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, and welcome to the "Tage Thompson got what?" edition of our Blues chat. I've put my galoshes on, so let's dive right in.
    I wrote in mainly to thank you for your chats. They're always a must-read.

    If Vladdy wants out and has wanted out for some time, why do the Blues expect him to give as much as his teammates come playoff time? Isn't one of the biggest differences between the players that produce consistently during the playoffs and those who don't, effort? I just wonder if he's going to be a good example. His numbers in the playoffs were pretty ho him outside of a game or two. Just wanted to get your thoughts on whether it's in the Blues best interests long term and short term to have him on the team.
    Because just because you want out doesn't mean you're not professional. His issues are with the organization, not his teammates, and that teammate bond runs deep. Also, the best way to not want another team to acquire you is to play poorly or give your best. Teams can tell when guys are phoning it in. Teams were reluctant to go after Tarasenko last offseason because of uncertainty about his shoulder. So he had to play well to prove that. Now, he's got to play well for his next contract. And because he wants to win. 
    He has continued to be a good example -- from what we can tell -- to young players. He was quick to reach out to Buchnevich when he was acquired. Tarasenko proved last season he would not be a distraction, which both raised his value and gave Armstrong less reason to move him. But if he had had a bad season and not gone all out on the ice, he would have lowered his value and given other teams less reason to acquire him. 
    Can you explain the salary cap rules… like Vegas is $10M+ over the cap and still have 2 players to sign to get to the 23 man roster. How do they accomplish that and get under the cap? And thanks for running this chat, I look forward to it each week bc it’s awesome.
    Teams are allowed to be 10 percent over the cap in the offseason, so that would be $8.2 million this season, and the rules for calculating some players' cap hits vary if they've spent a lot of time in the AHL, and it's complicated and messy enough that I don't think a site like Capfriendly bothers with it because it would skew the big picture. (But the NHL league office is keeping track.). But Vegas also has $12 million worth of contracts in that number who will be on LTIR, so that's how they will make it to the cap on opening day. 
    Two things about Vegas' short NHL existence: They've been successful quickly, and their cap situation is always a mess. 
    You have one of the oldest teams in the league with a significant number of players and positions locked into long term contracts limiting flexibility. The Blues also have questions about goaltending. If this was another team the profile would suggest even given prior good seasons the coach is on dangerous ground.
    Other than Jon Cooper, every coach in the NHL is on dangerous ground. Armstrong is fully aware of the situation his team is in, so that will give Berube a buffer (not to mention his fairly new contract and the fact he won the team the Stanley Cup) but if the team is viewed as underperforming, every coach in the NHL can be fired. Still, I would think Berube is in the reasonably safe mode to start the season.
    What does the schedule look like leading up to the start of the season in terms of prospect camps and tourneys, training camp, etc?
    The prospects tournament in Traverse City goes from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19, with the Blues among five teams taking part. (Detroit, Dallas, Columbus and Toronto are the others.) So the Blues will have a few days of practice locally for the kids before heading up there, I haven't seen an official St. Louis training camp schedule from the Blues, but I'd envision a Sept. 19 report day, Sept. 20 for off-ice testing and on the ice for camp on Sept. 21, with the first game on Sept. 24. It's possible those dates, except for the first game of course, shift forward a day, but that's what I'd expect.
    With the loss of David Perron’s goals, who are the players do you think that need to step forward and produce more? Especially on the power play?
    With all the 20-goal scorers on last season's team, there were not a lot of players you could say underperformed offensively. O'Reilly had a bad first half of the season, but did well at the end of the season, so a full season from him will be needed, and Thomas, of course, with his new contract situation, will be counted on for even more. As will Kyrou, who dropped off in the second half of the season and needs to just do more all around. That was his first full season playing in the NHL, so he now has lived it and will know better how to handle the season. Neighbours is going to get a chance and will need to pick up some of the slack from Perron's absence, though I'd be surprised if he got 20 goals this season. 
    Brandon Saad will get more time on the power play, which is good since he did very well on it last season and deserved more time. He will need to run with it. 
    Mikko lost his job multiple times last year to Walman, Peronovich, the Swedish defenseman from the AHL and Leddy, at his age does he still project to a top 4 D?
    Mikkola had a bad camp, so he lost to Walman early, and couldn't match the offense they got from Perunovich. He lost to Leddy on experience and skating and to Rosen, the Swedish defenseman from the AHL, on consistency. But he's still just 26 and has played just 89 NHL games, so he's still learning the game and still has a room to improve as he gets more familiar with everything. I think he can still be a top four D, though with Parayko, Krug and Faulk, there's only one real spot for him on this team, and Leddy may have the inside track on it. I have no idea how the Blues are going to handle the eight defensemen it looks like they will have to start the season. Parayko, Krug, Faulk and Leddy are the locks, and then you've got two of Mikkola, Bortuzzo, Scandella and Perunovich playing and two getting scratched. If Mikkola isn't one of the two playing, the Blues might as well trade him, though with the age of that unit, trading one of your few youngsters seems like a bad idea. Depth is great, especially at defensemen, but until players start getting hurt, it's going to be messy back there.
    If you had to bet on Brown, Kostin, or Neighbors for third line wing who steps up?
    To start the season, I think that will be Neighbours. It will be his spot to lose, and he didn't look too bad in that situation in his brief time here last season. Kostin will start the season on the fourth line in Toropchenko's spot and unless Acciari is a disappointment in camp, Brown will be the guy getting scratched, unless Berube begins to see Brown as a fourth-line player. Right now, he doesn't, which leaves not much space for Brown to make it in the first 12.
    Sorry, missed the Traverse dates when I asked. However, anyone on the Blues prospect team that has a chance at the NHL this year? Next year?
    If Neighbours and Bolduc go, they would be the only ones who have a chance at the start of the season. If a defenseman from the Prospects tournament plays for the Blues this season, that's a bad sign because it means they're down to the 10th or 11th player on the depth chart. Without having seen the roster, it's hard to say, but Dickinson, Alexandrov and Laferriere are the next wave at forward, though this season is probably a bit early for Dickinson. Defenseman Matthew Kessel had a good debut season in the AHL after jumping in after his college career, but he's got a lot of players in front of him to make it to the NHL this year.
    For all the handwriting over the Blues off-season they are near the same team they finished the regular season except without Perron and Husso. The have Leddy back, Krug is healthy again, Binnington who won the job back is now the starter again. That team was one of the best in the league and better than the playoff blues team. Are the blues still one of the top teams as the were last year?
    The Blues team going into this season is, to me, not as good as last season's team, mostly because of the absence of Perron. I think they could have worked around not having Leddy, but working around not having Perron will be tougher. Still, you can make the case that the Blues were the second best team in the West last season and I think they're still in the top four and had they gotten past Colorado in the second round, could have been in the Stanley Cup Final. The Blues are still not as good as Colorado, and not by just a hair. It is a gap not easily spanned. But that goes for most of the rest of the league. I'd still say the Blues have to get some respect as a playoff team with a chance if things break right to contend for the title. But they will need a lot of things to go the right way, starting with their goaltending and working its way forward.
    I can't wait to see how the Defense does this season. Faulk/Krug combined for a ridiculous 90 points and +64. Parayko and Leddy both can skate will anybody and hopefully will develop chemistry over the course of the season. Even the oft maligned Scandella chipped in 14 points and was a +17 on the season while having to play outside the 3rd pairing most of the time. He is also a valuable penalty killer. Going to be fun to watch!
    How the defense does will have a big say in how the Blues do this season. Last season wasn't very good at 5 on 5. (The PK was very good.) The team defense isn't all on the defensemen, and the loss of Perron will hurt the team defensively. Parayko is the team's best defensive defenseman and needs to be even better because he's not going to get a lot of help back there and the Blues will need him to shut down other team's top lines. As an offensive unit, the Blues defense is well stocked with Faulk and Krug and Perunovich. Defensively is another matter.
    Colorado is not spending much on goaltending. They go against the trends. They let Kemper walk and traded for the Rangers back up. Two goalie system is now common. Maybe they're onto something? Vegas is doing the same thing. Not spending a bunch on one goalie--Well with Lerners injury they had no choice. Do you no longer need a great goaltender to win or just good enough like Kemper was?
    Colorado was the rare team that won the Stanley Cup without exemplary goaltending in the postseason. (Still, it wasn't that bad; they allowed an average of 2.75 per game, the third lowest in the postseason.)  Teams with really good goalies still go with one: Nashville, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Tampa Bay all had goalies play more than 60 games. Had Binnington been on his game all season, he may have been in that category too. If there's not a big difference between your two goalies, then you might as well spread the workload around.) If I was building a team to win the Stanley Cup, I would want to have a really good goalie, not one just good enough. However, I would have no idea how to be sure I had that goalie. Absent that, I'd have a team that can score a lot of goals, which Colorado had.
    RoR’s contract is up and I noticed he is essentially the same age as Scheen who has a 6.5 M contract through the next 6 years. Don’t the blues have to offer RoR at least the same deal, he’s a more valuable player.
    O'Reilly is about 7 months older than Schenn, so they are comparable that way. Schenn signed his contract in a different world, namely, five months before COVID hit and Armstrong had every reason to expect the salary cap to continue to rise at a reasonable pace. It didn't. So with that case, it may be difficult for the Blues to offer a similar contract for O'Reilly with the tighter cap constraints they now face. The Blues already have $59 million committed for next season, in just 12 players. It will be very difficult to offer O'Reilly a deal comparable to Schenn's, especially with a big payday for Kyrou looming as well. The Blues are facing a tough cap situation going forward and unless they can shed one of their other big contracts, O'Reilly may not fit.
    My two cents on Roy Hobbs' question about the Ave's goaltending. When you can score like the Aves can you only need decent netminding and their offensive firepower will overcome the other team. Its the model used by the Oilers of the 80's, Grant Fuhr was good enough to win games, the Oilers would win games 7-5, 5-3. All other teams can't outscore their opponents, Blues included.
    It's a lot easier to win games when you have to score only three or four goals, rather than five or six or seven. Colorado will test that this season in goal.
    Is there a single PD sports department member who will vote for Eric Schmitt this fall??
    Not a question I envisioned getting today.
    I have no idea.
    Hi Tom,
    Thanks for doing this.
    With Montgomery and Perron gone, my big concern is the power play. Kyrou has to fill the PP scoring void left by Perron’s absence. Saad just isn’t that kind of scoring threat. Vladi can be, but we need Kyrou and Thomas to also exploit the extra space available with the man advantage. Am I right to be worried?
    I'd label the power play an area of concern. Perron brought a specific threat to the power play in his ability to take the one-timer. There is not an obvious successor to him on this roster, at least that we've seen. Schenn was one of the best finishers on the team last season, though his numbers jumped so much in finishing that they may be tough to replicate. Tarasenko finished at a rate similar to what he did in his prime, which is a good sign. Thomas will need to playmake to get the guys on his unit good chances. So far in his career, Thomas has been much better 5 on 5 than on the power play. That will be another area where the team will have to get better.
    Tom, have you heard or read anything about Klim Kostin and his plans to return to North America? Do you anticipate Russian NHL'ers having difficulty leaving the mother land to rejoin their teams?
    The league said the other day they felt that every Russian player would be able to get back to North America for the season.
    Happy hockey hump day from the land of Mickey. Thank you for our weekly chat.

    Is Tage Thompson the poster child for "you can't coach size"? When the young squire was with the Blues Jim Thomas wrote he was the skinniest hockey player he had seen since he had been on the hockey beat. Didn't Tage go to Buffalo as part of the deal that brought O'Really to the Lou? Good Buffalo got something out of that deal, it took a while. Can't say that about Philly and Jori Lehtera, they are still waiting for draft picks to pay off.
    I was expecting more Tage Thompson questions.
    As I said on Twitter last night, I did not see that coming, a 7-year, $50 million contact after one good season. Buffalo made Thompson a project last season, got the results, and are now rewarding him for it. I would have thought the Thompson camp would have been thrilled with a 7-year, $35 million contract, so they have to be ecstatic about this one. There is every chance Buffalo overpaid him. Thompson, after all, had one good season after a bunch of not-good seasons. They are apparently convinced that's not the case, and maybe they're also rewarding coach Don Granato for what he did in getting Thompson to where he had the season he had. Thompson's still not much on defense, and it runs the risk of cancelling out his offense. But one thing that's been said for years in the NHL is that tall players take longer to develop. That certainly seems to be the case with Thompson and now the Blues will hope it's the case with Logan Brown. 
    If you look at the last 4 SC champions. They are teams with veterans and youthful talent blending together to excel. So isn't that the winning formula? You need old guys and young guys. Not one or the other right?
    The only way to win in the NHL is with youthful talent, because there's way to put a team together under the salary cap otherwise. The Blues are going to have four forward making the league minimum or close to it, plus one or two defensemen and the backup goalie. The Blues need those four low-cost forwards to make a mark. They don't have to be great, but like Robert Thomas in the Cup season, they have to make a valid contribution. That will be the structure of every Stanley Cup champion going forward. It's almost impossible nowadays to build a team solely of veterans. The economics just don't work.
    Tom, can use your way back machine to see how proficient Jordan Kyrou is with the one-timer? If he is good at this shot I can see him taking the place of Perron on the power play. Yes, Kyrou shoots right but so does Stamkos with the Lightning and if memory serves he has scored a few goals from the left circle. I hope Chief doesn't limit those he tries at Perron's spot to left shooters.
    Alas, the wayback machine is not operating today and I don't have stats on Kyrou and one-times. He's obviously a rush kind of player and he gets the bulk of his shots from either the high slot or the low slot (though not the mid slot) and from the left circle. If someone knows of a spot that tracks one-timers, let me know. Kyrou was credited with 20 slapshots last season, and those are more likely to be one-timers. That was fourth on the team among forwards, behind Perron, Buchnevich and Tarasenko.
    As we hit the two-hour market, a late welcome to those who weren't here at the start and an invitation to ask questions.
    Tim: It appears the B-note are going to need more offensive in order to really compete. Who needs to step-up or what players/players could the Note acquire to help offensively?
    Thanks
    I think the first step would be needing less goals in the first place because I don't know how much more offense there is in this team. Having O'Reilly at the top of his game all season would be a first step, and Schenn missing fewer games would help too. Thomas has to play like the contract he just got, and Kyrou has to up parts of his game, like winning puck battles. We'll be looking to see how much stronger he is when he reports into camp. O'Reilly and Schenn are at an age where seeing big improvements seems unlikely; most players don't have upward arcs in their 30s, but if they can keep going at recent levels, or getting back to earlier levels, that will help. Thomas and Kyrou are both young enough that they can show upward curves to their production. Neighbours is starting with a mostly blank slate, but he'll get playing time and a chance and the Blues would be thrilled if he ran with it. Bolduc is still a year away, I would think.
    Hard to say who could help the team offensively in an acquisition. None of the free agents still on the market would make an impact and after that, you have to see which teams are starting to unload players.
    And thanks to PDX Blues for a long question that I'm not going to post, but wanted to acknowledge.
    There's a lull in the questioning for the moment, so if you've got some, here's your chance.
    And if you've got any St. Louis City soccer questions, I'm open to those too.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement