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.

    Good afternoon and one and all. Years ago, I went up to Orono, Maine, to do a story on Ben Bishop while he was in college there, and he told me about how there would be one day in the spring semester whether would be good and the snow would be melted and the administration would cancel classes for the day and everyone would grab a rake or a broom and put on some gloves and clean up campus after a long winter. I felt like that day in St. Louis was today. So having just raked some leaves and pruned the yew, let's get to hockey, though things have gone so well for the Blues lately, there may not be a lot of questions to ask. But let's find out.
    With Perron looking like he's regaining his touch would you if your Army offer him a reasonable two-year, a limited one-year(w performance incentives) or just let him walk to save money and open a spot for one of the many young forwards in the wings?
    You have to be 35 (or on an entry level contract) before they can give you performance bonuses, so Perron won't be eligible for that yet. Perron's at the end of a $4 million contract. Going into this season, I would have thought another 2-year, $4 million per year contract would have seemed do-able based on Perron's sustained level of play. This season has caused some doubt. I could see the Blues giving him a one-year deal at $3 million, knowing that after that, he would be 35 and they could give him those bonuses. But Perron is going to want a two-year deal, so that's where the challenge will come in. If Perron gets a two-year deal, I think it would be for a lower AAV. But so much of this will depend on how this season plays out and does he start being a consistent producer. A strong finish will make it simpler for both parties to give Perron the deal he wants. Perron's at an age where his game is unlikely to get better, but if he can remain consistent, that's a good thing. He remains very good on the power play and is very responsible defensively.
    If you had to guess at this time barring a collapse from the top teams which of the Preds, Stars, or Oilers will miss out on the playoffs this season?
    The Stars have gained some ground lately, but they seem to me to be the odd team out. It could shape up as a battle between them and Edmonton for the final wild-card spot. Minnesota's recent slide has increased the chances of the Blues taking second in the Central.
    The old guard MLB and NFL owners are just about all gone. And in their place are billionaires that buy franchises as an investment and run them as such. I think it’s really hurt their leagues because their product isn’t nearly as good as it used to be.

    What’s the current makeup of the NHL owners? Stillman has been a godsend for me. A smart business man, who loves loves loves the game. Is he a rarity among NHL owners. I ask because I love hockey and I don’t want the game to suffer, much less endure the same fate as MLB. 2 years of pandemic seasons that have been hard to watch and I hung in, only to see Opening Day cancelled? I was so looking forward to an Opening Day that was pretty darn close to normal. For me, it was going to be a big turning point in the pandemic. Like a sign things were getting better. Stillman is going to get a lot more money from me this spring because he has a sport that is actually playing.

    I live in St. Louis. Born and raised. I ain’t fooling anyone, I will follow the game in the paper and watch a few games. That special connection I had for the Cardinal franchise is gone. They’re billionaires who are only concerned about milking me for as much as they can. That’s I learned. I haven’t gotten that sense from the Blues or the NHL. I hope it stays this way or else I’m done with all major sports leagues.
    When I first started covering the Blues at the turn of the century, the only time the Blues had the local stage to themselves was that window between the end of the Rams season and the start of spring training. The departure of the Rams has broadened that window and this season, MLB's lockout will extend it on the other end. 
    NHL owners are still really, really rich people, but not quite as rich as baseball and football owners. Some, like Kroenke, are in multiple worlds. Without doing a detailed survey mid-chat and slowing things down, Tampa's owner is part owner of the Red Sox and the Red Wings and Tigers have the same owners in Detroit. The owners of the Buffalo Sabres also own the Bills, which shows you can be successful in one sport but a total disaster in another. 
    Hi Tom. First off, was the yew OK with that? Second, do you think Army stands pat at the deadline? I remember the March 5, 1991 trade that upset the team chemistry to the point of us being bounced by Minnesota. I liked Garth Butcher, but Dan Quinn was gone after that season. If you don't remember history it has a way of repeating itself. Your thoughts?
  • The yew did not express an opinion, other than attempting to scratch my arms as I reached for remote branches.
    Standing pat is a definite option at the deadline because making trades is going to be hard with the team's cap situation. Unless someone gets hurt and is done for the season or someone says they want Marco Scandella, finding the cap space will be tough, and the Blues situation during the season has not allowed them to save much money for deadline space. And any trade that takes someone out of the lineup other than Scandella is likely to cause as much problem as it solves. Improving the defense otherwise would come at the cost of decreasing the offense. And the reason Scandella matters is not because of his play, but because he's the only guy they can afford to trade who makes a significant amount of money. If they're going to acquire a defenseman, which most think is the most pressing need, they've got to part with some one on the defense because they've already got 8 there and they sure don't need 9, but trading Mikkola or Walman or Perunovich doesn't open much space. 
  • If I am Army I am making some deals now with KHL players who want out of Russia. Now is our chance to scoop some of those elite players up!!
    I don't think that's going to work, for any number of reasons. The best players are mostly Russian, and have a lot less incentive to want out. And the best players have to pass through waivers once signed.
    Tom, I was wondering your thoughts on just how good David Perron would have been had not he been sucker punched by Joe Thornton from San Jose. I believe Perron missed the bulk of two seasons from this.
    That will be one of those things we'll never know, but those were tough years for Perron to miss, though he seems to be getting some years back at the other end and playing at a pretty good level when a lot of others aren't. Would that additional wear and tear on his body be limiting his play now? Also, one of the best things that ever happened to Perron was going to Vegas in the expansion draft. That revived his career. But I'm sure it's something he would love to have been able to find out.
    Wish the playoffs started now w 2 hot goalies and a healthy team firing on all cylinders. On one hand the condensed schedule over the next two months is concerning because of the wear and tear it could place on the team especially on the back end where there doesn't seem to be much depth. (Mikkola play now seems to allow Army to make a 3rd pair D move for insurance). But don't you see less chance for injuries moving forward because the team is hitting less and also blocking fewer shots (especially on PK with being more aggressive instead of sitting back)? Might this faster, newer style that is so much fun to watch also bode well to getting the team to the playoffs more intact?
    The Blues, and the rest of the league, are about to play a lot of games in a very short window of time. I think that is conducive to more injuries just from the constant wear and tear. The Blues will not have many practices once they get back from this trip. It will be game, day off, game, day off, back to back games, till the end of April. Style of play aside, I think the risk of injuries is going to go up for all teams over the final two months, regardless of style of play.
    I assume that the Blues will lose UFA Husso in the off season because Binnington's contract will make it impossible to sign him. If that's the case, what do the Blues have as backup next year and how do you rate them? Thanks, Tom. Great job!
    If Husso leaves as a free agent, the Blues' young goalies, Joel Hofer and Colten Ellis, are still probably a year away. If last season had been a normal season, maybe Hofer would be ready to back up, but with him not playing much last season, he just hasn't played many pro games. The Blues got great results from Charlie Lindgren on a fill-in basis this season, but that would be a bit of a leap of faith to make him the No. 2, I think. (Also, he's also a UFA after this season.) So in that case, the Blues are going on the market for a free agent backup goalie, where it's not out of the question they sign a Chad Johnson-type (but not Chad Johnson) while they wait to see how Hofer does in the AHL. By midseason, Hofer could be ready to be the backup.  Just think: if Chad Johnson played better in goal in 2019, the Blues might have turned to him at midseason. But when he didn't, he was gone and Binnington got his chance. The organization has a good line of young goalies, and the team is going to have to make a decision at the minor-league level because Hofer and Ellis are pretty much the same age and there's only going to be room for one of them very soon. And if somehow Husso re-signs, room for neither of them.
  • Noticed the question earlier regarding the trade which brought Butcher to St.Louis along with Quinn.
    I would agree with what the statement made. I always though they gutted the club for the coming years with that trade in particular. While watching the NHL games on TV last week. A comment regarding one of the teams playing was "They would like to bring in some help on defense." My thought was "shouldn't all teams look to this?" My dear departed father would always say defense wins in the playoffs. Your thoughts?
    Defense wins in the playoffs, but really it's goalies that win in the playoffs. I don't know that there's much of a history of teams winning with great defense but marginal goaltending. The Blues are not an elite defensive unit this season, at least at five on five. Some of that is the forwards, some is the defensemen. They're better than a lot of teams, but they give up above the league average in expected goals. All teams want to get better on defense, but some teams need it less than others.
    On the Garth Butcher trade, the Blues were doing great, starting to win a lot, with the Scud line like the 2019 Blues 4th line, but better--and scoring. Bob Bassen at center was vastly underrated and though very small, the toughest guy on the team, who fought big Bob Probert when he was pushing the Blues out of the rink, turning the game around. Then they traded the WHOLE LINE for Butcher, and that was it: they died in the playoffs. Worst Blues trade EVER. They were so obsessed with getting defensemen, the next year I went to a game where the Blues had four centers, the top two including Unger, with two wingers each, and the bottom two lines with four defensemen at wing. The Blues only had two lines that could score and were beaten like 3-1. Team was RUINED for years.
    I did not really foresee Garth Butcher becoming so popular a topic in this week's chat.
    Do you like Giordano as a fit for the Blues? It seems like Chychrun and Lindholm may be out of reach with their expected trade returns. Chiarot and Chara seem more like 6th or 7th defenseman. Anybody else you’re keeping an eye on?
    I like Giordano as a fit. He's had a very good season defensively, he's in the last year of his contract, he knows what he's doing and, as someone who's been a captain, he's going to be a leader. He also makes $6.75 million, so even if Seattle retains a lot of salary, up to the max of 50 percent, the Blues will have to make another move to make him fit under the cap. 
    Chiarot is not having a good season at all, and it's not just that he plays for Montreal which isn't good. Montreal has been categorically better with Chiarot off the ice than on. Chara is not having a great season either but he's still got some chops. Would he be willing to put up with the hassles of playing in the Western Conference for the stretch run? Maybe. 
    Other names? Nick Leddy in Detroit, Calvin de Haan in Chicago.  
    Long time reader ... first time writer... I probably have the opportunity to see 2 or three hockey games a night.
    I like the Blues as a team but, their defense is a little suspect at this point. They may be able to go a couple of rounds in the playoffs but, I would be surprised. I think it depends on their draw for the playoffs. And, by the way...I think you do a real good job at this...Thanks and your thoughts
    The challenge for the Blues in the postseason is that most roads are going to run through Colorado. The Blues can handle any of the likely first-round opponents, but getting past Colorado, which never loses at home among other things, is going to be a handful. So seeing the Blues get beyond two rounds won't be easy. If someone were to knock off Colorado in the first round, that opens the door.  But also, it's the NHL playoffs. The unexpected happens a lot. But the Blues are likely to finish the season 15 points below Colorado in the standings. That's a significant difference.
    Why has MacMac been banished to the AHL? Army should not be spending to the cap if he's going to do that to players.
  • If the season plays out differently, MacEachern could have played a role for this team. But Neal showed well in camp and the Blues went with experience and the salary cap situation made it tough for MacEachern to get called up at a point when the Blues needed forwards and were limited to guys making the league minimum and sometimes they were looking for a center rather than a wing. I've always liked MacEachern as a player. So it made sense to re-sign him, though I would not expect him to re-sign again after this season.
  • Brandon Saad was a player that hurt the Blues when he was w the Blackhawks. Now it's been a pleasure watching him every game play tough two-way 5 on 5 and being a mainstay on the PK. Wouldn't he surely be on any other teams PP and maybe should be on this team as he's showed success in limited play? Have you heard of any grumbling from his camp as this has to decrease his scoring totals?
    Let me use a brief baseball analogy here. During the season, baseball players get worked up and complain often about official scoring decisions. Having something ruled an error instead of a hit decreases their batting average, while if it happens when you're in the field, pitchers want it to be an error so it doesn't hurt their ERA. In the postseason, though, players don't care because postseason stats don't figure as much when contracts are being negotiated.
    Saad's got a contract that runs though 25-26, so he's got four more years until he has to worry about what his next contract will look like, and he'll be 34 anyway, so it will be a whole different negotiation. Brandon Saad would love to play on the power play more. I think he should play more; he's got some of the best stats on the team this season, albeit in limited minutes. The times we've asked him about it, he's been gracious about his situation. 
    Any word wny Kostin is a healthy scratch tonight?
    Jim spells some of it out in today's game-day blog from New York. Some bad penalties lately by Kostin, Berube also looking for more aggressiveness. But also, though not said, when Perunovich comes back off LTIR, Joshua (or someone else) has to come off the roster, so the chances to get Joshua in NHL may be running low soon. So it's a chance to get Joshua in a game. 
    Here's Jim's story:

    Blues Game Day: Rangers game will be a measuring stick

    STLtoday.comEight of the Blues' previous nine games have come aganist teams currently out of playoff position.
    Are the Blues forwards playing better D, or has the schedule been favorable recently.
    The schedule has been favorable lately, which is why tonight's game will be significant. It's a rare game in this month against a good team, so a chance to see how real the team is. I think the consistency of the lineup has helped the forwards, but it's really tough to measure it considering the competition lately. Starting next Thursday, when the Rangers come to St. Louis, it gets real.
    Just joining the chat! The Blues are 5th in the NHL for Goals For AND Goals Against, and Goal Differential, Yet, everyone still thinks we need to upgrade our defense. It will cost us to do so (either potentially with team chemistry with the existing team, or with losing one of the few prospects in the pipeline). How likely would you put our chances to win the Cup with the existing team?
    If you make the playoffs, you've got a chance. But the Blues have to potentially deal with both Colorado and Calgary, which look like two of the best teams in the league right now. As it stands right now, I would pick either of those teams over the Blues in a best-of-seven series. But again, it's the Stanley Cup playoffs. Anything is possible, and lesser teams routinely beat better teams. It's conceivable that the Blues wouldn't have to play either of those teams. I've been less sold on the ned to upgrade the defense than others because I think it would be incremental at best and I'm OK with Mikkola's play and the cost of acquisition would potentially lessen the team elsewhere.
  • Has Walman shown enough that your confident he would not be a liability once the playoffs start?
    Walman still gets fairly sheltered usage -- the second most offensive zone starts among defensemen -- and fairly limited minutes, which makes sense considering the Blues' options on defense, but the fact that he's getting about 11 minutes a night says the coaching staff isn't entirely won over. Walman has put up some great stats in his limited him. He's got the best Corsi percentage on the team and his expected goals percentage is up there too. I don't think he'd be a liability in the playoffs, but I wouldn't expect him to have a bigger role than he has right now.
    What does a package for Jakob Chychrun look like with the Blues?
    Arizona's going to want a real player off the roster, a prospect and a draft pick. And the Blues have to find a way to include Scandella in the deal, but that's probably not the real player Arizona will want. It's going to be a tough deal for the Blues to make, plus it will really handcuff them going forward because they'll have a lot of money locked into their defense.
    A few weeks ago the Blues were a mess because they lost to poor teams, now they are fine but haven’t proven anything because they beat poor teams. A few weeks ago the had a goaltending issue because they only had one good starter, now they have a budding goaltending crisis as they have two good starters. Through it all analytics have fluctuated with only GF/GA staying consistently positive. Is it possible they have been and remain one of the better teams and their flaws are only flaws in a relatively sense.
    The Blues' expected goals percentage and Corsi percentage, measures of scoring chances and possession, are both below 50 percent. So teams are getting better chances than the Blues and possessing the puck more than the Blues. They rank 21st in expected goals percentage, 24th in Corsi. Most of the teams around them in these rankings are teams not going to the playoffs. (Oddly, the Rangers are last in Corsi percentage; they and the Blues are the only playoff teams in the bottom 12 in that category.) The Blues have been scoring more than expected and giving up less goals than expected. That second part is the result of their goaltending. The Blues have done what they have needed over the past few weeks in beating teams and banking much needed points. The numbers say the Blues have to overcome that to make a postseason run, or hope that Husso and Binnington go on a big tear. I'm looking forward to seeing them face better competition.
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