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 once again, as we go deeper into the offseason, though not the point yet where all the fun starts, with drafts and free agency and trades and all that stuff. In the meantime, if there are still some questions nagging at you, here's your chance. We've got a Stanley Cup underway, the league gave out the last of its awards last night, and I'm sure there's other stuff. Let's go.
    Tom, what's your 2 cents regarding the trade rumors surrounding 91?
    Well, it's not exactly surprising. With Armstrong predicting a busy offseason throughout the league and the need to send a jolt to his team, the possibility of a trade of Tarasenko had to be on table. It's been talked about in this chat pretty much every week. For those who didn't see it, Frank Seravalli, formerly of TSN in Canada, now on his own, reported yesterday that Tarasenko is on the market and has agreed to waive his no-trade clause for certain teams. I know not the teams, and have nothing to add beyond what Frank reported. 
    The challenge in this whole thing is going to be what kind of return can the Blues get for Tarasenko. And I don't know what that will be. While there may be teams willing to acquire him, the question will be what are they willing to give up. People talk about Matthew Tkachuk, but trading a young forward for an older forward who has had three shoulder surgeries and has a $7.5 million cap hit seems like a bad move for Calgary. Tarasenko still has the potential to be a 20-plus-goal scorer. His days as a 30-plus goal scorer may well be gone. But it's a crapshoot, and a team acquiring him will be taking a risk. That's why he may be worth more to the Blues than he is to another team. A straight up trade for an equivalent goalscorer seems unlikely. If you start throwing in other players, who knows what's possible.  
    Would the Blues trade him for a minimal return to open up cap space so they could sign a free agent with that money? They might, but with the flat cap, there won't be a lot of teams able to take on a contract like that, and those that can are probably not very good, and unless Tarasenko has a desire to play in Detroit, those teams may not be on his list. 
    Going back to early last season, there was talk of the Blues trading Vince Dunn. It never happened. What the Blues were going to get back for Dunn was never worth it to make the trade. That may well be the same thing here. I don't know that the Blues get the return they want to see on a Tarasenko trade. If they do, they should jump on it, because it would not only be a chance to improve the team, but it would be a chance to add some certainty to the situation. Tarasenko will be a question mark going into the season.
    Any news on Justin Faulk's health following the hit by Kadri?
    Either Berube or Armstrong, I forget which, said after the end of the season that they didn't expect any long-term issues with Faulk. Beyond that, haven't heard anything lately. I saw him during the Colorado series and he looked fine, though with concussions, you can never tell.
    As always, thanks for the chats. The willingness of Tampa Bay to get down low ( as compared to Vegas) reflected in the first game against the Montreal defense The Blues absolutely need the bodies to get in front and take the punishment (and if bigger guys (like Maroon or whomever) is needed, then that must be one of the needs for this offseason. Schwartz, Schenn may help if they are willing/able to pay the price but it has to be more prevalent - thoughs? Anything on signing Schwartz, others?
    Even if the Blues go out and get someone willing to play in front of the net, they need other guys on the team to do it too. It's not like Maroon is out there every shift. Heck, Maroon is averaging just over nine minutes per game in the postseason, so he's out there one every six shifts. Other guys have to do it in between. Schwartz and Schenn, and O'Reilly and Tarasenko, and Sanford and Blais, are guys that can do it and will have to. All of those guys have, at times, done it, and they'll just have to do more of it. The Blues were well below the league average in shots in the area in front of the net last season and if you look at the last five seasons, the only season where the Blues were above average in shots in front of the net was 2019. But this was their worst season on shots in front of the net in almost a decade. It was a black hole there. So that's something that needs to be worked on.
    As an aside, Tampa Bay this season was only slightly above average on shots in front of the net. 
    Could the Blues get a (later) first round pick from a team that has multiples for Vince Dunn ?
    They would like that, and that's what they were thought to be seeking during the season, but nothing like that appeared to have been offered because Vince Dunn remains on the roster. The nearness of the expansion draft, and the reality of the season, may make things change.
    Detroit, Columbus, New Jersey and Minnesota have multiple first-round picks, by the way. Columbus has three. 
  • Happy Wednesday Tom. Thanks for taking the time for today's chat.

    What a beat down Monday night Tampa Bay gave to the Habs. Do you see our young guns, namely Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou, blossom into players approaching the talent of a Brayden Point? Colt 55 into Victor Hedman?

    As your hockey correspondent in Central Florida I can tell you everyone here is going nuts about the possibility of a second Stanley Cup. My son and I will go to the parade if they win and say hi to Pat Maroon! Tampa Bay is the new "Title Town USA".
    Though no one has asked me, my pick on the series was Tampa Bay in four, and I'm one fourth of the way there. Of course, my earlier picks were Colorado and then Vegas, so what do I know? '
    Point and Hedman are, as you may have noticed, really good. Among the best in the league good. Parayko early showed he could be that kind of guy, maybe not quite as much now. Kyrou has to grow on both sides of the puck. He has shown he can be very good. Can he be really, really good? I'm not totally sold on that yet. Same goes with Thomas. Lots of potential there, but he's still building his game. An extended string of health would benefit Thomas. Injuries have really slowed him down. 
    I know there's differing philosophies in the game when it comes to shots. Is it better to have quality or quantity. You look at a team like the Islanders, who I feel are very comparable to the Blues and they shoot from everywhere. I feel the teams that have the quantity of shots mentality seem to get more guys to the net because they know the puck will end up there eventually. Where I feel the Blues last season tried to find the perfect shot and tried to get guys in the "soft" areas of the ice and in turn had no net front presence. thoughts?
    To me, it's a little bit of both on the quality vs. quantity question. Quality shots are best. They're the most dangerous. But a lot of times to get those shots, you have to take a lot of them. Let's face it: If you finish a game with just 17 shots on goal, chances are your quality isn't going to be very good either. The Blues last season passed up a lot of shots, and they were one of the worst teams in the league on tipping shots, at least in terms of quantity. They needed to shoot more to just get the puck in the mixer in front of the net so things could happen. 
    How many times did you see a rebound of a Blues shot last season drift somewhere near the net and go untouched by the Blues and think, hey, would have been good for them if someone was there to get that rebound? Seemed to me it happened a lot. It's why getting to the net is essential for these guys. The puck will be there  In general, for the Blues, I'd advocate shooting more. 
    Who are the Blues most likely to lose in the entry draft? I can see Mikkola or Walman getting grabbed.
    The brothers over at Evolving Hockey were discussing this last night, and were stunned -- I think it's fair to say that -- that people seem to think the Blues will be exposing Dunn. They are very high on Dunn. They think that a) the Blues would be stupid to expose Dunn and b) Seattle would be stupid to pass on him. (They think Faulk should be exposed and feel Dunn projects to be the better defenseman going forward.) So if Dunn is exposed, it's hard to see Seattle taking someone else, unless there's a very specific need they see someone else addressing. If the Blues were to protect Dunn -- and they can protect only three defensemen under the framework that allows them to protect the most players -- and leave Faulk exposed, I would think he would go, unless Seattle had qualms about his contract.
    Will the Blues make a run at Landeskog? I hope they’re not trying to sogn Schwartz who has not produced up to the salary levels he was receiving the last couple of years.
  • If Landeskog hits the market, the Blues would have to consider him. Projected over a full season, he would have had 29 goals last season, though it's unlikely he would get that many with the Blues because of their style of play. He won't come cheap (he made $5.5 million last season), but if the Blues were to open up space by moving Tarasenko or not re-signing Schwartz (or something else, like losing Faulk in the expansion draft), they could fit him in. O'Reilly likes him, and the Blues need to rebuild the number of Swedes on the roster. They're down to Sundqvist now.
  • What's a realistic value for Parayko? When healthy he is a great shutdown D, and his offense seems to come in spurts much to everyone's chagrin.
    I've noted this in the past that Parayko had one of his best offensive seasons as a rookie and that may have boosted his offensive reputation higher than it would have been otherwise. He's had two 10 goal seaons since then, but also a four and a six, and this season two goals in 32 games. (Which projects to five or six in a full season.) He'll make $5.5 million this season, and a raise will be in his future, so he may end up where Pietrangelo was when he was here, at $6.5 million. Much will be determined by this season, if Parayko plays to the high level he has in the past, there will be more dollars there. Another factor may be when he signs. Do the Blues try to lock him up as soon as they can? He may be a bit cheaper the earlier they sign him.
    Tom, it almost makes more sense for Armstrong to expose Faulk and protect Dunn. Dunn has a higher trade value if you decide to go in that direction and if you decide to keep him, he's younger. Ideally you'd like to expose 91 and get his money off the books.
    In general, I would advocate keeping younger, but established players, especially if they have cost-contained years to on their contacts. Dunn is a proven commodity and is five years younger than Faulk and his offensive slump this season looks to be more a factor of shooting luck, which you could expect to turn around. If Armstrong is looking to open cap space, the easiest way is to expose Faulk and Tarasenko and hope Seattle takes one of them. That also would allow the Blues to protect other, younger players. Dunn does have a higher trade value, especially since he's an RFA, but the Blues didn't get an offer to their liking on him last season. Still he's easier to trade than Faulk is, I would think. 
    After last season, it seemed like the Blues would keep Dunn and expose Faulk, but the way this season played out, with Dunn being healthy scratched, opinion within those of us on the outside shifted. Hard to say what the Blues think inside. We'll find out in a few weeks. 
    Who do you believe the Blues protect for expansion draft? And who do you think Seattle takes?
    I'm going to stick with this for now: O'Reilly, Tarasenko, Schenn, Perron, Schwartz/Sundqvist, Kyrou, Thomas, Faulk, Krug, Parayko, Binnington. 
    The Blues could gamble and leave Tarasenko exposed, betting that Seattle won't take him, and if they do, that's $7.5 million of space you gain under the cap. They could do the same with Faulk, allowing them to protect Dunn. I think they'd rather lose Tarasenko than Faulk. 
    If that list above is accurate, Dunn would seem to be the heavy favorite to get picked, unless Seattle saw someone for a specific need. But I would think Dunn would be someone Seattle would see as a quality asset. 
    Dunn was healthy scratched only once FYI....
    This is true. I don't think I said otherwise, but it's worth being clear on that
    If Husso were to be grabbed by Seattle, what is the Blues goalie depth? I'm assuming if that were to happen they would be looking at cheap FA backups.
  • The Blues like their goalie depth, though the guys waiting in the minors, Fitzpatrick, Hofer and Ellis are all probably at least a year away, possibly more. They like Hofer the most, but he's coming off a season where he played only 10 games, so they would have to go out and sign a backup. Fitzpatrick has been around the longest, but he seems to have been passed by. He played only three games last season.
    I know COVID completely derailed the blues, but man just one pandemic and the core of of cup team is half gone. They've already lost petro, steen, edmundson, gunnarson, maroon. Now they are ready to lose tarasenko and the schwartz? I've always trusted in armstrong, but jeez. He was quick to turn the page on a cup winner.
    In a lot of cases, GMs fall in love with guys who won them a title, don't make moves and pay for it. You can't say Armstrong has done that. Some of the moves, like Steen, Gunnarsson and Bouwmeester, were out of his control. (Though really, it's unlikely that even without injuries any of them would have been playing next season.) He'd have liked to have kept Pietrangelo but wouldn't budge on the no-movement clause and let him go. Injuries have lessened the untouchable status that Tarasenko and Schwartz once had. The Pietrangelo loss hurt the most, in the short term. He's a talent that you just can't replace. Vegas, though, may well have trouble with that deal starting in years 4 or 5. The 2020 bubble season is going to probably be the best chance that team had to win another Cup.
    There's an argument for exposing Schenn due to the length of his contract
    If Schenn was exposed, Seattle would take him. The Blues view him as a foundational player, on and off the ice. That risk would be too high. Though his past two seasons have been nowhere near as good as the Stanley Cup season.
    Doug Armstrong never seems to shy away from making big moves, but does it make sense for him to go in a more incremental direction this off-season? Even after being swept in the first round, I still feel this is a pretty well constructed roster that needs to be touched up rather than remade. I’d feel more comfortable adding guys like Blake Coleman and David Savard over going all in for Eichel or Tkachuck.
    So watching this playoffs, I'm thinking Blake Coleman might be a nice fit with this team. Not too expensive, physical fore-checker who can finish, can play all three forward spots. If Tampa Bay wins, they can't really afford to bring everyone back. Do you think the blues would have interest in Coleman?
    Two questions that touch on Blake Coleman. For those who don't have his stats handy, he had 14 goals and 17 assists in 55 games, for Tampa Bay. He's making $1.8 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent when the season ends. He's also a very good defensive player and will turn 30 early next season. Yes, he would be a good fit for the Blues. He'll get a raise, but he should still be affordable. 
    If the Blues were to go after Eichel or Tkachuk, they'd be getting close to the point though where they have a few guys taking up too much of their cap space. That can be dicey. 
    Obviously this is a speculative question, but how many “big” moves (the expansion draft, Tarasenko going somewhere, a major signing, or letting Schwartz go, etc…) can you see actually happening?
    One move, losing someone in the expansion draft, is a given. As Armstrong has said, the Blues are going to lose someone they wished they could keep. If it's not Dunn they lose, then they have exposed someone like Tarasenko or Faulk, and losing any of those three constitutes a significant change in the team. Beyond that, any other move comes with a corresponding move. If they don't re-sign Schwartz, they will spend that money on someone else. If they trade Tarasenko, they will get someone in return and/or spend that money on someone else. So I think you're looking at three significant moves this offseason. That's probably where it ends, unless they find another attractive option or something unforeseen happens.
    If the Blues opt to protect Dunn and Faulk is exposed and taken by SEA, how do they go about filling that hole? Any FA dmen worth pursuing? Or potential trade targets? I can't imagine Army would roll with a top 4 of Parayko, Krug, Dunn, and Scandella.
    One of the factors in making Dunn available is that other than times where someone has been hurt, Dunn has seldom been used as a top four defenseman. He gets some of that time when they're chasing games and need goals and give him more shifts, but otherwise, he's been a third pairing guy who doesn't get much ice time if they're protecting a lead.
    The Blues saw enough of Walman and Mikkola this season to think they can rely on both of them next season, so they wouldn't necessarily have to go in search of someone, but they would have to have to try Mikkola and Walman on their off side since both are lefties. Not sure how good either is on playing on their offside, but that might be what they have to do. Or Dunn would have to be in the top four. 
    And, per the numbers, Dunn isn't that bad defensively and has improved over his first two seasons. 
    Now that Tank is open to moving. What would it take to get Tkachuk from Calgary (assuming it's on his list of teams). If they were able to get a deal done, the blues would have to expose Faulk, as they would need his salary to resign him next year.
    See, that's one of the complications. You're not trading Tarasenko straight up for Tkachuk. You're throwing in another player, a younger one, off your NHL roster because Tkachuk is a young guy, and maybe a prospect or a draft pick. Now, all of a sudden, it's becoming a big deal. And then you're losing Faulk as well for nothing if you leave him exposed in the draft.
    Exposing Faulk over Krug makes no sense to me. They have similar contracts and Faulk put up a much better season last year than Krug.
    Krug projects out better than Faulk and just as Faulk improved in his second season with the Blues, they expect Krug to do that too. And I think this is a case where Krug benefits from being the more recent arrival.
    We're getting close to closing time, so if you've got more questions, now is the time.
  • I’m really glad you’ve revived the Where Are They Now stories this off season… how do you guys decide who to interview? Have you had any guys you couldn’t find or who’ve declined?
    I can't speak for Jim, since we operate separately on this matter, but I look for people who occupy some unique spot in Blues history, whether based on one game or their career and who may have fallen out of the public eye, or been forgotten. That would describe the two most recent guys I've done, Rick Heinz and Jorgen Pettersson. I had one guy decline, though it's always possible I had the wrong number on him and it was someone else who was declining in his place. I have a few who I haven't heard back from, which may be because the contact information I have on them is out of date. Or that they didn't want to talk to me. It's hard to tell which.
    I'm going to wait a few minutes to see if there are any late-arriving questions. 
    Meanwhile, Game 2 of the Final is tonight, then we get Game 3 on Friday and then the weekend off until Game 4 on Monday. 
    OK, looks like we'll be wrapping it up. For a change of pace, Jim will be here next week, so you can get a different take for a while on these questions. 
    And the Professional Hockey Writers Association releases our ballots for the major awards that we vote on, so if you want to see how Jim and I and everybody else voted, you can go to this link and you can ask Jim about it next week. I had McDavid in the top spot for the Hart, Makar for the Norris and Kaprizov for the Calder in the big ones announced yesterday.

    PHWA reveals 2021 NHL Awards ballots – Professional Hockey Writers Association

    Thanks for taking part. And be sure to keep Jim busy next week. 
    And it looks like the Cardinals are about to win.
    Just beating the deadline. Don't you think even if Armstrong was trying to bring everyone back that they would still look to bolster both left wing & top 4 D. Which starts us at 3+ moves when you include the expansion draft. To me you expose Krug & add 2 -3 big bodies that play along the boards & in frnt of the net. For questions see Montral & NYI.
    We're not done yet! Seconds before I was to log off!
  • If you're going to shake up the team, adding a top six forward and a top four defenseman are the ways to go. I think they're more likely to stand pat on defense, just because of the players they have, and you need guys like Walman and Mikkola making the league minimum or close to it if you're going to fit under the cap. So their hands may be tied there. Young guys have to play somewhere. 
    I just don't see them exposing Krug. I think Armstrong feels committed there.
  • I can't see a scenario where Krug, Dunn and Perunovic (?) who all play the same type of game are on the team at the same time. Who has greater trade value?
    If you're measuring in terms of what you'd get back, Krug would get you the most, because he's the best player, but his contract would limit the number of teams that would take him. Dunn has good value and would be the easiest to move because he's young, has proved he can play in the NHL and is cost-contained in the short term. Perunovich hasn't played in the NHL yet, so he's an unknown commodity and won't get you as much, but there would certainly be no shortage of takers for him.
    OK, thanks to those who stayed around after I said I was done. This time I mean it, and my dog is happy for that, because she really wants a walk. Thanks all!
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