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.

    When you lose a big player to free agency I’ve heard it said you get their cap space to spend so it’s not a total loss as in the precap days, like the Blues and Hull. However it seems like an inferior choice as your basically repurposing dollars to buy replacement UFA’s, rarely a bargain and raises for some homegrown. With that being the case do you expect a trade of 91 this summer?
    If you lose a player to free agency, the dollars spent on him would become available. Same with a trade. Tarasenko has a $7.5 million cap hit, so if the Blues traded him, they could take on $7.5 million of salary for a new player. If he left as a free agent when his contract was over, that would be $7.5 million they could use for someone else. 
    The salary cap is going to go up $1 million this offseason, not a big jump, and the Blues have spent to the cap in recent years. The Blues don't have a whole lot of money coming off the books this offseason -- Perron, MacEachern, Leddy and Husso are the only pending UFAs -- and if the Blues want to keep Husso, he's going to get a sizable raise, so that money will have to come from elsewhere, which could force a deal somewhere. If the Blues did move Tarasenko, I would think they would invest that money in a similar high-scoring forward on the free agent market. That would seem to be the most pressing need, and they might also invest in someone to improve the defensemen corps, which would almost certainly require them to move someone, since they would then have more than they could use.
    The one Blue that is driving me crazy is Kyrou. He has become a turnover liability on nearly every shift, scoring pace has dropped off, and he absolutely refuses to backcheck. I think his All-Star selection went to his head.
  • Kyrou has played more games this season than any point his career (other than in one season in juniors) and played way more minutes in those games. So it's possible he's worn out a bit. I've said this before about Kyrou: He's not going to be great defensive player. But he is going to be a great offensive player, and there's sometimes a tradeoff to that. The Blues need him to be a good defensive player. This season, the Blues are 10 percentage points better on offense in expected goals with Kyrou on the ice and 14 percentage points worse with him on defense. But I don't know that his All-Star selection went to his head; those numbers have been pretty consistent over the course of the season, and they're not going to get better this season. If he gets stronger in the offseason, that will help a lot. Kyrou is not a guy who's going to win a lot of puck battles. And I would expect as he gets more experience, he'll be better at risk assessment and when to try something daring and when not.
    Can Neighbours be brought up to spark the team and do you think he could make a difference?
    Neighbours could be brought in when his junior season ends, but it's unlikely the Blues would do that, since they would be burning the first season of his entry-level contract if they did, and doing that for nine minutes of ice doesn't seem to me to be worth it. I don't know that he would make a difference.
    The Blues have 5 more overtime losses than the teams they are battling w in the Central. Are these valuable points going to be the difference and why have the Blues been so bad this year? What strategies are the successful teams using that the Blues are not and could different personnel be the answer?
    Yes, those points are clearly going to be important. Give the Blues five more points and they would be tied for second with Minnesota in the Central. Personnel isn't the issue. The type of players used in overtime are pretty clear, and the Blues aren't using any players who don't fit that template. You've got to get the puck, you've got to keep the puck, and when you turnover the puck, you've got to get back on defense. In a couple of their overtime losses, the Blues have never had the puck at all.
    Hi Mr. Timmermann,

    The NHL voided the Vegas to Anaheim trade of Evgenii Dadonov because he had the Ducks on his don't send me there list. I read a story that said neither Anaheim nor Vegas knew he had a no-trade, and that Vegas didn't know because Ottawa did not disclose it when they sent him to the Golden Knights. First of all, that's pretty shady by Ottawa, but secondly, don't teams have somebody that pours over the contract of a player they are acquiring to make sure they know exactly what they're getting into? How could two different teams miss that rather salient detail?
    Vegas' claim is they were told the no-trade list hadn't been properly filed and was hence not in effect so they thought it wasn't a concern and it apparently didn't come up in his trade to Vegas because they weren't on the list. Still, it does seem like the standard due diligence teams should do before making a trade, since all you had to do was look at capfriendly and know he had a modified no-trade clause, but sometimes trades happen quickly. One topic discussed at the just-concluded GM meetings was adding to the NHL Central Registry a place where all no-trade lists are on file. Apparently right now, just the team the player is with knows who is on the no-trade clause. That was a weird one.
    Do you think Army may privately regret not bending to Petro’s demands for his new contract? Having him on the roster right now would be nice going into the playoffs.
    I'm sure Armstrong wishes he had Pietrangelo on the team, but not at the cost of giving him a no-movement clause. He's pretty adamant about that and this team has a lot of contracts that could be problems down the road and that one might have been the biggest. The final four years of that contract could have been a mess for the team.
  • RoR’s production is down while last year was a bit better than expected at nearly a point per game. Are we beginning to see the start of the normal age related decline or is there an injury or usage change that is impacting his game?
    We don't know of any injuries, so I would think it's standard age-related issues. He's still the best defensive forward on the team this season. The only usage change is that the Thomas line gets a bit more defensive play, and O'Reilly's minutes are down about 90 seconds per game. And his finishing hasn't been as sharp. He should have a few more goals than he does. His points per 60 minutes has fallen from 2.8 to 2.1, which would be the lowest its been since he's been with the Blues.
    Hochman touched on something yesterday I asked about last week. I know the Russians production has been down - do you think there is worry about family back in Russia, investments that may have been in rubbles. Vladi did not speak to the media after the game the other night. What do you say?
    It's possible, though Tarasenko has 10 points in his past seven games, so if it was a problem, it seems less of one. Buchnevich started slumping a few days before the invasion. I can't say it hasn't been on their minds, but how much it's an issue, no one but they would know.
    Roy Hobbs, you must learn to play nice with others. Especially with the guy in charge of deciding who's questions get answered. Rock on Tom.
    Just don't say I'm censoring you because I haven't your question.
    Please explain Oreillys lack of production lately and quite frankly all year. His last 26 games 5 goals and 10 assists. for a .57 per game. His last 7 games total 1 and 1 for 2 points .This year is .67 ppg. His career is .71ppg. His previous 3 seasons with blues is .87 ppg. Pretty sharp drop in points for his time with the blues. He just does not seem to make many offensive plays anymore. Is being the captain hurting his play?
    I don't think being the captain is hurting his play. I think being 31 is the bigger culprit. Ryan O'Reilly has played a lot of hockey. He's still on the ice for a long time after practice. The other day, it was him, Walker and one other fourth liner (he was tall, but that could have meant Brown, MacEachern or Toropchenko and I don't remember at the moment) on the ice half an hour after most players had gone to the room. So it's not because he doesn't work hard.
    Trade Kyrou while his value is high. He will never be a complete forward. Totally irresponsible on the ice.
    Hi Tom. Thank you for doing these chats. Do you think that the same people clamoring for Parayko to be the best defenseman in the NHL realize that his new contract is commensurate with a good, top pairing defenseman but not a Bobby Orr-Larry Robinson reincarnation? I personally think that Armstrong constructs a team of good players up to the cap, and avoids contracts like Pietrangelo and Dougie Hamilton, etc... I also hope Tarasenko retires as a Blue, what are your thoughts? Thanks.
    I forgot to push the button the Kyrou question, but I would not endorse the trade Kyrou strategy.
    Armstrong doesn't pay top dollar on guys, but he'll pay a healthy amount. The Binnington contract didn't put him among the very highest paid guys in the league, and in some of these cases, he's gone for longer terms to keep the AAV down. The Parayko contract was a reflection of Parayko clearly wanting to stay and Armstrong wanting to keep him around. 
    I still think Tarasenko's future will be elsewhere, but if there were fears going into this season that Tarsaenko's best days were behind him because of his shoulder surgeries, that hasn't been the case. I don't know what the next contract would look like for him. 
    Trade Kyrou!?!?!?! H-E-double hockey sticks no! He’s still developing & has so much potential. Just look how long it’s taken Tage Thompson to finally start playing with the potential we knew was there? Kyrou’s never going to win a Selke award, but his overall game will develop with time
    Teams can wait a long time for a player like Kyrou to fall into their laps, and when you get one, you have to take full advantage of it.
    Husso getting the start again tonight shows Berube is going for the win. Binnington wasn't bad the other night but I thought the one goal was soft. Kyrou can't win a puck battle along the boards at all. I think the All Star game went to his head - arrogance as Berube said. Do you see Kostin breaking back into the lineup?
    I don't know that there's room for Kostin and Toropchenko in the same lineup, and right now Toropchenko has won that battle. I thought Kostin might be a chip at the trade deadline. He'll probably be back for the postseason, but there just may not be a spot for him going forward.
    How has Brown looked as a 4th line center? His style seemed to fit more top 9. Who do you see filling that role until Bozak returns and is he really the answer as that line has not seemed to play the role of hard 10-12 effective minutes this whole season?
    He's had some pretty good games and others not so much, and those games have pretty much synched with his ice time. Berube has said he's better suited for the third line than the fourth, but he's handled the fourth line OK and is better on faceoffs than Walker, the current fourth-line center. The problem for Brown is that the fourth line spot in the lineup is going to be more readily available than a third-line spot, so that's his only way in to the lineup at the moment. The fourth line of Walker-Toropchenko and MacEachern did pretty well the other night against Vancouver, and that will be the line for the moment. And in a lot of ways, Brown may be better suited for that line than Bozak. There's more bang in Brown's game.
  • How the heck is Perron getting better or at least keeping up his numbers as he gets older? It would be cool if you or JT could get an interview with him sometime to find out his secrets/training regiment. What AAV do you think will get him to stay here in STL next season? 3? 3.5?
    I've said in the past that I thought he would get a contract similar to his current one, two years at $4 million AAV. Then as he struggled this season, I wasn't so sure. Now, I'm leaning back in that direction of two years at $4 million, though the fact there hasn't been a deal yet makes me wonder.  As for keeping his numbers up, it's possible that the seasons lost to his concussions have kept him a little younger than his actual name. He changed the flex on his stick when he got to Vegas, and that has helped his shot a lot. I think Jonathan Marchessault gets credit for that.
    Army needs to fire Berube this off-season and hire John Tortorella. We all want it (well accept Gordo, who hates Torts for some inexplicable reason).
    Mr. Timmermann,

    Is a Tage Thompson like development in the cards for Brown, or is he pretty much at the point where he is what he is? They're from the same draft class, so maybe Brown is a late bloomer, too?
    Big guys do tend to take longer to develop, and that's certainly what the Blues are counting on. To many, Thompson looked like a busy, when he was actually just slow developing. His defense still needs a lot of work.
    Is Kyrou frustrating with his dipsy doodle over stickhandling and turning the puck over Yes. Is he infuriating with his blatant disregard of not backchecking>Yes again. Does he avoid contact as much as possible and cant win a board battle ever. Sure again. Do i worry about Kyrou disappearing in a 7 game series Definitely Would i want the blues to trade him.. NO WAY. He can also do things on the ice no other player can.
    I've said this before: Kyrou is what they call a high-event player. Things happen with him on the ice. Some good, some not-so-good. He's also 23 and finishing his first real full season.
    Another thought on Tarasenko. Is his priority this year to stay healthy and put up big numbers to make himself more attractive in the trade market and/or signing an extension or a new high value future contract? Have you seen his style of play change this season to accomplish these things?
  • Usually a player's contract year is the final year of his contract, when he's about to be a free agent, but this was in a lot of ways a contract year for Tarasenko coming off his injuries. He had a lot to prove after all the time lost to injuries, and then to a messy offseason. So he had plenty of incentive to have as good a season as he could possibly have. He looks pretty much like the Tarasenko we've seen before. His biggest jump statistically has been in assists per 60 minutes, where he's gone from 1.5 in his last healthy season to 2.1 this season. His defensive numbers have not been great; his net Corsi, however, has taken a big drop, and teams are 21 percent above the league average in expected goals with him on the ice, compared to plus 2 when he's not on the ice. But offense is the number that's going to drive opinions on Tarasenko.
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