Neighbours will decide that. If he looks great in his time, the Blues have other options to make things work. And, citing Larry Pleau's old adage, these things have a way of sorting themselves out. The Blues roster situation when Sundqvist comes back may not be their roster situation today. In fact, it almost certainly won't be.
I had this conversation with Lou Korac of NHL.com on Monday in practice. Handing the keys over to Darcy Kuemper could be a bit dicey. A lot of times, it's the team that determines how good the goalie looks, so we'll have to see, but I'm not sold on Kuemper as a Stanley Cup winning goalie. But he'll look better playing for Colorado than he would have playing for Arizona. In some ways, it came down to who would help Colorado most going for the Cup -- Grubauer or Landeskog? Grubauer might be the answer.
Yes, by the way, you did ask that question
Well, I think every unit has to be defensively aware, be it first line or fourth line. If you wanted an old-fashioned crash and bang fourth line, there are plenty of options. Sundqvist when he's healthy. Clifford. Call up either MacEachern or Joshua from Springfield. If you had to do it right now, it would be Clifford, Barbashev and Kostin, I suppose.
When we asked him recently, he said, "Next question." When we nagged him about it, he held his ground and wouldn't answer, which is unusual for Perron. (Not that he wouldn't hold his ground, but that he wouldn't address the question. He's quite chatty.) With his age, he won't get more than a two-year deal. If his numbers this season match last season, there would be a solid case he could make for getting $4 million a year again. Unless his game falls through the floor, no less than $3 million I would think.
Under. Under. Under. But I would envision being nervous going into the final weeks of the season since all but Barbashev could be close.
Obviously too soon to say if he sticks around, but boy do the Blues like him and I don't know that the WHL will give him more seasoning than he's gotten in previous seasons. The AHL would give him seasoning, but he would be a man among boys in the WHL and not be tested that much. Neighbours will get every chance to make this team.
One of the questions now around Binnington is what is his motivation? Before he was driven by proving he belongs in the league. He's done that, and has a big contract as well. So what's next for him? Now he could be driven by people thinking he was a flash in the pan. He looked to have some of his swagger back in camp and we'll see how that plays out over the regular season. He is a competitive guy, so that's not a problem, but the Blues need him to have a chip on his shoulder.
What would that look like? It's already a five-minute penalty. A 10-minute power play for the other team? Don't know that you can ban it short of making the penalty for doing it extreme. That's not going to happen. It is becoming more uncommon.
It's the league minimum plus $375,000 that would be covered. The league minimum this year is $750,000, so all of Clifford's $1 million would not count against the cap if he was sent down.
I don't know how important some people think he is, but if the Blues could get 15 or 20 goals out of him while paying him the league minimum, that would be like finding $100 in your sofa cushions. And that third line could play a big role for this team. Right now, it's Neal, Thomas and Tarasenko. That's a pretty good third line, if and it's a big if, Neal and Tarasenko look like the Neal and Tarasenko of a few years past. The Blues are the fifth team in six seasons for Neal. A lot of teams have moved on from him lately. Everyone talks about his presence in the room, but his presence on the ice will be significant.
With a lot of new faces over the past few years, the Chicago rivalry may not be as pronounced for some guys -- I doubt Pavel Buchnevich has thought much about it -- but I think it is a case where players can pick on it from teammates and fans. For the players, the biggest rival will always be who's best and who's toughest to play against. Right now, that's Colorado and Blues fans don't like Colorado either. But Blues-Blackhawks will always be the rivalry. Until they relocate Denver much closer or Nashville is in the league 50 years, I don't see anyone competing with that.
I think now he may just need one negative test. I haven't sat down with the new protocols, but if you're vaccinated, which he is, it's a lot easier than last season. Vegas had a bunch of guys who got positive tests yesterday afternoon and made the game last night.
Barbashev's English is fine. Buchnevich was OK but not great in his only session with us so far, but after his time in New York, I think it was probably better than we saw. First time I met Klim Kostin, he offered to translate while I talked to Toropchenko. Then when I started to talk to Kostin, he said his English wasn't good enough. Haven't talked to him since he got back from the KHL.