problem.
    Does Neal or Frolik have a good chance of making the team? I know they wouldn't be here if there was no chance but what's the odds that one makes the team?
    I'd put the odds really low. The Blues are pretty well set at forward, so bumping one of them out won't be easy, and you also have the dynamic of letting go a younger player with years ahead of them for an older player who's got one year ahead of him. If you sign Neal or Frolik and let someone like Sanford go, then in a year, you've got none of them. Armstrong is looking for competition in camp, and also as a favor to these guys, helping them possibly get a job somewhere else by showing off their games in action. Unless there are injuries in camp, which you can never rule out, it will be a touch climb for them to make the team.
    $6 m for Parryko sounds like a solid contract for a very good defensive defenseman who can put up solid offensive stats as well. It doesn't sound like a true #1 Dman who eats a ton of offensive and defensive minutes. At this point is it fair to say 55 is who he is, no new aggresive gear or next level offensive level to be added at his age and point in his career?
    The main reason to say Parayko is not yet who he is is that the past two years haven't matched the earlier ones. If his play last season was like it had been two years, he'd have been getting one of those $9 million defenseman contracts. But it wasn't, which is why he's getting $6.5 million. Last year he was slowed by his back problems. Who knows what the problem was the year before. If the Blues are going to be a high-quality team this year, they need Parayko to be that No. 1 type defenseman. I think his offensive level is what you've seen when he's been at his best. But defensively, he can be a beast back there, moreso than he has been the past two seasons. He's going to get the chance to play a lot of minutes this season.
  • How much access to players do you have during training camp? Any one on one and how would that be handled.? For example, both getting Thomas and Bozak's comments on their contract. And when do you think Vladi first faces the media barrage? Thanks for the chats.
    Right now, the Blues are sticking with Zoom calls, which means we'll be getting four to six players each day. I've seen other teams going with actual face to face press conferences, at least with coaches and GMs, and Jim talked face to face with players and coaches when he was in Traverse City. The plan a few weeks or so ago was that vaccinated media would be allowed in the dressing room, but the situation remains in flux as world events change. (And in the early days of camp, even in pre-pandemic days, we haven't always been in the room in the first few days because there are so many people coming and going.) The hope, at least for me and Jim and I'm sure most others, is that Vladi faces the media very early, because they have to get it out of the way sometime and it just kind of hangs over everything until that happens. Hiding him doesn't do anybody any good, including him.
    When and how do the players agree to be roommates on the road? I have also heard there is an order when the players leave and come on to the ice. Inquiring minds want to know.
    Very few players have roommates on the road anymore. I forget the specific number, but once a player has played something like 50 NHL games, they get a single room, which on this year's Blues would be almost everyone. So if a player does have a roommate, it's because they're both rookies. 
    As for the order players come on the ice, it's a matter of personal choice, but it remains remarkably consistent within the team. The one constant is the starting goalie is the first player out. On the Blues, Bozak is generally the next person out there, followed by Schenn. Most of the time, the backup goalie is the last one out, though Kyle Clifford usually trails for the Blues. It used to be that the S's on the team, Schwartz, Steen, Shattenkirk, would come out as a group. But it's amazing that, over the course of the season, even though it's not planned, the order stays very similar from game to game.
    As for leaving the ice, different players are looking for different things in warmups. Schwartz was almost always the first one off in pregame. Perron is usually among the last. When he was here, Oshie was usually last. 
    It appears other teams are simply having players stand on a podium, like coaches normally do, and then field questions so reporters aren't right in front of them. Why can't the Blues do that? Seems a little too over the top for me still doing Zoom calls.
    Excellent question, and I hope we go to that soon. At Centene, space is a bit of an issue on that. The room we historically spoke to Berube in doesn't have room for a podium. But at Enterprise, when we're there for games, space is not a problem. I guess we'll see about on Saturday.
    I have heard it mentioned that Walman could replace Dunn possibly even offensively. However, He has never really been a scorer, Dunn a year younger has always been materially more productive offensively from juniors through the AHL and NHL. The Blues used to have one of the top scoring D in the league, with AP and Dunn gone do they still have the horses to get that attack from the D?
    The loss of Dunn offensively will be something the Blues will have to deal with, especially on the power play. Krug's game picked up as the season went on and Faulk actually had a subpar offensive season from an analytics standpoint. Walman may not be a scorer but I think he can help create things, definitely more than Mikkola can. At some point last season, I was working on a story on the Blues defenseman and how well they were scoring and before we could run it they stopped scoring. If they can recreate the start of last season, they can make a dent offensively. But the first issue for the defensemen is being better on defense.
    Are forward lines line Saad-RoR-DP, Bchnevich-Scheen-Kouryo, Bozak-Thomas-Tarasenko likely, and if so it looks to be the most offensive group the Blues have had in years.
  • I think you may have Bozak too high. I don't see him regularly getting third line minutes, but we'll see. One big question will be where Tarasenko ends up. If he's in the top six, then Kyrou isn't, and I don't know if that's the best use of Kyrou. Then again, when I drew up lines this morning, I put Tarasenko on the second line, with Buchnevich. Is there a benefit from having Tarasenko on a line with Buchnevich, keeping two Russian forwards together or am I stereotyping? I don't know.
  • Tom, I'm sorry if this has been asked but how will callups from the minors be handled? Will they still have to quarantine as they did last season?
    As it stands now, there are no quarantines in place and players will be able to come and go as needed. Sam Anas will not be spending 10 days in a Los Angeles hotel this season, at least not as it stands now. The taxi squad is gone.
    Tom, do you think it's possible, as the season progresses, Vladi changes his mind and tells Doug Armstrong not to trade him?
    Yes, I think that's possible. Winning solves a lot of problems.
    Please tell me, or ask if you don't know, the coaches no longer have to wear masks on the bench. The fans are far away form the players and pose no threat. The madness must end.
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