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, and welcome to the first post-trade deadline edition of the Blues chat. Questions might be lower this week because, well, we don't have any trade rumors to mull over, but now it's time for the home stretch of the season, a season that will include, for at least five weeks, Nick Leddy. 
    So let's dive in. 
    Moneypuck gives the Blues a 99.9% odds of making the playoffs today? Don't you think this is a little optimistic considering how tight the standings are?
    Hockeyviz.com puts them at 94.9 percent and figures they need about 19 points out of the remaining 20 games to be pretty much a lock. So .500 hockey the rest of the way seems do-able. The race is tight, but the closeness of the race is in spots 2 through 4, but the gap back to the first team out is seven points out, so that's a bit more of a margin, and those teams thart are further back are there because, well, they're not as good. 95 percent might be more accurate, since a losing streak now would change how things look, but I think they're fairly safe.
    How do you see Leddy being used? Will Scandella and Mikkola rotate in w Paranko depending on matchups and face offs starts?
    Last night seemed to go well, so I would think we'll see Leddy and Parayko for the time being, with Scandella taking a shift every now and then depending on the situation, and Mikkola usually being a scratch. Though with the status of Krug in doubt after he left the game early last night with what looks like a hand injury, that may change things. The Blues didn't practice today so we won't have a Krug update until tomorrow. Not sure who would move into that spot if he was out, but they got Leddy to be a top four guy, so he'll be up there somewhere.
    Hi Tom! Just curious question. Years ago the NFL and NBA coaches used to wear suits on the sidelines they no longer. The NHL is the dinosaur league Craig Berube looks so uncomfortable that he consistently has the top buttons open and his neck is just to thick for a constrictive tie! Then I read about Leddy on Detroit where the team can wear track suits when traveling. Doug Armstrong makes the players wear suits? Hockey players? Who bash each other with weapons called sticks have to wear suits after games to travel? Why in the world does this go on for players and coaches? NHL is always the last to get a clue!
    Interestingly, among the St. Louis press corps, I'm the only one who doesn't wear a jacket and tie to games, so I may not be the best person to have an opinion on this. There are some guys on the Blues who like getting dressed up. Some are pretty serious about it.
    What kind of changes do you see them making in the off season,especially being to tight against the cap?
  • The biggest question is what is the fate of Tarasenko. Even if he doesn't want to be traded anymore, going into the last year before becoming a UFA is when guys get traded, so if Armstrong doesn't think Tarasenko will re-sign, a trade could happen just because that's hockey. If that's the case, it opens up a whole lot of space and all sorts of things can happen. And the goalie situation will have to be dealt with. Does Husso stay or go, and if he stays, what does that mean for Binnington .Perron is putting to rest all doubt about whether he should get a new contract. The Blues will want to address the defensive situation that led to the acquisition of Leddy. Is he the answer and someone they try to re-sign or do they think Mikkola can be the answer with more experience. Does someone like Barbashev get moved to make room for a younger forward like Neighbours? Kostin's spot seems to be in danger. If Tarasenko or Binnington is moved, that opens up the cap space to sign a goal scorer. If neither moves, there is less big-ticket tinkering to do.
  • What are your thoughts on Torpo? He seems like he is still performing fairly well after a few games. I usually don’t get excited with AHL call ups because they play really well for 2-3 games (Joshua, Walker) then fizzle out. Not sure why they do that.
    I've liked Toropchenko pretty much from the first time I saw him in camp. He's doing very well on this call up and it's clear that Berube loves him. The trade deadline is also the day that teams "paper" a player down to the minors, sending him down and calling him immediately back up, so that he can be eligible for the AHL playoffs. The Blues did that with MacEachern They did not do that with Toropchenko, which to me that they're planning on him finishing out the season in St. Louis. 
    As for why guys fizzle out, I'm sure part of it has to do with the adrenaline rush of getting called up and having all sorts of energy. The good guys are able to keep it going .
    I see Army's addition of Leddy as a rental and the subtraction of Sunny and Waldman as the beginning of a grand plan of free agent signings and/or trades this summer. Particularly signing a shut down D-man or trading Vladi for said d-man. Do you agree?

    Also, I see Army packaging Thomas in a deal for a tough winger. What you see in Thomas now is what we will always have, a guy that's good from October to January when checking is loose, when tight checking playoff-type hockey comes back in late Feb/March he can't compete. Your thoughts?
    The Blues have seven defensemen now (assuming a healthy Krug) and eight when you could Perunovich. I can't see them going into next season with those eight, and Leddy, as a pending free agent is obviously the least likely not to be back. But if the Blues decide they like him and he's a good fit, one of those eight has to go. 
    Most people would like it to be Scandella, though as the trade deadline showed, moving him isn't going to be easy because of his contract. If a Scandella trade remains un-doable and Armstrong wants to add a shut down D-man, then someone else has to go. Perunovich is the next likely candidate because he's not in the top seven, but at the same time, that defensive group is going to start getting old pretty fast and the Blues system is not awash in young defensemen after Perunovich. In fact, it's pretty much empty except for Tyler Tucker. The best case scenario for the Blues is Mikkola being that guy.
    I don't see them trading Thomas. Teams dream of having a homegrown top six center. They've got that in Thomas. I think he can play well in March and April and we'll see about May. 
    If/when the Blues move on from Binnington in the offseason, will that be an admission Army got it wrong giving Jordan a big contract or do the Blues just see a cheaper option in Husso that will provide the team more cap flexibility?
    A little of both? Husso is a cheaper option and Husso was supposed to be the guy anyway. Had he not been hurt at the juncture in the Stanley Cup season, he would have been the callup, not Binnington. And if Husso stays, he will be a lower-priced option.
    Armstrong was kind of caught in a bind on the Binnington extension. Binnington was playing well enough to stay around, Husso hadn't shown he was ready to be the guy, and the money Binnington was getting paid was consistent with other goalies of his status, so it wasn't out of line. Armstrong had to extend the term a bit farther than he probably wanted to make it work. Teams like experienced goalies and Binnington had a heck of a line on his resume, that he had won a Stanley Cup, which gave him something that almost all the other goalies on the market wouldn't have. But I think it was clear to most at the time that giving any goalie, not just Binnington, was a risky move. 
    The challenge in moving on from Binnington is that whatever team acquires him is committing to him being their No. 1 goalie for the length of that contract. That's a big step for anyone to take at the moment. 
    Love your work, Tom. Blues looked great last night going with 7 D. If the highly underrated Krug is out for a time, who might they call up?
    Rosen has been their go-to callup guy this season, so probably him, unless they wanted to see what they had with Witkowski. Also might be situational, if they needed a right-side guy, which Witkowski is.
  • Leddy looked good last night. Armstrong’s recent comments makes me think Vladi might be hanging around. After the game Berube was a fit feisty with the press. How did you see it
    Pretty much like you did. Tarasenko could get traded after the season not because he wants it because Armstrong thinks he'll be leaving as a UFA after next season and wants to maximize his return. But as we saw last offseason, Armstrong isn't' going to give him away, and this season proved he's not going to be a problem.
    Why did Berube have an attitude with JT's questioning after the game last night?
    It's tough to rate these things from afar and I kept waiting for Berube to smirk, but I think Berube was looking to start the session by praising his team, and with the first question instead being about Krug, that threw everything off kilter. And if you look at the first 10 minutes of the first period, the Blues did not generate a whole lot, so it's not like the first period was a Rembrandt.
    Hard for me to see that Mikkola is a scratch over Scandella. Am I not seeing something that you are Tom? Also, surprised that the writers all wear coat and tie to the games.
    Well, I'd have scratched Scandella a few times, so it's you and Berube seeing things differently, not you and me. Experience -- and its partner, predictability -- carries a lot of weight in the NHL. Over the course of their careers, Scandella has been better than Mikkola on offense, not as good on defense. In this season, the Blues have been better on both sides with Mikkola rather than Scandella but Mikkola remains below the league average in both categories.
    As for coats and ties, what can I say, they're a classy bunch. I relented and wore a tie for the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, but I wore either a bow tie or a bolo.
    Any word on Bally sports offering a digital subscription for blues games?
    No, and I'm not sure if they have the same digital rights issues they have with the Cardinals. But it's also something I haven't been following closely.
  • Quite the run Perron's been on the last month. Tom, have you swung back to believing David will sign his final contract with the Blues?
    I think another two-year, $4 million AAV contract is increasingly possible for Perron.
    I watched Chief's response to Jim's first question, my thought is Chief wanted to give his team credit for a solid performance and not dwell on anything negative. It was a solid performance by the Blues. I agree with the premise of Jim's question, but the guys did come back in the first to tie it. Chief just wanted to give the guys a pat on the back and reinforce if the team plays his style of play they will win.
    Berube certainly did want to praise his guys. But in a case where you never know when the session will end, sometimes you have to lead with the nuts and bolts so you know that question gets in.
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for doing this.
    Great win last night, though they started a bit sluggish. The second goal to tie it seemed to add some spring to their skates, while Washington seemed to think it had the game wrapped up in the first period.
    My question is about Kyrou. I understand the giveaway/takeaway statistics can be subjective, but anyone with eyes can see he has been turning over the puck over with regularity. Some of it is tighter checking that all top players face, but Jordan rarely if ever wins puck battles along the boards either. That said, he gets a point a game and lots of good looks, and had a nice backcheck in the d-zone in the third period last night. But come the playoffs, those repeated turnovers and inability to win puck battles will become more potentially damaging.
    Does it come down to whether he can outscore his mistakes? That’s not the kind of hockey preached by the Chief.
    Kyrou has gone seven games without a goal, one game shy of his season long goal-less streak, which was at the start of the season. (He had two goals in Game 2, then didn't score for eight games.) His expected goals percentage and Corsi percentage, two numbers I look at, have been increasingly up and down. Puck battles have not bee a strength for Kyrou, and it's one of the reasons a main thing for him in the offseason is to get stronger so he can win more battles. It's not a thing he's going to get better at it between now and the end of the season. Kyrou, as I've mentioned before, is a high-event player, meaning when he's on the ice, things are going to happen at both ends of the ice. It also means he's usually going to have to be paired with defensively responsible linemates. Berube values defensive responsibility. But if you have enough guys who are defensively responsible, as just about every other Blues forward is, you can take a chance with one guy who's maybe not as responsible. That's the Kyrou situation.
    Won't Army be at a similar disadvantage this offseason when trying to sort his goalie situation? You can't move Binnington without first resigning Husso and resigning Husso puts you over the cap. Any team trading for Binnington will know the Blues have to make that deal, meaning Army may need to pay to make that deal happen by throwing in draft picks to unload Jordan's contract. Meanwhile, Husso's agents will know the Blues have to make a deal so they will be able to maximize Ville's value and get Army to pay top dollar for a client that's enjoyed half a good season.
    It's easier to make big trades in the offseason, because it doesn't have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. Teams can go over the cap in the offseason. So that makes it easier to make the trade, though the complication will always be the timing. Can the Blues re-sign Husso before they trade Binnington? Does having Husso re-signed give other teams increased leverage over the Blues in a Binnington deal? Armstrong said at the trade deadline that the Blues are at a point where they value their draft picks because they need to add some youth in the system, so they're not going to toss them into a deal just to make it happen, especially if it's too unload someone rather than get someone. If the Blues were to trade Binnington, the team that's getting him would be acquiring because they want him. Any team that gets Binnington won't be lukewarm about him, because that will be a big commitment. They'll have to be all in. So trading Binnington would be tough, which is why the Blues need to play him to try to have him get better because the best solution for the Blues is to have Binnington be their best goalie.
    Help me with a cap question please. Who falls under the cap? Is just everyone on the main roster or is it everyone we have signed? Thanks
  • Everyone the Blues have signed, but teams get an exemption for players in the minors that is equal to the league minimum, which this season is $750,000, plus $375,000. So, $1.125 million. So James Neal, for instance, since he makes $750,000, does not right now count against the cap for the Blues. Since no one in the Blues' farm system makes more than $1.125 million, no one in the organization other than those on the active roster count against the cap right now. 
    After the trade deadline, the 23-man roster limit is over, but teams still have to be under the cap. So the Blues can't call guys up just yet because they can't fit them under the cap. Though right now, if they needed someone short term, they could put Bozak on LTIR since he'll be out long enough for that to work. Teams don't put players on regular IR after the trade deadline because they don't need to free up a roster spot. 
    Tom, here is a thought experiment: Would you okay Army to trade O'Reilly back to Buffalo for Tage Thompson? Think about this before you answer.....O'Reilly could be on the down swing of his career and Thompson has found his stride as a top line scorer.
    I think before all my answers. Sometimes I start typing, change my mind, delete what I've written, and start again.
    Right now, I would not make that trade. O'Reilly is so superior to Thompson defensively that it would overshadow Thompson's improved offense. In two years, the answer might be different, and when it comes time to work out O'Reilly's new contract, that will be a factor as well. But O'Reilly brings an awful lot to this team that I don't think Thompson can match. 
    Tom, do have any information about the other defenseman, Luke Witkowski, that the Blues received in the Leddy trade?
    The main thing I know about him is that he's from Holland, Mich., where relatives of mine live and where Witkowski is held in high regard for making the NHL. Immediately after the trade went down, I heard from a nephew of mine about it. Looking at some analytics on him, both his offensive and defensive numbers have been trending down. He's about to turn 32 and was in Detroit's farm system, so I wouldn't expect him to be an impact player but he gives them some depth.
    Further on Witkowski: he’s a tough guy who likes to fight. Check him out on www.hockeyfights.com. He can play wing or defense. Obviously a marginal NHL player at best, but as Noel Picard used to say, “He can really ‘tro dem.”
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