I think the Blues hoped to see more from Kostin, yes. Not sure what the issue is, but Berube's enthusiasm was below how he talked about Jake Neighbours but above how he talked about Logan Brown. Berube's description of what was missing from him in camp was pretty wide-ranging -- "gotta keep working on his game ... important to learn to become a good pro ... watch how our guys handle things" -- which sounds like detail work, doing the little things. Kostin and Kyle Clifford were the only players who made the opening roster that we didn't get a chance to talk to during training camp, so hard to put a finger on how he feels at the moment. But the Blues valued him enough that he made the opening day roster and isn't starting the season in Springfield.
The Blues opening day roster was $14,484 under the salary cap, with Sundqvist on it. So when he comes back, getting under it shouldn't be a problem. The Blues at the moment have $1.67 million of cap space to work with, so they will be able to bank that for future use at the deadline. They are probably in as good a situation as they've been in in a while, with some room to maneuver.
A healthy Parayko will make everyone look better. Having him at half speed at the start of last season was just a drag on everyone. Buchnevich will be a big help, Saad less so. (It's been about four seasons since Saad had above average defensive numbers.) I do expect the unit to be better, because of Parayko and Buchnevich. If Scandella struggles -- and last year probably wasn't as bad as it looked at times for him -- then Mikkola is the only option there. Walman is not going to be a shut down defender, nor Perunovich. There's no reason everyone can't be more physical. They're hockey players.
Players want it because it's guaranteed money. You can't buy it out. Pietrangelo and Barkov are going to get that money no matter what happens. That's why those contracts are referred to as being buyout proof. If Pietrangelo's game fell apart and Vegas wanted to buy him out, they would still owe him all that signing bonus money. The players don't get that money upfront; it's staggered over the life of the contract but every year, I think on July 1, he'll get that lump sum check. Some teams do it, some teams don't, and usually it's only for really, really good players who are able to get that.
I don't think he was riding his father's coattails, but throughout Logan Brown's career, he's been the biggest guy on the ice. He was able to dominate play at a young age because of that. There was less need for him to go 100 percent because 80 percent was enough. Now, he's at the point where being big isn't enough. He's got to find that extra 20 percent, which went unused for much of his youth. If he can find it, with his size and with good hands for a big man, he can play in the NHL. So I wouldn't say he hasn't been willing to put in the work, he's just got to figure out what that looks like. At too many points in camp, he seemed to be cruising. And, as Berube pointed out, his confidence has to be pretty low right now, and going unclaimed through waivers can't help.
The Blackhawks are one of the big mysteries this season. Lots of moves, especially getting Fleury, plus improved health. I don't know that they'll surprise folks, since those moves raised expectations, and I've seen them picked to finish second in the Central. The surprise would be that a team could turn around so quickly from last season. But they also may have the widest range. Not sure how good they'll be defensively, which was pretty bad last season.
I've heard they're going well. They won't be back at pre-pandemic levels, but crowds should be good. Some people are still hesitant about going out in large groups, especially indoors. I saw a lot of empty seats at Cardinals games over the summer, so no reason the Blues will be different.
This is an excellent question and when I asked Berube the other day how he was going to manage those three at the bottom, he said he wasn't going to commit to anything. Walman and Bortuzzo are there at the start, but he wouldn't say anything about rotating them or how Mikkola would be implemented, that too much could happen to change things. Even though he's not there now, I think Mikkola (that would be 77) ends up getting the most ice time of the bunch, though maybe not all of it on the third pairing.
I agree that he's going to be here for a while, quite possibly the whole season. I'm not making any guarantees on his productivity for the entire season. I have felt, since the end of last season, that while trading Tarasenko was an option to explore, he was going to have more value to the Blues than any other team in the league. No one was going to offer the Blues anything resembling fair value for him, in part because at this point, who knows what fair value is for Tarasenko? And no one was going to overpay to get him. It does seem like both sides have cooled, in part because they had no choice. This story could have a happier ending than many thought, though chances are it still ends in a Tarasenko trade at some point, if only because he's got one year to go on his contract after this one.
The plan is for John Kelly and Darren Pang (or Jamie Rivers when Pang is away for TNT) to be at all road games. The rest of the production crew, producer, director, graphics person, will travel to some, not to travel to others. Kerber and Vitale have already been on the road in the preseason and will continue to do so.
From most of the angles, it didn't look like a kick, just like he altered the direction of his skate, but then there was that one angle from the backside, which I don't think ESPN showed right away, where it definitely looked like a kick. Based on that one, it should have been waved off.
In season you would, and Buffalo isn't going to give the guy away and if anyone is thinking about the Blues trading for him, Buffalo's not taking Tarasenko in return. They're going to want younger, healthier, cost-controlled players.
I don't think you have to ask Kyrou to carry the puck across the blueline. Two things Kyrou loves to do are carry the puck up ice and shoot. That's also been one of Parayko's strengths when healthy. (Carrying that is, not necessarily shooting.) The Blues are still going to be a team heavy on the forecheck, that's how they're built, so there will be dumping, there will be chasing. But when those chances present themselves, especially when it involves getting the puck out of their own end, that's what they're going to do. That's what they need to do.
Brown and MacEachern made it through waivers.