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 one and all and welcome to the chat. It's been a few weeks, one because all of us were gone, another because the darn thing didn't work, and almost this week because I was on jury duty. But the case ended on Tuesday, setting me free to be here and see if there is anything on your mind at the moment. So with that said, and with a few questions already waiting, let's get started.
    Hey Tom, Thanks for doing this. Is the Post going to cover part or all of the Traverse City tourney this year? It would be great to see which players stand out, improve, etc. Also, yesterday I could not get the Cards game times online STLTODAY.COM Plus, the hard cover paper seems to be losing it--when I receive it in the morning lately. The Cards articles are fractured, etc. I know it's maybe a new style, but they leave so much out. Have a good one and keep up the good work. PS-the Blues should never have traded Jimmy Roberts for Phil Roberto!
    Jim has, in the past, made the trip to Traverse City, because it's a relaxed time to talk to prospects and management and to kind of kick off the season. I would envision that happening again, though I don't know that formal plans have been made. But I'd say signs point to yes.
    Can't say for sure what happened on the Cardinals game times. Usually, with the Blues, they end up way at the bottom of the game story from the previous day, but with the new format, I'm not exactly sure where they end on Cardinals stories, or on which Cardinals stories since there are now three or four or five every day. 
    As for the new style, there are a lot of problems we're trying to solve at once. Historically, the gamer with quotes (in the business called a writethru) has hit the website around midnight, but the problem there is that not a lot of people are looking at the website at midnight. So the decision has been made to write a game story that gets the essentials of what happened in the game in the paper in an easy to digest manner (and which makes it easier for the copy desk on deadline) and then bring the final version of the story out at 6 a.m. the following day, when people start going online again. I haven't had to do one yet, but we'll see how this goes. It is, as they say, a decision made above my paygrade. 
    Tom, I'm curious about your rooting interests. I think folks assume that reporters assigned to specific professional sports teams automatically root for those teams. Can you shed some light regarding which teams (any sport) you root for, and also if it's natural to root for the team you're reporting on?
    Would you want a person writing about the team you're interested in to be a fan of that team, to let that color their coverage? I would think that would be a bad thing. Could you trust that person to objectively say what was going on with the team, to write things that would reflect poorly on them or be critical of them? I am not a fan of the Blues, nor the Cardinals, nor will I be a fan of City SC when they start playing this season. I was not a fan of SLU when I covered them. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was fans of the Dodgers, and then to lesser levels the Kings, Lakers, Rams and UCLA. But I put all of that aside when I started in journalism.
    It is, I will say, easier to cover a winning team, because everyone is usually in a good mood. It can also be a lot of fun to cover really bad teams. The worst is to cover a .500 team. But reporters shouldn't root for the teams they over and that's what you should insist on. 
    Where's my post I sent in 6 minutes before you went online?
    Behind the posts that were sent in seven minutes before I went online.
    As we make our way to the stretch run leading up to the regular season, despite having a much better regular season and post-season, it almost feels like last September when fans grumbled that the team would most likely make the playoffs. Very few thought they were a serious contender to win the Cup. Then Thomas and Kyrou really stepped up there development and became cornerstone players, etc. Isn't that where the game is really going when you're a franchise that I'm consistently winning and you're not Tampa? If you're going to move up your young players will need to do a lot of the lifting? Do the Blues have anymore young players who can step up and shoulder more is the load like Thomas and Kyrou did last year?

    Perron was a beast in the playoffs last year and was very good in the regular season. That was last year. He's at the age where a major drop off is looming. Even if they found 5 million in cap room, it would be very unlikely he will match the scoring output from last year. The number one thing I'll be looking at come February will be did enough players get better? And that very well could determine if the Blues will be buyers, buyers and potential sellers of expiring contracts or plain sellers. What's your thoughts?
    There's a few questions scattered in here, and I'm not exactly sure what all of them are. Neighbours would be the one young player who could step up and shoulder more of the load, though that may be a lot to ask of him this young and with this little pro experience. But he should get more ice time, but his contribution will be more like Thomas and Kyrou in their early seasons, not like last season. Mikkola could "break out," though for a defense-first defenseman, that may not be as noticeable. Perunovich could also carry more of a load this season; for his sake, he'd better. If he does that, the Blues will have to make some moves on defense, though I would argue they already need to make some moves there.
    You always need players to get better. The Blues will be nowhere if Binnington is not better than he was last season. How the season plays out always determines whether they are buyers or sellers at the deadline. But for a lot of guys on this team, it's not a matter of getting better. Ryan O'Reilly is not going to get better at this point in his career. But is he playing as well as he did before will be the issue. I don't think the Blues got better this offseason, but they still should be a contender in the West, though well behind Colorado.
    Posts before you actually go live/on line are supposed to go before the ones that come AFTER them. That's why Gordzonga goes on 2 hours before the set time. He takes the early posts first. You guys need uniform chat rules!!
    That's the beauty of the chat. We all have our own rules. I start at the bottom, then go to the top, then back to the bottom, and gradually work my way to the middle.
    Not directly a Blues question but the Blues FO once talked about having some NWHL games here and doing more to support women's hockey. That was about 3 years ago. Anything on the horizon?
    Not that I've' heard. The B;ies do want to do more to support women's hockey -- they had the US-Canada games out at Centene last year -- but that league, now the PHF (Premier Hockey Federation) seems a bit disorganized. Also, the lack of teams in the Midwest make this maybe not the prime area the league needs to work at.
    Would Stasny been a good fit here, providing we could have made the cap work? $1.5m seems like a steal for him.
    If the Blues had a place to play him, he would have been great to have, but I just don't think there was a place for him in the lineup. The Blues already have a very good defensive center in O'Reilly and want Thomas to get more defensive time as well. And I don't think trading or moving a young player to find a spot for Stastny would be the smart thing to do. He would be a third-line center for the Blues. But good for him to get a deal with a team like Carolina.
    Are there any rumblings about St. Louis getting another NHL stadium event, or any of the other premier NHL events such as the Amateur Draft? It's been a really long time since the last event...the 2020 All Star Game. Ha!
    The NHL is gradually getting back into the swing of doing big stadium events, so they've got some catching up to do. The next draft was just given to Nashville, and I don't know if moving that around is a big deal, if after that they'll want to go to another part of the country. The Winter Classic game here was obviously a big success and St. Louis has shown a great deal of affection for events like that so the league will certainly come back, but there they have some catching up to do as they rebuild out of the pandemic
    At this point, what do you think the Blues see in Klim Kostin? He seems like a bust and can't make the next step to the NHL. Your thoughts?
    I'm always reluctant to call someone a bust, but it's clear that Alexey Toropchenko has passed by Kostin in the hearts and minds of the Blues, and I don't know that there's room for both in the lineup. Had Toropchenko not had offseason shoulder surgery, I think Kostin would be somewhere else right now. But he'll get his chance with Toropchenko missing the first few months of the season. And Toropchenko is the model for what Kostin needs to be. Kostin will hit, but needs to do more than that and be more involved in generating offense. Toropchenko has been much better at getting to the net than Kostin has. The Blues see Kostin as a guy who has gotten his chances and has a game with potential but just hasn't taken advantage of them.
    I read an article a few weeks ago that pointed out how many players per team had no trade clauses in their contracts. The Blues and Lightening were tied with 8 each, I think. Most of the teams had an average of 2-3. Why is it Army feels compelled to hand out no trade clauses like their PEZ.
    It's part of the recruiting process, I suppose, a way to add something to a contract offer that doesn't impact the cap directly. (Obviously it impacts the cap in other ways when movement is limited.) If Torey Krug has two offers for the same amount of money and one team gives him a no-trade clause and the other doesn't, where's he more likely to go? Most of us live here so we may think differently about the Gateway to the West, but I don't know if for a lot of NHL guys St. Louis is the top destination on their list. Life is a lot easier if you're in the Northeast, and life can be a lot more interesting on the West Coast. So if Armstrong likes a guy and doesn't think he'll trade him, why not? But also, as Armstrong has said many times and as I've said many times, giving a no-trade clause doesn't mean you can't trade the guy, it just means you have to ask him first and he has a say in the process. And Armstrong has given out zero no-movement clauses, even when it has meant losing the team captain.
    Thanks for the chat!
    Just checking in on the Binnington injury from that uber-cheap-shot artist, Kaddri... Did the team disclose the full extent of the injury? I thought there was a concern of a torn ACL but did not hear the final diagnosis. Bottom line... will JB be fully recovered for training camp?
    I don't recall a specific diagnosis being given, but no surgery was required and didn't back away from saying Binnington wouldn't have been able to play later in the series, though I seem to recall Binnington suggesting the next round might have been ambitious. He should be ready for the start of training camp, and if there was any concern about him missing the start of training camp, the Blues didn't act like in free agency when they signed Thomas Greiss, who is not the guy they would have signed if you thought you were going to need a lot of games from the backup.
    There are a surprising number of quality UFAs still unsigned, Subban, Kessel, Stasny, because of the cap. Will the cap be going up next year? These guys may be without teams at season's start, until injuries pile up during the season that is.

    Has Tyler Bozak hung 'em up?
    The cap is envisioned to start gradually going up, but not by any huge number. But the sport is rebounding nicely after the pandemic. (Not that the pandemic is over, but from it's impact on attendance.) Stastny signed yesterday, a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with Carolina with bonuses if the team wins the Stanley Cup. 
    Bozak has not officially announced anything. He's the kind of guy that a team could sign if they get to camp and have someone get injured. 
    Are you surprised by the Blues relatively light activity this offseason? I think most fans realized free agency would be light, but its kind of surprising no trades have happened... yet
    The time to make trades was before free agency began, when the Blues needed to open up cap space to possibly make a run at some free agents. Now that everyone is signed, and the Blues are right up against the cap, there's not a lot of need to make a move, and any trade would have to be pretty much dollar for dollar. The market for Marco Scandella has not changed, though I can't see the Blues going into the season with the eight d-men who figure right now to be there. But the Blues are kind of hamstrung there. The guy it makes the most sense to trade, Scandella, is the hardest guy to trade. Trading Mikkola or Perunovich would make an old unit older. Faulk is coming off a great offensive season. Parayko is the best defensive player in a group that wasn't lauded for being great defensively last season. There were trades the Blues would have no doubt liked to make, but they just didn't happen. 
    Is it fair to say this team has too many dollars tied up in its blue line?
    I don't know if it's too many dollars as much as too many players. If the Blues don't make a move before the season, they are either looking at sending Perunovich back to the minors (because he doesn't have to go through waivers) or looking at scratching two D every night, one of whom might be making $3.25 million a year. I know the Blues had their D depth tested last season, but the juggling act that potentially awaits this season is going to get very tricky very quick, unless, of course, someone gets hurt and is out a long time. I can live with the deals for Krug, Faulk and Parayko (at least in dollars; years is another matter), but eight D is more than enough right now. In fact, it's too much.
    Tom, if no trade clauses are that important to players, then they should be willing to sacrifice dollars for security. If Torey Krug has two offers, one with a NTC and $2m less in salary and the other without the NTC but has the $2m built in, which does he take? It appears to work for other teams.
    It's a way to sweeten the deal and Armstrong clearly thinks he needs to do that to sweeten the deal to convince players to sign here. Per, the Blues have seven players with full no-trade clauses this season and two with modified no-trade clauses. Thomas has a no-trade clause that kick in in 25-26. (You can't have a no-trade clause until you're a season where you could be a UFA.) In the situation you outlined, I would think Krug would take the higher salary. Players have to decide what a no-trade clause is worth to them, and it's worth different amounts to different players. And maybe Armstrong just feels he can trade the guy anyway. Let's face it: once the GM says he's trying to trade you, it may be a good time to find the nicest landing spot.
    Tom finally you have showed up to face the hockey music! Good for you! I hate to beat a dead horse or a even a half dead horse---BUT I need to call Army out because no one does. Army could have signed Husso for 3 years 4.25 million AAV Husso offered a hometown discount. We didn't need to resign Leddy. LOOK at the goalie market!! Yzerman paid a third rounder to get in early on Husso. Vegas would be giving Army 3 players and a draft pick right now for Husso. Army knew the goalie market and still refused to do the smart move. He's also totally misjudging Hofer--goalies take years to develop that's why Husso and Binner are valuable. Chuckie sideburns beat out Hofer for the playoffs in Springfield. He could have moved Hofer a draft pick and Scandella and signed Leddy and Husso. Army screwed the pooch in Ben Bishop and he did it again here. His blind spot is goaltending!!
    I fail to see why Husso would want to sign a contract like that with the Blues, a team where he would clearly be the backup going forward in seasons where all things were equal. He has a chance to play way more in Detroit than he ever would in St. Louis if Binnington is healthy. Hockey players like to play, and goalies can do the math as well as anyone. 
    Yes, the Blues didn't need to re-sign Leddy. I think that money would have been better spent on two seasons of Perron, not three seasons of Husso. And I like Husso; I've been touting him for years. But there was no way he was going to re-sign with the Blues. It would have been dumb on his part to do that. 
    Happy Wednesday Tom and to Blues fans everywhere. Jim, if your're out there, happy hump day to you.

    Have you heard anything about Army giving O'Reilly a contract extension this season? How would a contract extension effect the team's salary cap? O'Reilly is an amazing athlete, the guy is the heart and soul of the team.
    I don't know what O'Reilly's next deal will look like. At his age, it will obviously be for less money, but I don't know how many years the Blues would want to commit for. With a four-year deal, he'd be 36 when it ended and the Blues may soon be in a situation where they have way too many 36 year olds under contract. O'Reilly is the heart and soul of the team, in ways that previous captains, however beloved, weren't. I mean, here's a guy who will stay out on the ice long after practice has ended working on skills with younger players. (I've seen Zamboni drivers have to tell him to get off the ice so they can go to work.) The impact he has on younger players on the team is huge, and the Blues get that for free. But with the cap going up only incrementally, and Kyrou looking at a big raise, money will be tight and O'Reilly is not going to be the No 1 center for much longer. That is about to become Robert Thomas' job. It will be an interesting situation.
    Tom, let's say the Blues are 30-25 and points away from a wild card spot at the trade deadline. Does Army trade Tarasenko or keep him for the stretch run and lose him for nothing?
    At that point, yes, they probably trade him, unless they see some underlying situation that makes them think they can get to the playoffs, like suddenly getting a whole bunch of guys back from injuries. The Blues were in a playoff spot when they traded Stastny, if I'm recalling correctly.
    Tom, I believe I read awhile back that Husso did not want to stay if he was going to be the backup. I do agree with Roy Hobbs though that Army, had he held on just a bit longer, could have gotten more for Husso with a sign and trade.
    Yeah, but you can't hold on to a guy because you're hoping a team with big ambitions is going to lose their No 1 goalie for the season. Vegas didn't even know what was coming with Lehner, or they'd have acted differently at the start of free agency. In retrospect, it would have been great, but you're operating with information that did not exist at a point when the Blues had to make a decision. And again, Husso always knew he would make more money by becoming a free agent than he would by signing with the Blues, in addition to playing more.
    I am not feeling to excited about the coming hockey season. First time in a long I have felt this way. The blues are going to have a hard time making the playoffs this year. I thought very highly of army .but he has had a very bad off season so far. Cannot believe he let Perron walk away. Horrible to let that happen. Can't believe the owner allowed it. Another bad off year maybe a new GM will be in order?
    Tom Stillman has a lot of faith in Doug Armstrong. A tremendous amount of faith. The man won the team a Stanley Cup. It will take an awful lot for Stillman to move on from Armstrong, and not re-signing Perron won't be it. Hockey can be a rough business and Armstrong plays as rough as any of them. If it were me, I'd have re-signed Perron instead of Leddy. Perron is a unicorn in some ways, the rare player getting better as he gets older, and a player who is among the best in the league on the power play yet also a very good defensive forward. Will this last forever? Every year, it's amazing to see what Perron does and how he keeps improving, or at least not getting worse. There are plenty of analytics to show you that this kind of thing doesn't go on forever. There's obviously no way of knowing when that time comes for Perron, but Armstrong clearly is thinking it will be sooner rather than later. 
    The one thing about this offseason is, it's hard to look at this offseason and say the Blues got better. And that Colorado is still going to be tough to catch. But I think the Blues are still going to be a playoff team. Don't know how much beyond that I'm willing to go. 
    Hi, again, Tom. Is there any chance of a Blues move before training camp or are the trade waters still and Army/Chief want to see what they have first? I like what they have, but what position would you say needs the most improvement. Thanx.
    I can't see a trade before training camp unless there is some precipitating move elsewhere in the league of the impact of Lehner missing the season that creates a sudden intense demand by some team for some particular player. It's been pretty quiet out there. 
    You could raise issues with all three parts of the team. At forward, how do they replace Perron on the power play? It's the same cast of characters, but with Jake Neighbours and maybe Zach Bolduc. There's a significant chunk of offense to replace, and Barbashev is coming off a career year that will be tough to match. On defense, they didn't add anyone on a unit that was well below the league average at 5 v. 5. (But very good on the PK.) And in goal, they are relying on Binnington returning to his old self, which could happen. And also could not. 
    Making the defense better is probably the biggest issue.   
    I have no problem with the Husso deal, but goalie is clearly Army's Achilles Heal. Trades Bishop. Signs Ryan Miller. Trades for Halek instead of Price. I sure hope the Binnington contract doesn't turn out to be a dud.
    Well, Montreal wanted to keep Price rather than Halak, so the Blues didn't have total say in that one. Chris Kerber has often said, and I hope I'm getting this right here, that Halak was the key piece in the Blues recent goalie history, because the Blues getting him led to the Bishop trade and set in motion everything that followed, such as the Miller trade.
    Goalies are just darn hard to predict. . 
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