Join Blues writer Tom Timmermann for weekly Blues chat

Join Blues writer Tom Timmermann for weekly Blues chat

Join our weekly chat with Blues fans

    Greetings and welcome to another offseason chat, at least offseason for the Blues and most of the rest of the NHL. There may not be a whole lot to talk about after the last couple of weeks, but I'm here anyway. And, early warning, I've already got a soccer question in the queue, so there will be at least one of those.
    And hey, there's a game to watch tonight! We're only assured of having four more games this season. 
    Frank Seravalli at Hockey Insider recently listed Marco Scandella as a top 10 buyout candidate this off-season. Army has yet to buy out a contract - will this be the first time? What is the trade market for Scandella?
    For any other team in the league, Scandella would be a prime buyout contract. He's an older player whose game is has been declining and he takes up excessive cap space while also getting in the way of other players. But, Armstrong is not someone who buys out contracts. He has yet to do it with the Blues. And while you don't say never, it's the kind of thing I'll believe when I see.
    If the Blues were to buy him out, it would be a cap hit of about $500,000 this season, then $1.4 million, then two seasons of $1.1 million. (Thanks capfriendly.) That seems more than Armstrong will want to pay. 
    But what are the options? I don't think there would be a high trade market for Scandella. I'm pretty confident of that. Could a rebuilding team that needs to get to the salary floor want to take him on? Scandella is, as they say, a good guy in the room. He's a veteran who could be a mentor for younger guys. He gets along with others. He's a nice guy. If he had one year to go on his contract, that would be a lot simpler to make happen. But with two years, someone has to think he can do something on the ice and not get in the way of younger guys developing. Still, that may be the best option. Scandella has a modified no-trade clause, where he can name seven teams he won't be traded to. But if the Blues can't make that deal, they may have no choice but to bring Scandella back and make the best of it. 
    Regarding Blues payroll next year,I don't know how they can keep Perron or Leddy,much less the rest of the free agents.
    Yes, which is why I think Perron will be back and Leddy won't. Perron is a valuable offensive player, big on the power play, and not slowing down despite his age going up. The Blues have other defensemen they want to play and Leddy doesn't make that easy. Keeping Leddy would make it tough to play Mikkola and Perunovich, and moving on from their years of potential for what, one or two years of Nick Leddy, just doesn't make sense to me. Even if Leddy comes cheap, which he will compared to his expiring contract, the Blues have Faulk, Krug, Parayko, Bortuzzo, Mikkola, Perunovich and Scandella. If they were to somehow move Scandella, they would then be looking at making Bortuzzo a healthy scratch. If they can't move Scandella, then you're looking at scratching two of those guys, or trading one of them, and again, I see no gain in trading a young defenseman to keep an older one for one or two seasons.
    What kind of AAV do you think Husso gets offered on the open market? And do you think it's something the Blues attempt to match? Or does Binnington's play at the end of the season/playoffs leave them feeling confident with Lindgren serving as backup?
    Binnington's play at the end of the season shows that he can still play at a high level. What it didn't show was that he can play at a high level for a long stretch. But he gave the Blues one of the things they needed to see going into the offseason. So that's a start. 
    I am not really sure on what Husso gets offered on the open market. $3 million? At that price, I could see the Blues saying, OK, we'll pay that. At $4 million, it gets a bit trickier. But another factor that the Blues can't match at any price is if a team says, you're our No. 1 goalie. That's what a goalie wants, to know he's going to be the guy in the net most of the time. As long as Husso is with the Blues, he's going to be fighting with Binnington for a spot, and if the situation is a tossup, Binnington will probably get the nod. So as much as goalies like competition, if another team is going to make Husso the guy, he'll go for that. Because that's one of the ways goalies move up the food chain. So if he wants to go to that next step salary wise, he's going to need to be the guy somewhere. 
    As for Lindgren as the backup, maybe. He had a real good season, at the NHL and AHL levels. I don't know how likely he is to replicate it, but it's a start. But he may be looking for more too, and these are decisions that have to be made at the same time. If the Blues re-sign Husso, they don't make Lindgren as big an offer, so he's more likely to go elsewhere. 
    Tom: Once it was clear that Tarasenko had returned to form, I thought it was clear that the Blues were the second best team in the West. That said, the gap between them and the Avs was fairly stark in the playoffs even though the Blues were the only team to put up any real resistance to them. So, how does that gap close? Who might you expect the Avs to lose with all their upcoming free agents, and what kind of player could the Blues realistically add?
    In the immediate term, it will be tough to close that gap because the Avalanche will have a lot of this season's team back next year. After next season, the Avalanche will have the same core but a lot of different pieces around them, so that is more likely the Blues time to strike. They've got to be better defensively, so players like Mikkola have to emerge and Parayko has to continue to get back to 2019 Colton Parayko (or 2018 Colton Parayko), Perron has to not age, things like that. 
    As for the Avalanche, you have to figure Kadri moves on and you figure they do what it takes to keep Kuemper. Don't know if Kuemper has much incentive to go elsewhere and the Avs will do what they need to keep him. 
    Happy Wednesday Tom. Thank you for the chat today.

    Today is the three-year anniversary of the parade in St. Louis celebrating the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately I wasn’t in town so I listened to it on KMOX while driving from Orlando to North Georgia. I listened to the full coverage, what I heard was four hours of sheer joy. I have never heard anything like it and probably never will. What was your experience at the parade? Any chatters want to share their experience?
    Jeremy Rutherford and I hitched a ride on the back of Jake Allen's fire engine and we rode down the street with him. I was in pain for a lot of it because, before I knew how slowly the parade was going to go, I was running to catch up with his fire engine, misjudged my leap on to the back of the moving vehicle, and drove my shin pretty strongly into the rear bumper before landing face first on the pavement. I had a bruise there for a long time. 
    It was an amazing sight. I'd been to Cardinals parades and the Rams parades, and nothing compared to that. The most amazing sight may have been going past the parking garages near Busch Stadium, where people's arms and legs were hanging out through openings. I've never seen anything like it. 
    I also remember at some point along Market, someone had put a St. Louis Rams blanket in the middle of the road, so the Blues victory parade would physically run over it. 
    At the Arch, I was at the base of the stage, and that was another amazing sight. And then I walked back up toward Enterprise where my car was parked along with Dave Taylor from the front office. He was pretty amazed by the whole thing as well. 
    Tom T! Thanks for the chat. During the Trade Deadline and after, all I heard/read was don't expect the Blues to do anything BIG at the deadline as they are setting themselves up for a HUGE summer. Then after being ousted, MoArmy (their cut from the same cloth) says he doesn't expect any Big moves this summer. Now realizing he isn't going to come right out and say he's trading so and so or signing this FA, he still made it sound as if there won't be much going on at Enterprise Center this year. Why the tease by the writers and radio chat heads about the Big Summer if it's not going to happen? Thanks.
    Did we say that? I'll have to look though the archives on that. It seems to me the feeling was that the Blues weren't going to make a big deal at the deadline because they weren't one player away, and that if moves were made, they would be more in the line of "hockey" trades, player for player, which are more likely to be made in the offseason than at the deadline. And a lot of the speculation has been based around a Tarasenko trade. If there's not a Tarasenko trade, there's a lot less that can happen because of the cap situation. And right now, it doesn't seem like there will be a Tarasenko trade.
    Tom thanks as always for taking time for the chat! Cup Finals start tonight and thus far the Blues have fared better against the Av’s than the other higher seeded opponents. Of course we will never know how that series would have turned out had Binnington not gotten purposely trainwrecked. I would love to see Pat Maroon win a 4th consecutive cup and I can’t believe that’s happened too often in the past. 1970’s Canadiens maybe? Tom how do you think the Finals will play out? Thanks!! Go Bolts!!
    You have go back to when the New York Islanders won four in a row from 1980 to '83 to have someone have the success Maroon has had. I think I've seen somewhere that he would be the first (or one of a very, very few) to win four in a row and do it with two different teams. It would be an amazing feat.
    I have long been saying -- at least I think I have -- that Colorado is the best team and my pick to win the Cup. Having gotten this far, I suppose I should stick with that. But, Tampa Bay scares me because there's an inevitability to them. They just go out and win. They'll have an advantage in Game 1, like the Rangers did against Tampa Bay, and if Tampa can win one, or possibly two, in Denver while the Avalanche are finding their footing, it's a whole different situation. 
    So I think Colorado should win the series, and it could well be Colorado in five, but gosh, there's part of me that I can't shake that says Tampa Bay could do what Tampa Bay does and pull this one out. If the Avalanche win Game 1, it could be a short series; if Tampa is going to hang with Colorado, they need to win Game 1, which is probably the most winnable game.
    given the rise of toropchenko, do the blues move kostin this summer?
    That seems almost a given at this point. I don't see a lineup for the Blues that includes both Kostin and Toropchenko, and Berube loves Toropchenko. Barring Toropchenko doing something stupid or having something bad happen to him over the summer, he looks like a lock for next season. If that's the case, I just don't see how there's any place to play Kostin, who should be able to get the Blues something on the trade market.
    Who are the players the Blues may look at as trade chips? Scandella is obvious but we would be trading a second round pick just to lose him. With 9 20 scorers among forwards it would appear the depth would offer a player or two, but only Barbie of the under 30 group is replaceable and most teams likely see him as a 3/4 liner blend one year away from a contract. For D we have 3 guys and a collection of 5/6 pair D and one prospect.
    Scandella would be high on the want-to-trade list, but low on a player who's desired by other teams. Barbashev is coming off a career season, is in the last season of a deal that pays him $2.25 million and who will be looking to make $4 million on his next deal. He had an absurdly high shooting percentage this season, which will be very hard to replicate, and hence his numbers are pretty definitely going to go down next season. (Given the chances he generated in the playoffs, if he had shot at the same pace as in the regular season, he would have had three goals.)
    As stated in the previous question, Kostin will be on the market. 
    Depending on how the goalie situation plays out, if Husso were to re-sign for multiple years, the Blues may look to ease some of the backup they have at that position. I don't see a position where the Blues re-sign both Husso and Lindgren, but if they did, Hofer or Ellis would be trade-able.
    Bortuzzo would be a player to trade if the backup at defense got to be too much. He's a veteran with a small contract.
    The Blues have a lot of players with no-trade clauses, but even if they didn't, their contracts would make them hard to trade. The number of teams willing to take on a player with a four or five years to go on a contract are small. 
    Hi Tom: Neighbours just tore it up in the championships. What's the mood on him, his projection in the NHL and ETA? Thanks!
    Neighbours' ETA is next season. He wasn't great in his brief time in St. Louis, but good enough to show he can make the move. Depending how the roster situation shakes out, he could start the season in Springfield ala Perunovich, or just be in St. Louis all season. And for a team that figures to be up against the cap again, his sub-$1 million salary may be needed.
    Can you give us any insight into how the team views Bolduc? It seems they have hyped neighbors, but I haven’t heard anything suggesting how they view Bolduc or even Androv. Do they just say little about thier prospects as a policy, seems counter to the days of Rob Caron. They drafted a 3rd rounder a few years ago who scored over 50 in juniors and never played for the Blues, it’s a sign that we can’t extrapolate totals into naught for prospects but I was wondering if the team gives guidance.
    The team likes Bolduc a lot. He also reflects the way the game, and the Blues, are headed. Neighbours is a power forward, but Bolduc is a speedy, agile guy who scores a lot. I don't know that they've hyped Neighbours; he was just a lot closer to being able to play in the NHL. 
    I think most teams want to be cautious about heaping praise and expectations on teenagers. Bolduc is at least a season away from getting to the Blues, so there will be ample time for a buildup there. 
    If the Blues are getting back to holding a summer prospects camp, you'll see and hear more from him soon. 
    There has been a wide range of terms suggested by StL media on various platforms from Perron, Husso and Leddy. Perron 3x$5 m seems to be tops. Husso as much as 3x$4 m has been suggested. I’m unclear on Leddy but something around $5m and multiple years seems like it’s been suggested. I have a very hard time seeing $15 m fir a 34 year old forward, $12 m for a starting goalie who has limited nhl experience of success. I your view what is the range?
    The question on Perron will come back to how long a contract the Blues are willing to offer. A two-year deal makes the most sense, from the Blues' point of view. I'm sure Perron would like to have three years but he'll be in 36 in that third year, and the number of players who have really good seasons at 36 is not big. Perron, however, has shown he can defy time. Maybe the seasons lost to the concussion he's getting credit for at the end of his career. But would the Blues be willing to add a third year on to Perron's deal to lower his cap hit? Will there be a team willing to risk offering Perron a third year that would force the Blues to match that? Or would the Blues walk away over that? Perron is at an age where a player can start to look very old very quickly.
    Scandella,Krug, Mikkola, Perunovich Rosen all signed for next year. All left side guys. We need a right side D man like Manson. So someone has to go on the left side. Since Krug has a full no trade it has to be Scandella. Package him with the number 1 pick for Larsson or some like him. Maybe Luke Schen?
    Yes, the Blues would like to trade Scandella. No, I do not think it will be easy. If the Blues trade Scandella, I think the most likely scenario is to trade him and not get much back dollar-wise and immediacy-wise, because the goal is to free up cap space and roster space. So if the Blues get a draft pick in return, that would be fine with them. I could see a situation where they get future considerations in return. And the Blues have shown they are content with playing a defenseman on his off side if that's the only option. If they can find a way to move Scandella off the roster, they will avail themselves of it, regardless of the return.
    think army has any jori lehtera-level tricks up his sleeve? this is a very good team, but they are going to have to do something to get to the avs level.
    Lehtera's legacy will also be that of a guy who was the giveaway in a lopsided deal. Well, that in his involvement in a Finnish drug case. A deal like Lehtera's is dependent on finding a team that puts a very high value on a player that the Blues don't. So it's more of a reflection of other GMs than Armstrong. If there's a team out there who has scouts that say, you know, I don't think the Blues are using Marco Scandella the right away and if we did this, he'd be a strong addition to our team. If that front office exists, then the Blues can make a trade. Or there's a team that says, we're in a rebuild and we're going to have tons of cap space the next two seasons, we can get Scandella and a good draft pick from the Blues pretty much for free.
    Just joining the chat, so may be late with this type of question....How important is a team’s loyalty to one of their productive players to a free agent deciding which team to sign with? This question comes to mind with all the chatter about trading Tarasenko due to his high “value” as a trade-asset. He is coming off, arguably, his best season (in terms of production and being a positive influence) with the Blues. I understand players are a type of commodity to GM’s, but the reality is players are human beings with families who want stability. I would guess they want to know they have a strong chance of not being traded if they perform well. Won’t free agents shy away from teams/GM’s who tend to regularly trade productive players? I think Army tends to be loyal to productive players, which potentially makes the Blues a favored destination.
    The Blues have a pretty good reputation in treating players well. They went out of their way to make things easy for Chris Thorburn when they sent him down to the minors in the 2018-19 season. They have done that with other players too. There are a lot of factors in play when it comes to free agency and signing. Greg Wyshynski at ESPN always talks about a player's "stuff," and how they would, if they could, not have to move all their "stuff." Pietrangelo didn't want to move his stuff when he was a UFA. But he also wanted a guarantee that he wouldn't have to move his stuff again in the form of a no-movement clause, which Armstrong does not give. So he went to a place where he wouldn't have to move his stuff. 
    But let's not kid ourselves. Most free agency situations are going to be based on money. Even if you hate to move your stuff, if somebody is going to pay you $5 million more over three years, you move your stuff. 
    Trading high-priced free agents is a tricky thing to do and you don't see a lot of it, but that's also because those contracts usually come with no-trade clauses in the early season and just because they're hard to do. 
    Do you get the sense Blues fans have given up the dream of Matthew Tkachuk playing for the Blues during his prime? Players like him don't fit the financial model for the Blues, and would upset the talent balance for the rest of the squad. I've seen less and less questions from chatters about the Blues possibly him. Maybe during the last-stage-old man-farewell contract during his career. Probably not before then.
    Well, you're the first person to bring it up this week, but someone asks about Matthew Tkachuk pretty much every week, so I don't think a section of the fan base has given up on that dream. At the moment, he would be tough for the Blues to fit on the roster. I also think Calgary would be foolish to not keep him.
    Trade Tarasenko for a pick or picks, use the money saved to buy the best free agent defenseman fitting the Blues needs, and bank on Kyrou/Thomas/ Neighbours getting better. They need better defense more than they need lots of goals. Just because his shoulder held up for a year is no guarantee it will long term get value while they can.
    This would certainly be a trade-high time on Tarasenko (relatively speaking). The cap space freed up by a Tarasenko trade would certainly open up some doors that aren't currently open. I don't know that Kyrou, Thomas and Neighbours would have a net increase of 30 goals next season, but it's certainly something Armstrong has to consider. Tarasenko has shown he still has a lot of game left in him.
    What about Vlady for Pietrangelo straight up? Vegas gets cap relief to sign their FAs along with Vlady's expiring and the Blues solidify their defense for the foreseeable future.
    If the Blues didn't want to give Pietrangelo a no-movement clause before, why would they do it now? And that's just one thing .
    Tom, your opinion, please: Blues were tied 1-1 in Colorado and leading in Game 3 when Kadri dived (purposefully, I believe) and injured Binnington. Had Binner stayed healthy, what were the chances of Blues winning that series? Great job, Tom, on you articles and these chats. Thanks.
    I still think Colorado wins the series. But the chances then are maybe 65-35 in Colorado's favor, and things that have a 35 percent possibility happen all the time. NFL kickers, for instance, make about 65 percent of their field goals from 50 or more yards. (It may be even higher now; the data I'm looking at is a few years old.) So they miss 35 percent. How confident do you feel when you see an NFL team line up from that distance? In any case, Colorado outplayed the Blues for most of the series, and if the Blues won the series, I think it would have been a steal. But how do teams pull off those kind of steals? Usually by exceptional goaltending. But, as the Lightning and Rangers showed, sometimes you can just overwhelm good goaltending, and that's what I think the Avalanche would have done (and did). Still, the Blues came really close to forcing a seventh game and then anything can happen. But I think Colorado would have won even if Binnington stayed healthy.
    Do you believe the blues are realistically still in a cup window, and do you see them getting it done again in the near future?
    They are in a Cup window, but the presence of Colorado in their division right now makes it a bit smaller. (that will change a bit after next season when Colorado has to retool.) The year the Blues won the Cup, they didn't have to face a behemoth in their division. The Blues have a very good team and will be in the mix for the Cup, because once you get to the playoffs anything can happen and the Blues are a playoff caliber team and have a lot of talent. If that's enough to win it, we'll see.
    As to seeing them getting it done, there is so much that needs to happen for a team to win the Cup that the safe pick is generally no. You can have the best team in the league and all it takes is a goalie letting in a shot from center ice and everything changes. But the Blues chances are a lot better than a lot of teams in the league. Even if the Blues' chances at the start of next season are 4 or 5 percent, there are a whole lot of teams whose chances are 0 or 1 percent. 
    What are the chances that the Blues young defenders (Mikkola, Perunovich, Rosen) improve enough in 2022-23 that Armstrong don't need to bring in an experienced player to compete for a cup?
    Mikkola is the one to watch, because Perunovich is not going to develop into a defensive defenseman any time soon and Rosen is going to spend most of next season in Springfield again, unless something happens.
    The Blues had to go out and get Leddy this season because they wanted an upgrade over Mikkola. This was Mikkola's first full NHL season, and having seen him progress, I think he can step into a role of being a shutdown defenseman that the team can count on. Looking at his analytics over his brief career, his 5 on 5 defensive work has been pretty much a straight line but his penalty killing really jumped up this season. His penalty killing numbers were at an elite level this season. If he can translate that to his five on five play, and they are different skill sets, the Blues will be in better shape. One of the reasons given for bringing in Leddy and sitting Mikkola was experience in playoff situations. The Blues are pretty much at a point where they have to feel Mikkola can do it, or otherwise trade him. 
    I'm going to answer a soccer question, so if you have any other hockey questions, now's the time.
    A complete novice on knowledge of MLS and STL City. Is STL City2 a minor league team of STL City? Where can I find info on the league structure. Thanks
    St. Louis City2 is a minor-league team. Technically, the league they are in, MLS Next Pro, is considered a developmental league, set up by Major League Soccer as a place for players graduation from youth academy systems or college to get experience while developing into MLS players. But there are no restrictions on who can play in MLS Next Pro, so in City2's case, it's got some guys who aren't youth players or recent college grads, and the team's plan this season is to use some of their future first-team players when they move to America in July. 
    In the American soccer pyramid, MLS Next Pro is considered a third division league. MLS is the first division league, USL Championship, the league that St. Louis FC used to be in, is the second division, and Next Pro is the third division. In the past, MLS teams would loan young players out to USL teams to get playing experience while they developed, but that got complicated if you needed to get one of those players back. Now, by having teams with their own developmental squads, it's easier to bring players back and forth and to get players on the main roster who aren't playing into games.
    Here is an MLS fact for you to share. If people think NHL officiating is bad, just wait until you see the clown show that is the MLS.
    It's not just MLS, but all of the region. It's why you see people refer to bad decisions as a team being CONCACAF'd. (CONCACAF, for the uninitiated, is what the regional governing body of soccer is called: it's short for the Confederation of North and Central America and Caribbean Associations Football.) Watch enough CONCACAF soccer and you'll see a lot of weird stuff.
    Thanks for the MLS info. Thought since you have been writing soccer articles about City2 it would be ok to ask here. Sorry to interrupt the Blues lovefest. I really enjoyed watching this year.
    Not a problem. A year from now, there may well be a dedicated soccer chat.
    And on that note, I'm going to call it a chat. Thanks for joining in, and we'll try it again next week. As I wrote earlier, my pick is Colorado, and I'll say Colorado in five, but Tampa Bay also has an inevitability to them that would make me very hesitant to put any money on this series. By next chat, we should have a much better idea of just how far wrong I am. 
    Until then, take care and stay cool, if that's possible. Not looking forward to taking the dog out for a walk. 
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement