If Parayko needs surgery -- and back surgery at that -- then the Blues need to go out and get, well, someone like Parayko, a big right-sided defenseman. Who they could get would depend on how long they thought they would be without Parayko and they could make it all fit together. Right now, that doesn't seem to be case that he needs surgery.
Dougie Hamilton is an outstanding defenseman, and will cost a lot of money. There are other teams that may be better equipped to spend a lot of money on him. But why not keep Parayko, sign him for less than $7.5, not re-sign Schwartz and then use that money to get a scorer? Seems like adding a new, big-name defenseman every season may not be the best strategy as far as cohesiveness and all.
He's only been on three teams, Boston, Calgary and Carolina, in nine seasons, so it's not like he's moved around that much. Calgary signed him to a six-year deal, but traded him halfway through, probably with a rebuild in mind. (I'd have to look up the details on that deal.) I think he's going to stay in Carolina, a team that is already competing for a Cup.
Edmundson was likely going to be a third pairing defenseman for the Blues. By the end of the Cup season, he wasn't even playing every night. The Blues were able to trade him and get something in return with Faulk. And Carolina only kept him for a season, trading him for a fifth-round pick, so it's not as if they were enamored of him. I was surprised he got the deal from Montreal that he got. Dominik Bokk will have to be one heck of a player for Carolina to come out ahead. (Though other factors come into play; if Carolina didn't they were going to re-sign Faulk, then getting Edmundson for him was a plus on their end.)
No, only five of them get plusses, though I've seen cases where if there were only supposed to be four players on the ice, the stat crew will include an extra fifth player in a similar situation. Tampa Bay is the only team that I think can compete with Vegas. That would be a good series for the final.
I expected Colorado to win, I predicted Colorado to win, but don't forget, Colorado and Vegas finished with the same amount of points in the regular season. Couple that with the fact that margins are so small in NHL postseasons, it doesn't take much to swing things. Now, after Colorado went up 2-0, I really liked their chances, but in Game 2, the series swung and Vegas ran with it. This does not mean Colorado was not a good team. Colorado was a very good team. They lost to another very good team. Play that series 100 times and Colorado may win 55 of them. The teams are close. Winning begets winning, and Colorado is going to have another chance at a breakthrough win. They are a team with Cup potential. And yes, the Blues aren't as good as they were two years ago. They've lost a lot of foundational players and the new faces haven't all settled in yet. With all the talk about the Blues Cup window being open, I think it may still be open, but it's a different window. Not necessarily a new window, but a different window. Maybe a slightly smaller one.
They need a scoring winger. Actually, that's what I expected them to go after when they didn't re-sign Pietrangelo, and I was surprised when they got Krug. The defense could use a shakeup, but I'm not sure how they do that with the players they have signed and the prospects they have coming up. I don't know that they can commit much more money to the defense without feeling it elsewhere.
The only way to protect Mikkola is to expose Faulk, Krug or Parayko, or protect two fewer forwards. I don't think that's happening.
I do not think hockey will move into third. It will have a challenge to hold on to fourth in the long run. People in large portions of the nation -- like most of the nation south of St. Louis, just don't get the exposure to it. They don't play it growing up or know people who play it. The costs to entry are high. Soccer you need a ball and a field. Hockey needs a lot more. The concept of a pickup hockey game is alien in vast swaths of America. That will make it tough. Soccer has a much better chance of catching on because the barriers to entry are low and the demographics of the country are changing.
Signing Faulk was Armstrong's way of telling the Pietrangelo camp, you are not running this negotiation. I can play hardball just as well. But the ultimate goal was to keep Pietrangelo. The Blues offered the money for that. They wouldn't go the extra yard and give Pietrangelo the no-movement clause he wanted. Had Bouwmeester's career ended more normally, they would likely have someone else instead of Scandella. The Blues would almost certainly have been a better team this season had they been able to keep Pietrangelo. That was a major jolt to the system at a time when major jolts weren't going to be easy to deal with.
A secret agreement would constitute collusion, which would cause all sorts of trouble if they were caught. Every few years, people predict that the situations are just right for offer sheets to be a thing. They never are. Colorado will match all but the most absolutely insane offers for Makar if there were any, if you're making an absolutely insane offer, then it's going to be really scary if you get stuck with it. They seem to bring more ill will among teams than results.
I would think it would be. Not sure what the market will be like for Bozak elsewhere, and at what point it's not worth it for him to pack up the family and move. A multi-year offer somewhere could change that. Bozak's situation may not be that different from Troy Brouwer's situation a few years back.
It would take a lot, since he's still an RFA when his contract is over, so Calgary is giving up seasons of cost control. A lot would depend on what Calgary wanted, but I think you might have to give up someone higher on the list than Dunn. The Blues draft pick isn't going to be a high one most years, so that also affects things. So someone off the NHL roster who Calgary would have for several years before having to potentially lose as a UFA and some prospects.
So noted. Though I think the Blues could have been intense and tough if needed.
Krug is a more established commodity and more productive offensively. Mikkola has potential for sure. But that's a lot to bet on.
Trading Scandella and Walman, along with potentially losing Dunn in the draft, would mean a major makeover of the back end of the Blues. But if that's what you were offering, an established vet and a kid with potential, you could certainly get something.
Armstrong did not enter into that deal without thinking it through on many levels. It was a point where the Pietrangelo talks were stuck were having a hard time getting started. Faulk was one of the best players on the team this season
The Blues farm system is getting a little bare from all the deals made in the past few years, so there is some incentive to keep some of these players and/or picks. But it's going to cost something to make some moves. I don't know how much demand there is for some of these drafts; I don't know that any one of them alone is going to make another GM agree to something. But I never would have thought the Blues could get what they did for Berglund or Sobotka or Lehtera, but they did. If someone out there loves Zach Sanford, maybe that gets things going.
OK, it's time to shut things down for another week of Blues chatting. We'll be back next week to chew over the hot stove and by then, we may know what the Stanley Cup Final looks like and which ex-Blues will be involved. I'm betting on Pietrangelo, Reaves and Carrier vs. Maroon. We shall see. Until then, take care.