I don't believe that's in the protocols in place for this season. We'll find out soon enough since there's a game on Saturday.
Any deal for a player like Tkachuk, either one of them, is going to start with another top six forward, and a young one at that. You're not getting one of those players on the cheap or with a collection of prospects and fringe guys. The Flamers are going to want a proven NHL player, probably one who is still cost-contained or has some years to go on his contract.
Perunovich was the clear star, Joshua showed well, Alexandrov did well and I thought Colten Ellis looked very good in his game in goal. Hofer looked good in his first game, not quite as good in the second, though that game was a bit of a shooting gallery.
I think the Blues are looking for the same identity as before, aggressive, hard on the forecheck, creating offensive zone time, grinding teams down. Buchnevich is 6-3, Saad is 6-1 or 6-2, depending on where you look. Dunn and Schwartz were two of the shorter players on the team, so the Blues certainly aren't a shorter team.
I'd say 20 to 25, though so many factors could come into play on that. Assuming Binnington isn't on the Canadian Olympic team, he's going to get a three-week break midseason, so that will keep him fresh and the Blues have shown they are content with playing him a lot. Husso showed at the end of last season that his game was progressing, and if he can put that aggravating habit of giving up a goal on an early shot, that will help a lot. I don't see the Blues hitting the market for a backup. Unless the wheels come off Husso in the first couple weeks, Joel Hofer in Springfield will get the call up. He didn't get a lot of work last season because of the circumstances and can use a bit more work, but he's getting close to being ready. Which is something else that will push Husso this season. Hofer and Ellis are not far behind. And in Husso's defense, I've seen him play some exceptional games in preseasons past. He just has to consistently do them in the regular season now.
I think not much will separate second from fifth or sixth in the Central. There are a lot of good teams in the division and who finishes where may come down entirely to how many injuries there are. If the Blues this season have the level of injuries they had last season, they will very easily not make the playoffs. If they stay healthy for the most part, second is very do-able.
Don't know if they have plans for a Father-Son trip this season. I wouldn't be surprised if they waited one more season before bringing it back. The Blues also need to consider a Moms' Trip, which other teams have done
Scandella, 31, is coming off an off year, which came after a really good year. The Blues need the Scandella who earned himself that extension with the Blues. Was last year a blip or the beginning of a downward path? Though that's the problem: he's got three years ago on a contract that has an AAV of $3.275 million per year. If he's not playing well, that's going to make him tough to trade. I've got no problem with playing Mikkola and Walman; they have no more to gain from the AHL and the Blues need to see what they've got.
Competing for the Cup this season is greatly hampered by being in the same division as Colorado. Getting around them will be difficult. Though anything can happen in the playoffs, the Blues are not as good as Colorado.
Unless he has a camp like Parayko did the year he jumped to the NHL after a cup of coffee in the AHL -- which I did not see coming -- Perunovich will start in the AHL, which will be good for him. He should have excelled in Traverse City; he's better and older than most of those guys. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a look at the NHL this season if an injury opens up a spot or two. If it doesn't, the only way he'll get a look is if it someone does not play well. If he gets called up then, a corresponding move will have to be made. A struggling Mikkola or Walman could be sent to the minors, though they would have to clear waivers and could be lost. Though if they're struggling, well, they could get through waivers. I think Perunovich will benefit from some time in the AHL. There are lots of things to learn.
That could happen, but the Blues would then have to find something to do with Bortuzzo, and who knows what their salary cap issues will look like this season, because right now, they're going to need long term injured reserve or a trade to make it work. There might not be the money available to do that. Obviously their play will dictate what will happen, but in the long term, you're better off keeping Walman and Mikkola over Bortuzzo, so the dance will be to make it all work. But I'm also pretty confident in saying that somewhere along the way, a Blues defenseman will get hurt, and once that happens, then all sorts of things will follow.
I wasn't. It's a low-risk gamble for the Blues, a good thing for Neal and Frolik, who get a chance to play in the preseason and possibly find a job somewhere else. I'd be real surprised if it was with the Blues. Ryan Whitney was with the Blues in camp on a PTO back in 2014, I think, and he had a good time, said the group was fun to be around, he was treated well, and he was basically there in hopes that someone somewhere would see him and he'd get a contract elsewhere. This is a tough time to be over 30 in the NHL.
He's in the first steps of a major rebuilding project at Arizona. If he drafts well, and Bill Armstrong is pretty good at drafting though as an NHL GM it's not in his hands as much as it was in St. Louis, the Coyotes could do well in the future. It may take them several seasons to get there though, and the wait can sometimes get uncomfortable. I'm sure the Blues miss him because he did a great job on the draft for them, and I guess we'll know in a few years if the people who replaced him did as well.
I've been in the chat tunnel for the past few hours so I don't know any more details, but Frank Seravelli reported this morning that the Blues would bring in Hitchcock as a coaching consultant and give an official role to Peter Chiarelli, the former GM at Boston and Edmonton. When Bill Armstrong left, the Blues promoted Ryan Miller to assistant GM, but Miller is more a contracts/salary cap guy than a talent assessment guy, so there was a space for someone like Chiarelli in the organization. And Armstrong and Hitch go back a long ways, even if Armstrong did fire him.
By the way, the Blues have said that when Darren Pang is away on assignments with TNT, Jamie Rivers will serve as color commentator on Bally broadcasts.
The simplest answer is, No, they can't, because that was a heck of a defense. I don't think the Blues right now have anyone who is a comparable for Bouwmeester and Pietrangelo, and the Parayko of today has got some work to do to be as good as the Parayko of then. And it's going to be hard for the Binnington of 21-22 to play as well as the Binnington of 18-19, because that was an exceptional season for him, one of the best for any goalie.
I don't see a scenario where the Blues trade Krug, for any reason. Trading an established, high-paid and not bad veteran to make room for an untested kid is a bit of a stretch.
No, but I don't think it works that way anyway.
If there were those talks, they never got too far along.
Bozak and Thomas have often been coupled, and Thomas has certainly benefitted from it. But apart from taking faceoffs, Bozak's offensive game was not that great last season, and while his injuries certainly limited things, I don't know that third line time is the best situation for him going forward. And if Thomas is going to be the high-caliber center the Blues hope he can be, at some point, he's got to fend for himself and they can't keep having Bozak take faceoffs for him. For the Blues to reap the benefits of Thomas's skill, they need him to play alongside talented offensive players.
And the Blues have just announced the moves I mentioned before, with Hitchcock returning as coaching consultant, and Chiarelli taking over from Dave Taylor as vice president of hockey operations. Taylor, who is 65, will become senior advisor to hockey operations. Maybe it's because I grew up in Los Angeles, but I've always liked running into Taylor on the road and talking with him. He was based in Southern California, so I'd see him whenever the Blues made a trip west and he was just a fun guy to be around. So good luck to him going forward.
Hitchcock and Berube go back a ways, but just what Hitchcock's role as coaching consultant will be is unspecified right now. I'm sure we'll know shortly.
OK, on that note, I'm going to wrap it up for this week, and we'll be back next week for more Blues fun when we can start taking part what we've seen in the first few games of the preseason. Thanks one and all.