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.

    At about this time tomorrow, the second group of the Blues first day of camp will be getting off the ice at Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights. So even though it's 90 degrees outside according to the little thing on my desk, it's hockey season. And even though we've been chatting most every week throughout the summer, welcome back all and let's dive in. Questions are waiting!
    Hi Tom,
    Hate to see anyone get hurt, but the Scandella injury comes at a good time. What are your thoughts on what the Blues might do? I think a sign or offer sheet for Hague in Vegas would be an outstanding move. We can then trade Krug to an eastern team. That would clear up some extra cap space for next year.

    As always thanks for the chat.
    What I think the Blues will do is not much. They were looking at going into camp with eight defensemen, which is one more than they needed, and this solves that problem. There's really no need to go out and get another defenseman. It would just gum up the works. It's a lot easier to juggle three defensemen into two spots than four. So now Perunovich can play and probably Mikkola and Bortuzzo can be the seventh guy and jump in occasionally. 
    I don't see much to be gained by acquiring Hague. The Blues already have seven NHL defensemen. 
    What do you think the defensive plan is on the right side? Bortuzzo is best used as a 7th defenseman. He' wears down and then is not so good. I'm guessing Perunovich starts right side third pair? With Mikkola in left side third pair? What about Rosen? He's very underrated. Really need to trade Krug or Parayko.
    I'm figuring Perunovich and Mikkola on the third pairing, with Bortuzzo back in his familiar seventh defensemen role. If Bortuzzo outplays either of them for a spot, that's great for Bortuzzo but bad for the Blues because Perunovich and Mikkola are the Blues' youngsters at that position and their future in a group that runs the risk of getting very old very fast with Faulk and Krug already over 30. (And Bortuzzo is 33.) Rosen is going to start the season now as the eighth defenseman, up fron ninth before the Scandella injury, and the Blues can feel fairly comfortable if they have to turn to him as he comes in off his best showing in his brief NHL cups of coffee. 
    If Perunovich pans out, Krug can be a trade option since the two have similar skill sets. Parayko's the best defensive defensemen they've got, so trading him is likely not going to make the group better defensively. 
    Did you notice how shallow the Blues prospect pool is? Columbus had like 6 guys way better then our best. I don't think Bolduc or Neighbors will make the team. They signed Acari to play 4th line center. Maybe the Blues should sign Sonny Milano?
    The prospects tournament in Traverse City highlighted the shortcomings in the Blues talent pool. It was hard not to notice. I think it will be a surprise if Neighbours doesn't make the team, because I think they'll want to give him the shot and because I don't know who is going to beat him out. If he loses out to Tyler Pitlick, that is not a good sign. I think numbers will work against Bolduc sticking with the team; though it's conceivable he gets a nine-game trial run. I think he needs to get bigger to compete in the NHL. 
    Gordo wrote about the situation this morning: 

    Gordo: Blues must fortify their supply chain to ensure enduring success

    STLtoday.comThe Blues have remained in the NHL’s upper tier during general manager Doug Armstrong’s highly successful tenure.
    Tom, I have enjoyed your reporting on the Blues and your time fielding questions on these chats. At some point is PD management going to move you to report on the soccer team full time? Will the PD hire/transfer someone into your hockey spot? (I have a business to run, sorry not interested.).
    We are in the juggling process right now. St. Louis City SC starts training camp in early January, so that's when a move is likely to happen, though we're going to see how much I can double team them in there since soccer plays just one game most weeks. Joe Lyons of our staff will be stepping into help out on the hockey front when I'm not available. City2's season could end any week now, and after that, things on the MLS front won't pick up until after the season ends in November.
    Tom -

    What is your outlook on Perunovich going into his second professional season? Do you see him as a breakout candidate (especially with Scandella out for a while, he's likely to get more ice time), or is his potential more limited based on what you saw out of him last season?
    It is really tough to have a great opinion of how Perunovich will do in the NHL because there is so little of it to go on. He has showed he has nothing more to get in the AHL, but what he can do in the NHL? Who knows? He's played 19 regular-season games and seven postseason games and has gotten extremely sheltered ice time with 81 percent of his starts in the offensive end. With that the case, his offensive numbers should probably be a little better. Armstrong said it a few weeks ago: Perunovich has got to show he can stay healthy. If he plays a full season, he could be a breakout player (the Blues aren't going to have a lot of breakout candidates anyway) and the potential is certainly there. He will get more ice time, which will be good for him, and I would think he would quarterback the second power-play unit. Perunovich has to make that next step and this is going to be his chance. If he doesn't do it this season, it's probably time for the Blues to move on. Though one caveat on Perunovich is that with so many injuries, he has played so little hockey the past few years. But he's at the point where he has to show it. I really have no idea if he can, and I don't know that the Blues do either. But there's certainly the potential there.
    Everyone complains about Mike Keenan. He's the only hockey coach to win a SC and a KHL championship--Gagarian Cup in hockey history. I was wondering has their ever been a Russian Head coach in the NHL? When I see how good Vladi, Buch, and Barbie play together I wonder if more Russians and a Russian coach would do in the NHL?
    There have been two European coaches in the NHL: Finland's Alpo Suhonen and Czech Republic's Ivan Hlinka. Suhonen lasted only a season in Chicago because of health issues, but the team wasn't very good under him anyway. Hlinka was fired after four games in his second season in Pittsburgh 20 years ago. It's inevitable that more will get a chance, but it's a slow process, and the fact there aren't many European GMs in the NHL isn't going to speed it up. It's one thing to have a few Russian players who aren't great at English. It's another thing to have a coach who isn't great at English trying to communicate to players in game. But enough North American coaches have failed in the NHL that there's no reason to expect European coaches to all be perfect. It's like when a team that is heavy on analytics struggles, and people say, Ha! See, analytics aren't the answer. But what about all the teams that don't rely on analytics that stink? Why do they get a pass?
    Tom - knowing our cupboards are bare in the minors, how can we let Tarasenko walk for free? He can fill at least one shelf of the cupboard.
    If the Blues are contending come the trade deadline, then yes, you can keep Tarasenko and eventually let him walk for free. If the Blues are a playoff team and have a chance to win the Stanley Cup, how is trading Tarasenko going to increase those chances? Seems a tough sell for the Blues to say we think we have a shot to win it all, and despite that, we're looking three years down the road so let's get a prospect or two. And with some of the contracts the Blues have, they could have some cap concerns in the years ahead. Windows are a fleeting thing. If this one is open for the Blues, they have to go all in.
    Now, if they're battling to be the No. 8 team in the West then by all means, get something in return. But if they're second only to Colorado in the Central, I think you have to keep him around. 
    Happy Wednesday Tom, thanks for the chat on the eve of the 2022-23 season.

    What took Scandella, his doctors, and the Blues medical staff so long to determine he needed surgery? If Marco required surgery why not go under the knife in May? Or did he injured himself during his summer workouts? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • The Blues said he acquired the injury recently in offseason training. So the time lag may not be that big since he got hurt. If surgery can be avoided, that's always the best way to go, and you can never fault a guy for opting to delay surgery in case rest may take care of things. Scandella was hurt on a couple occasions last season and it's not known yet if this injury is connected to any of those. On the day of Kyrou's signing, Armstrong said there was a good chance the Blues would start the season with eight defensemen, he apparently wasn't expecting anything.
    If you add Jimmy Snuggerud and perhaps Leo Loof to the Traverse City lineup for the Blues, I believe the games are more competitive. Add in a goalie who actually stops the puck and I think the team wins at least one additional game. Your thoughts?
    Well, a goalie always helps, and Colten Ellis certainly didn't shine in Traverse City. Having Snuggerud and Loof there would have helped the team, but the fact they weren't shows that they are still a ways away. I would think Loof is going to play at least one season in the AHL before he moves to the NHL. I don't think either are on the immediate brink of an NHL career.
    I won’t be watching or attending any games this year due to the jersey ad. Just because the league approved it doesn’t mean Tom “Cash Grab” Stillman needed to desecrate the Blues sweaters.
    That seems a rather drastic step, but that's your privilege. And this street is only going one way. Soon every NHL team will have ads on their helmets and on their jerseys and a day does not exist where they are coming off. If you think the Blues sweater is sacred, think how this is plays in Montreal.
    Hi Tom - I believe, at one point, Armstrong mentioned that one of his signings was a bit much ($) but the Blues would deal with the ramifications down the road. Is that road in sight? Seems our payroll has us right to the edge and may be staring down a period of mediocrity shortly. Thoughts?
    Krug and Faulk and Parayko and Schenn are still close enough to the tops of their game, that the ramifications haven't hit yet. So this season, and maybe next season, should work, but beyond that, let's face it, the odds of all four of them aging gracefully is low. Which ones it will be is impossible to say. But that's one reason for the Blues to do what they can right now. One thing that could minimize the impact would be for the salary cap to start going up, which would lessen the percentage each of the players takes of the cap. There are indications the cap could start making bigger jumps in 2023-24 and beyond. If that happens, maybe there is room. But as it stands, the last couple years of those contracts, say 25-26 and 26-27, there could be some issues.
    At the end of the day, who contributes more, Neighbours or Perunovich?
    At the end of which day? Their careers or this season? I'll go with Perunovich, at least in the short term because I think he's going to get more quality ice time on the power play and on offense to make an impact. Neighbours, for now at least, will be on the third line, I would think. Over the course of their careers, way too early to say.
    Ellis is trash. Sounds like the Blues want the Russian to grab that forth spot on depth chart behind Hofer. If that happens, who will partner with Ellis in the Coast?
  • Trash is totally over the top and wrong. The Blues want someone to grab the fourth spot, and all the fifth spot as well. It's not their call on who partners with Ellis in the ECHL because it's not their team.
    "These things have a way of working themselves out..." , "You can never have too many defensemen..." Paraphrased axioms.

    With the LTIR cap space gained, would you expect Armstrong to preserve it for a rainy day, which hopefully never comes, and/or for trade deadline flexibility? Gaining that much cap space is a big deal for a team that spends to the cap. Army now has some ability to get flexible.
    Those are a couple of Larry Pleau axioms you cited. Larry knew what he was talking about.
    It's going to be hard for the Blues to spend that money now with the way the roster is and until we see how camp looks, there's no reason to rush out and add someone. I guess if someone tremendous somehow showed up on the waiver wire they could be a factor. Mostly, the Blues will have flexibility now in case of injuries going forward. They were going to be pretty snug against the cap.  
    Tom -

    Kyrou is now a franchise cornerstone! Exciting times for the young man and for the Blues. With great paychecks comes great responsibility. What should be the expectations for Kyrou this year based on market value for players with his style of game?
    Compared to last season, the Blues need him to hold up better in the second half of the season and be better on the defensive end, where he's not good. He's elite when it comes to making goals happen, both scoring and creating. He's also good at allowing things to happen at the other end 
    I don't know yet if last year was a fluke or it's the way the NHL is headed. If it is where it's headed, him being a 40-goal scorer is in the range of possibilities. If it reverts to normal, he can be a consistent 30-goal scorer. Basically at that price, the Blues will be looking for a point-per-game player. With better defense. He said he's gotten stronger. 
    Sonny Milano is farther along then Neighbors. I read Bolduc can go back to Juniors which is pointless. Can Bolduc be sent to Springfield? And I always wondered is that the same Springfield where Homer Simpson and his family lives by chance?
    Bolduc is too young for Springfield, so it will be back to juniors for him unless he has a knockout camp and first three weeks of the season. I would hope Sonny MIlano is further along than Neighbours. He's 26 and has played almost 200 NHL games. Milano is an intriguing player but he's in camp with Calgary on a PTO.
    A few players from around the league making about the same or less than Kyrou and Thomas:

    Thomas Hertl
    Brady Tkachuk
    Jack Hughs
    Ryan Johanson
    JT Miller
    Matt Duchene
    Nick Suzuki
    Kevin Fiala
    Evgeny Kuznetsov

    Are there any players on this list you'd rather have on this Blues team than either of Kyrou and Thomas?
    Jack Hughes would be interesting. J.T. MIller is certainly good. Some of these guys are a lot older or younger, so it's hard to compare. Duchene would be great to have right now, but in eight years, I'd rather have Kyrou. Probably in three or four years it might be no contest for Kyrou.
    I saw this week's Net Front Presence and one of the topics that was covered was the current state of the Blues farm system and that it is currently depleted and is rated toward the bottom in the NHL. Jeff Gordon recently wrote a very good article on it. To follow up on stltoday's coverage, if the Blues are in a similar situation they were in when Stastny was in his final year here at the deadline where the team was good enough to make the playoffs, but didn't have the mix to make a deep run, do you think Army will explore trading players with expiring contracts to recoup picks to restock the player pipeline? Seems now is as important as ever to have as much cheap productive talent on your roster constantly churning to keep a contending team on the ice. With Thomas and Kyrou about to hit their primes, it would seem that it would be imperative to set the team up for success over the long haul. I wouldn't deal O'Reily. Tarasenko seems like a player that many contenders might want come February. Do you think he'd be open to a trade during the season or do you think he's committed to being here the whole season no matter what? Barbeshev could have a little value as well. Thank you for your time. Look forward to your comments.
    I've addressed this in other answers, but if the Blues aren't in the playoff picture come the trade deadline, anyone will be available who's a potential UFA. That's the way it works, and it's no different for the Blues. No reason to hang on to Tarasenko at that point, and I don't know what his motivation would be for wanting to stay if the Blues could work out a deal to a contender. 
    But if the Blues are a contender and look like a team that has a shot at the Cup, and not like in Stastny's season where it looked like they would get in but not go anywhere, then no one is going anywhere, unless it's to pick a rental who's an improvement. But the Blues' best chance to win is now, not later. 
    Tom, over and above Scandella needing surgery, could this be a way for Army to put him on LTIR and thereby be under the cap come the first day of the season? I just don't understand why he and the Blues would have waited to have the surgery this close to the start of camp. Your thoughts please oh wise one.
    He's certainly headed for LTIR, though technically, he'll probably make the Blues' opening day roster and then be put on LTIR afterward so the team can maximize their cap space. The goal is to be as close to the cap before you put a player on LTIR, because where you are then is what becomes your new cap. They don't necessarily get all of his $3.25 million in cap space. 
    And the Blues are saying it's a recent injury, which is why he's having the surgery now. 
    Not posting my prediction?? I guess you are also afraid of John Tortorella.
    It just dropped to the bottom of the list. That's the rule. Complain your question not being answered, it goes to the bottom.
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