Greetings. The Blues chat marches on. There are questions waiting. Let's go
Not really. Vegas won't be in their division but will still be in their conference, so that will still get their attention, and Colorado is still going to be a pretty good team, though what they look like next season with all the free agents they have is a bit of an unknown. I don't think Armstrong would say, "now I can get away with one piece but not two." It wouldn't have taken a whole lot for that Colorado-Vegas series to go the other way and for the Avs to be heavy favorites to win it all.
I was covering the Cardinals last night but that play made its way into the press box. A bad call all around. That will teach Brayden Point to get crosschecked. But what are you going to do? Have replay review of every penalty? I don't think that's a road you want to go down. Offsides reviews are bad enough, and goalie-interference reviews remain cloaked in mystery. Having every minor penalty looked at is going to send us to places we just don't want to go, and only make matters worse. Better officiating is the answer, but no matter how good they are, every now and then you're going to get just a truly bad call. It's just a shame when it leads to a goal like it did. You often hear the saying "Ball don't lie" or "Puck don't lie," but in that case, well, it did.
Kyrou showed at the end of the season that he can be a top six forward. He may have to win over Berube about his defensive focus to fully settle in there, but he made definite inroads in that over the course of the season. So yes. For Thomas to be a top six, he'll need to be better on faceoffs. The Blues are counting on him to be a center on a top two line, not a wing, and he's shown some great playmaking ability. But he's still getting there. Kyrou is far more likely to be a top six wing next season. If the Blues are using Thomas as a top six wing, it means something somewhere has gone wrong.
Until free agency begins, the Blues are the only team that can talk to Schwartz or any of their other free agents, unless they give permission to someone else. At the same time, the Blues can't talk to any other team's unrestricted free agents, unless they are given permission. There are reports that Carolina is allowing other teams to talk with Dougie Hamilton, both as a possible precursor to a trade and sign deal or for him to see that Carolina's offer is as good as anyone else's.
A writer in Edmonton, I think, figured that over the past 20 years, the average defenseman on a Stanley Cup finalist has been 6-2, 219 pounds. Though the Blues used a lot of combinations over the course of the season, if you took Faulk, Krug, , Parayko, Scandella, Walman and Bortuzzo, that group averages out to 6-2, 211 pounds. If you substituted Mikkola for Bortuzzo, the height stays the same and the weight comes down a bit. Put Dunn in there for anyone beside Krug and both come down a bit. So the Blues D is pretty much in that ballpark, though Krug and Faulk, two prime players, don't have the size that Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester brought in 2019. If you want to add a big lanky defender to play in the top four, you're looking to find a better Scandella. It's possible Mikkola is that guy.
It's really hard to look at Montreal as some sort of sentimental underdog, considering that club's history, but that's the role they've ended up in in this postseason. I don't hold out much hope for Montreal against Vegas, but it's postseason hockey, anything can happen. Numbers people have found that for the better team to consistently win in the NHL postseason, you'd have to play a best of 51 series. Any thing less is still a crapshoot. So Montreal has a chance, but it's not a very good one.
I do expect to see a significant change or two, but what those might look like, I don't know. Not signing Schwartz would change the look of the team, and how that money is used would be another change. There will definitely be one significant loss when someone goes in the expansion draft. I don't know if a blockbuster trade can happen because of the cap issues and that it will be hard to trade some of the team's biggest salaries and that you need players like Blais and Sanford and Barbashev to fill out the roster. You can have only so many guys making $6 million. I'm inclined to say the bigger changes would happen at forward because it's easier to change things around there, especially with the commitments in place to Faulk and Krug and the one coming soon to Parayko.
Not really, but players like those are easy to find on the market, and generally don't cost a whole lot. Clifford is making $1 million for one more year. It wouldn't be hard to get someone. Clifford, by the way, actually had a decent year by the numbers. By at least one measure, he was one of the team's better defensive forwards.
The NHL isn't going back to the days of zero tolerance for a player being in the crease. That was way more trouble than it was worth. They have increased enforcement of goalie interference with video challenges but I think the NHL would rather the stars of the game be the guys scoring the goals than the ones stopping them.
Some like it. Others don't. That old-time hockey stuff can be fun from time to time. Other times it can be pathetically comical. People here may hate them, but I thought it was fun to watch the Avalanche play. It's fun to watch Tampa Bay play. On the whole, I'd rather watch 60 minutes of fast-paced play then normal play with a brawl thrown in. I may not be alone in that.
Much will depend on what they get from other teams and how the group comes together. If they can get a power-play running defenseman from another team, they can go another direction with who they take from the Blues and Walman would be an option. There are situations where the Kraken might want to take Marco Scandella. Or maybe a forward like Zach Sanford. It's one big puzzle, and one decision will trickle down through all the others. Dunn with his age and experience might be the best candidate to go, but Seattle may have identified a different need.
The dollars were ultimately close. Pietrangelo really wanted a no-movement clause. Armstrong didn't want to give him a no-movement clause. Vegas gave him a no-movement clause, and also structured Pietrangelo's contract to make him essentially buyout proof. Armstrong is quite adamant on not giving out no-movement clauses. It was a line he wouldn't cross. Pietrangelo also drew his line in the sand. When Armstrong said no, Pietrangelo's choice was to stand firm and take another offer or back down. He didn't back down, and got what he wanted in Las Vegas.
Cale Makar will be making a lot of money very soon, all coming from Colorado. The team will fail to sign a whole lot of players to keep him.
Since Seattle is the only expansion team, they will get the unprotected lists from the teams, and put together their roster from that. While there was some strategy involved in years where two teams came in, since there was a chance a player who was available who you wanted would be gone before you could get him, that's not the case this time. Seattle will take one player from every team except Vegas, in whatever order they want. Protected lists have to be in on July 17, and the Kraken have until the 21st to make their selections. There will be some strategy involved as teams try to figure if they can leave a player unprotected and slip him through the draft so they can protect someone else. (It's something the Blues could try with Tarasenko, for instance, figuring his injury history might scare them away.) Seattle at this point has theorized on what most teams protected lists will look like and has a decent idea of what their team will look like, though trades and free agent signings will force some changes, which could lead to other changes in who they choose. But they've been doing their homework. And they have to be prepared for trade offers.
Greetings from the halfway point of the chat. Cardinals and Marlins are tied 0-0 in the eighth, but we're talking hockey.
I don't know who was the heir to the role played by players like Ott or Maroon or Thorburn, who were colorful characters who kept things light. Clifford likely would have fit that role in the locker room just based on his role on the ice. In some ways, you didn't really need one for much of the season because there was so much time spent apart. But for any number of reasons, team chemistry was probably a tough thing to get together this season, it was probably toughest for a guy like Hoffman, who joined the team on a one-year deal and didn't know a whole lot of guys to begin with. But the happiest teams are also winning teams; early in the Stanley Cup season, the Blues weren't the happiest of squads. Morale picked up a lot when they started winning. Or the winning picked up when the morale got better.
Either would be fine fits for the Blues. Colorado can't keep everyone, and at least one of them figures to be available. Demand will be high, and other teams may be willing to go for more money or more years than the Blues can.
The Blues did not value Edmundson's abilities the way Edmundson's team valued his abilities. The sides could never agree on a contract. If that happened as an RFA, it was definitely going to happen when he was a UFA. The Blues chose to get the most of the asset by trading him. And the analytics say he's below average in both offense and defense. (And, while he's gotten some PP time in the playoffs, he played four minutes on the power play in the regular season.)