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.

    I would never rule out anything happening with any goalie. I'm always amazed that at any given point in time, there are about 20 or 25 good goalies in the NHL. It's a big world, you'd think there could be 40 or 50 of them without much trouble, but, like kickers, it seems there's never quite enough to go around. It's more likely that the next goalie star for the Blues is Joel Hofer.
    Do you see Kyrou making the huge jump in play next season that Thomas made this year?
    What would a big jump in play be for Kyrou? His offensive numbers aren't going to jump the way Thomas' did, though I suppose the way offense is up this season, a 35-goal season isn't out of the question for him. The place the Blues will want to see him improve is defense; they'll be looking to see his Corsi percentage and expected goals percentage to go up because opponents are having fewer chances when he's on the ice. That's the jump the Blues want. It can happen, though it may take more than one season. It took a while for Thomas to get to where he is.
    Did we see the best of Binnington in 2019? Will he ever be that good again?
    You can watch a lot of hockey for a lot of years and never see a goalie play as well as Binnington did in 2019. He set all sorts of records and hit all sorts of milestones that season. It was an amazing season, and so good that will be difficult for hi to match it. But that's because it was a career season. Almost all of the goalies in the NHL right now will never have a season like that. 
    The Blues right now would probably be thrilled to have the 2019-20 Binnington back. He was good that season too, but not as good. 
    What's going on with Kostin? He's highly skilled Al Macinnis said he has the quickest shot on the team. I don't think Berube handled him right. He's has top 6 potential at least top 9 and Berube wanted him to be a 4th line grinder and checker. Square peg round hole. Hard to believe he's not farther along then Brown and Toropchenko. This is feeling like punishment or attitude adjustment lessons.
    Kostin has lost his place in line, and it's going to be tough to get it back. He couldn't solidify his position in the top nine, which admittedly is pretty tight (who would you take out to put him in?), and the other fourth-line options ended up doing the job much better. If he has a quick shot, he didn't use it. He averaged about a shot on goal per game. He had chances on the third line but just never clicked and his month-long injury didn't help. Then he started taking bad penalties and all of a sudden he was getting seven minutes a night. Toropchenko and Walker do what Kostin was needed to do this season. Certainly seems like he'll be on the trade block this summer, because roster spots are going to be hard to come by.
    I don't see the Blues making an offer to Leddy since Detroit picked up half his current salary. Hard to a $5.5 million salary with the Blues Cap situation. Do you see that spot going to Perunovich and Tyler Bozak spot to Neighbors.
    Though the Blues have played better since Leddy arrived, I agree that he will be a tough fit with the cap next season and if he's there, what does that mean for Perunovich, who's eight years younger and showed he's ready to play in the NHL? The same goes for Bozak, though without the cap hit issues. There are younger guys, like Neighbours, waiting to get in.
    Do coaches break down every shift in the video room after the games and grade each player as they do in football?
    They look at every shift. I don't know that they grade it. That might get unwieldy after a while with three times as many games. You could just let assorted analytics take care of that.
    Maybe it’s just my imagination but the Blues don’t appear to play the same with Binnington in goal as they do Husso. Barring an injury to Husso, could this be the last game we see Binnington in a Blues sweater? Even the ESPN announcers said he looked like a “fish out of water”.
    Sure it could be the last time, but a few things to consider:
    1) Trading Binnington will be difficult because of his contract.
    2) Binnington has a no-trade clause.
    3) Husso is an unrestricted free agent, so there's no assurance he'll be back and if he's not, the Blues need Binnington.
    Trading Binnington would solve all sorts of issues but making that happen will not be easy, and at least one thing, re-signing Husso, would have to happen before he's traded. 
    What negative impact, if any, has Binnington's new contract had on his play in your opinion? I realize there many components that impact a goalie's play, but is he a player whose performance diminishes after he's become financially set for life? Thank you.
    That was a topic of discussion when he signed the deal, that it would deprive him of his motivation to keep improving. I remember talking about it with Binnington that day on Zoom. He said he would have to find new ways to motivate himself besides getting a big contract. Right now I'd say his current situation should be ample motivation to get better because hockey players, like other professional athletes, have gotten where they are by being extremely competitive, so happily sitting around collecting a paycheck and not playing, no matter how big, is not part of their character. Lots of players sign big contracts and keep on performing. When this contract runs out, he will be 33, which is not the end of the line for goalies by any means. He will very likely have another contract after this one.
    Armstrong has done a tremendous job avoiding bad contracts that handcuff him...and has traded some that would have had they stayed.
    what is the worst contract that Armstrong has given that was fulfilled with the Blues?
    By fulfilled, do you mean that played out to the end? The worst ones, to Lehtera and Berglund, he was able to unload. The Krug and Faulk contracts have the potential to look bad in their final seasons, but they're OK now and that was always going to be the tradeoff, good years early with the chance of really squeezing you at the end. Even Armstrong acknowledged that at the time, jokingly adding that that would very possibly be the next GMs problem. 
    Lots of people thought he gave Bouwmeester one or two too many seasons, but that ended up working out OK. 
    I personally don't care if the Blues have over 10 million in goaltending salary next year. We need to resign Husso. The Blues have put numerous years into developing Villie. He was a better prospect then Binner and may very well have an excellent career. I rather not resign Perron to keep Husso. How stupid would it be to go with Binnington next year without Husso! That's called not making the playoffs!
    The Blues may have no choice but to invest that much in the goalie position next season, if Binnington can't be traded and they re-sign Husso. There's always the potential for restructuring the forward unit, where there are a lot of options. If the Blues make another quick exit in the playoffs, the amount of changes could go up.
    This summer if somehow Army decides to take a part of Binnington's salary in order to make a trade would the Blues' part count against the team's cap?
    Yes it would, and it's not something Armstrong has done a lot of, especially considering the number of years left on Binnington's contract. If you're going to be paying the guy $2 or $3 million anyway, why not have him do it on your team?
    Is it your feeling that Husso will test free agency. I know most athletes can't wait until free agency so my feeling is that he tests the market and there will be substantial interest. What's your feeling.
    I think Husso would be foolish not to test the market. The only way he doesn't is if the Blues make an over-the-top offer to him, something that exceeds what he thinks he could get on the open market. But even then, would be prefer a situation where he's the clear No. 1, rather than having a Cup-winning goalie like Binnington looking over his shoulder, or where the coaching staff is going to be inclined to give you both 40 starts rather than giving you 60 starts? 
    Maybe it will be a down year on the market for goalies, but it sure wasn't last season.
    Heading into the playoffs how do you compare Husso season to 2019 Binnington? What realistically can the team and fans expect out of him during these playoffs? Was Binnington's success more the really big strong D and defensive structure of that team or did it start w him?
    In 2019, Binnington had a pretty good defense in front of him, but he also played exceptionally well. He made what became kind of his signature move, a big save or two early in the game which kept the game close and gave the team the time to get its act together and play better. So it was both. Husso is ahead of where Binnington was that season; Binnington came straight out of the minors, Husso has one NHL season behind him. The Blues have been high on Husso for a long time. 
    Husso is a goalie, so I have no idea what to expect from him the playoffs. But he has done pretty well in the season, so that's a good start. 
    Moneypuck has the Wild at a 70% odds of beating the Blues in the first round? What do they know that we don't? We've dominated them over the last few years and seem to be the deeper team and have been as hot or hotter down the stretch. What gives?
    Some of the prime analytics numbers, expected goals percentage and Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts) percentage, heavily favor the Wild. 
    I don't know that the Blues have dominated the Wild. The won-loss record may be good, but to say the Blues were 3-0 against the WIld this season ignores the fact that two of the games went to overtime. The gap between them is not as big as you might think.
    That number also likely assumes home-ice for the Wild and could change if the Blues were to win it. Though I don't know that for sure.  
    After watching the replay over and over I hope Scandella's foot is not broken because who knows how bad until the skate came off after the game? Any updates on possible x-ray results? Anyone seen him on crutches w a boot on today? If he's done or compromised it's time for Mikkola to use this season's experience and become a reliable top 4 D. And Rosen may be needed a lot unless Borts is 100%?
    The Blues got back into St. Louis around 3 a.m., so they didn't skate today, so we won't have an update until tomorrow. Will be interesting to see which way the Blues would go if Scandella was out. Rosen has been the choice most of the time lately. Seems they would continue to go that way.
    Hi Tom- Thanks for hosting the chat. I just jumped in, so I haven't had a chance to read everything yet. Thus my apologies, as I'm sure there's been a little bit of chat about the home ice situation in round one. While I'm of the opinion that it doesn't significantly matter all that much and recent trends show that to be true, I think out of appreciation to Blues ownership, every fan, and every player should want to have home ice advantage to provide additional revenue for this mid-to-small market club. Thanks again...Go Blues!
    I think one of the big benefits of home ice is cumulative. If you're in the postseason for a while, it means one less trip here or there. If Minnesota has home ice in the first round, the Blues are probably on a plane on Sunday. If it starts here, they're not flying again until Thursday or Friday. Over the course of a postseason, it could end up meaning a week or more at home, regardless of any home-ice advantage. The rule of thumb used to be that a home playoff game meant $1 million in revenue for the home club. The Stillman camp will gladly welcome that as well.
    Where is Hofer on the developmental scale. Is he a possible Ville Husso in waiting that could fill in admirably if Binnington falters next season. I can't see Husso staying if he's not the starting goalie and the Blues have too much invested in Binnington not to play him.
    Hofer is probably a year away. The Blues would like to have him be in the minors in 2022-23. We'll see if they have that luxury. He did not get many games at all last season, but he has put up really good numbers in Springfield, so maybe they would be more confident in him because of that. The hope had to be that Binnington would play well, Husso would re-sign for not much and then Hofer would be in the wings. That plan has changed.
    Who are your dark horses to steal a first round no one is expecting?

    Which top teams do you think will lose in the first round? I vote Calgary and Florida. Toronto is a given every year.
    I don't know that I have any dark horses. Seems like the lines are drawn pretty well: Florida, Toronto, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Colorado and Calgary, with the Blues and Wild in a small room just off the lobby. Toronto could be an early exit because they'll get Tampa Bay in the first round. Or Tampa Bay could be an early exit because they face Toronto.
    The ROR line has a much bigger % of its goals on the PP than either of the other top 2 lines. Does this make them more of a "hold your own 5 on 5" with a + on the PP and let the scoring depth on lines 2 and 3 finally take advantage of the mismatches on other teams which is why the Blues have been so successful since the lines have solidified?
    The O'Reilly line will likely get Minnesota's top line (at least in St. Louis when they have control of that), and any offense they get from that group is a bonus. And the Thomas line will get Minnesota's top defensive line. And then the focus shifts to the third lines, and the power play. And remember: there are more power plays, not less, in the postseason, so the Blues will have to take advantage of those chances.
    Tom -- I always enjoy your insights on the Blues but wanted to touch on your soccer expertise at the moment. What did you think of the United States' draw for the upcoming World Cup? I am cautiously optimistic but really concerned about all the injuries, particularly Dest and McKinnie. Also, have you taken a tour of the under-construction MLS stadium downtown yet? I'm hoping St. Louis can host some national team games when that is finished, much like Austin and Cincinnati are getting to do with new stadiums. Thoughts?
    Since we haven't started a soccer chat, I'll take this one now. I liked their draw; I think they can win a couple games there, though it will be clearer when we know who that fourth team is. Though whoever it might be, none of them really scare me. 
    Injuries will clearly be an issue, since some of the team's most promising players keep getting banged up. 
    I haven't been "inside" the stadium since very, very early, before most of the framework had been done. They're looking at being handed the keys around July 1, with events being able to be held in September. And the U.S. national team will come here regularly. 
    I don't think Berube has been given enough credit locally or nationally as he has adjusted on the fly to utilizing the changing talent base and skills to keep this team at the top of the league? I know he's got an extension but why not more recognition as I remember people doubting him when the team went smaller and faster?
    Berube has done an excellent job and has had to change from taking over a team that was heavy to having a team that has more speed and less bulk, and he has handled that well. And he won a Stanley Cup. Though now he needs to win another postgame series, since they haven't won one in the past two seasons. He's done very well this season.in a difficult situation.
    It looked like Binnington had gained some Mojo for the little stint up to the Coyotes game the other night. He started to get skittish again and was over moving and committing too soon that game and it carried into and all game vs the Avs. Is it just a confidence thing where he loses it mentally and starts doubting himself so tries to do too much? Would it be better for him to realize he's "won his lottery" w his contract and just relax or "I've got to prove myself" much like he did for his cup season?
    So much of being a goalie is a head game, not only in the on-ice strategizing and positioning, but just in believing in yourself. Confidence matters a lot to goalies, though we may say that because it's an umbrella term that covers so many things and helps us explain the myriad intangibles. It's voodoo, and what works for one might now work for another, which is why goalie coaches have their hands full.
    OK, right on cue, it's 4 p.m., and I've run out of questions. Thanks for your time and attention. Not sure what next week's chat will look like or who will be here. We'll have a better idea after we see the schedule and know whether next Wednesday is a game day or not. And it looks like Blues in 6 or 7 won in the poll, which doesn't surprise me. 
    Thanks again and see you, well, not literally, next week. 
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