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1 year, 6 months ago on Chris Stewart has signed a two-year deal with St. Louis
It's definitely a strong move for both teams. both teams get players looking to prove themselves, with Edmonton acquiring the more established skill with more cost. Perhaps a change of scenery for both players is just what they need to flourish.
Specifically from the Blues standpoint, I think the acquisition is very good. There were already too many forwards on the team, and now you acquire one that has more growth room and can allow the other forwards to see the ice more too. The pick helps too. But the cost savings is really what's saving us here, as I think has already been well established among the Note's fandom. Signing Petro is a must, as well as Allen. Stewart would've been expendable if needed, but his offensive production and his big body on the ice would have been sorely missed.
My one question left at the end of this deal, though, is whether Armstrong is finished. He has freed up almost $13M in cap space with this trade, but Paajarvi is not yet signed. I still don't know that it's enough to sign all 4 of the RFAs now. My guess is that Petro will get 6-7M, Stewart will get around 4M, Allen maybe 1.5M, Paajarvi maybe 1.75M if Armstrong can get lucky. We're looking in the neighborhood of 13-14.5M to get these 4 signed, unless Armstrong can work some true negotiating magic. My gut tells me someone else will have to go too.
Assuming for now that it is not Halak, based on the relatively dry market and Army's comments about wanting Jaro around, I don't know who else could go. Perhaps Army would find a taker for Halak or Elliott after getting Allen signed, even if the return wasn't much. Anyone else you would think as a potential mover?
1 year, 6 months ago on Blues trade David Perron to Edmonton for Magnus Paajarvi and a pick
I'm a big supporter of using Sobotka on the wing. Truthfully, I might've opted to move Berglund to the left side and let Backes stay in the middle over Armstrong's suggestion, but either works for me. Armstrong's assertion Stewart will be back raises the interesting question...of the 15 forwards that we would then have at our disposal, which 12 would play? Assuming Keith Aucoin is going to be a healthy scratch whenever possible, you still wind up with two other guys, likely guys making over 1M a year, to sit in the press box. Extrapolating on the possible Steen-Roy-Stewart line, you might also have one in the Schwartz-Backes-Tarasenko shape, and the kid line of course, Perron-Berglund-Oshie, followed by the CPR line. It leaves one wondering if the Blues could justify not playing a player like Sobotka every night, and what purpose would Max LaPierre then serve? Because of this excess of forwards, I tend to think the salaray shedding Armstrong will need to do over the summer will come in the form of a Perron, Berglund, or Oshie. I know Perron's name comes up a lot, but I think he's the easiest choice, and you slide Sobotka right into that spot on the Left Wing (like he played for Czech Republic).
1 year, 6 months ago on Doug Armstrong discusses moving Backes, Sobotka to the wing
@David Rogers @miendiem It may not be a perfect fit, but I'd give up Perron and a future pick for Mark Letestu.
1 year, 7 months ago on Report: Columbus talking to Blues about David Perron
By the way, thoughts on Vincent Lecavalier? Not sure what pricetag he'd command now, but if you want a playmaking center, one just dropped right down into the middle of the free agent pool. Worth it for Armstrong to consider?
1 year, 7 months ago on Blues give Kevin Shattenkirk a four-year, $17 million extension
Nice call on the Voynov deal. I also agree with Armstrong's decision that he should make more, if only slightly, than Voynov. Overall, great deal for both sides. So far, Armstrong has been knocking these deals out of the park. Now, I'm just nervous about Pietrangelo...we all know what he deserves, but nobody wants to see that number on paper. But as long as he's locked up, I'll be happy.
Great deal for both sides. The question I've always had with Berglund is what is our expectation, and is it reasonable? Being a first round pick that has shown an ability to play very well in front of the net and pocket quite a few goals, I think the common expectation was for him to become a top 6 forward minimum, maybe even top C. Because he has never quite "put it all together", he's been relegated to 2nd/3rd line duty, and though he finds the back of the net, he still seems to infuriate fans with his inconsistency with an open net and his sometimes lax defense.
In my opinion, the two factors defining this deal will be whether Berglund's overall performance improves and whether Armstrong adds a top 6 center. If neither of those things happen, and Berglund is a 2nd line C with the same production this year as last, I think Armstrong either lowballs next year or lets him walk. If either he improves or he is moved to 3rd line C by the addition of a top 6 C, I think this deal is called a success and he gets an extension for around 3.75M-4M for 4 years or so. If both happen, and he increases performance while only being depended on as a 3rd line C, I think he gets a big extension, maybe 4.5M for 5 years and the Blues contend for the West and the Cup.
1 year, 7 months ago on Patrik Berglund agrees to a one-year, $3.25 million extension
I often wonder how much Vegas oddsmakers listen to the rumblings in the NHL. There's no doubt in my mind they know the statistics inside and out, but there's often much more to predicting a team's performance besides just historical statistics and trends. Some years, you may have teams that show pretty impressive stat lines that you would never pick to win a cup either because the team's overall success level wasn't expected, they're overperforming, they have stayed healthier than opponents, or maybe they've got a friendly regular-season schedule. But there's something to be said for a team coming off of a couple of playoff appearances, a team that's been stung by a talented, lower-seeded opponent both years, a team with an enormous supply of talent (albeit no top centers), a team with a coach that has a true winning pedigree, a team with one of the top GMs in the sport, and a team with a win-now attitude. Perhaps the oddsmakers feel just as hopeful about the Note as I do this upcoming year.
1 year, 7 months ago on Early odds for the Blues to hoist the Cup in 2013-14
Agreed, the Stillman factor is a big one. I'm feeling very hopeful, though, and I'll put my faith in Stillman's wallet, Armstrong's decisions, and Hitchcock's coacing. Still hoping for some kind of splash on the first line, though. With all the money Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo command, I expect it'd come via trade. We'll see- nice article!
1 year, 7 months ago on Kevin Shattenkirk's new deal should resemble Slava Voynov's
I think that's great speculation on the potential contract value, but hearing the numbers laid out like that does beg the question - is this a good idea?
I think it's obvious the value that Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk demonstrate regularly on the ice, but it's scary to consider wrapping up that much money in 2 players when you're in a much smaller market than L.A. Let's say that between the two of them, they make about what Voynov & Doughty make....an 11.1 million dollar average cap hit for the next 5 or so years. It doesn't sound too hard to stomach when you consider the offensive production and their development as defenders, right?
The scary part for me is thinking about all of the other money that we have tied up for the next few years...Backes, Oshie, Perron, Jackman, Polak....all making significant dollars for the future. It leaves very little money to spend anywhere, especially if other players are signed for similar money, like Stewart, Berglund, and the potential for healthy raises for Sobotka and Schwartz next year. Again, not too concerning considering the core still playing pretty strong hockey, but we still lack the flexibility to transform a strong team into a cup contender with a frontline scorer. Or with a defender to play with Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo....remember how scary that blue line was before the 10 million dollar cap hit of Bouwmeester and Leopold came to town? It almost certainly assures us that those two will be gone....does that leave us with a weak defensive presence on our top two lines again?
Truthfully, I think paying them in line with what L.A. gave is appropriate. I also don't think you have a lot of choice if you're Armstrong...you can't let that young talent out the door just because it'd be expensive. But I do worry that what L.A. can afford to do for their young players might cripple a budget-conscious team like the Blues if the lineup doesn't develop into a cup contender soon.
@David Rogers @lizardkingjl I think that's a good point- St. Louisans are spoiled on the Cardinals, who never struggle to make money, and the Rams, who make money as a part of the NFL machine. The Blues, however passionate the fan base, doesn't roll in the dough as much as their StL counterparts. Seeing as that's the case, and if Armstrong holds to his word about keeping the 4 big RFAs, you're probably right that trade is the most likely infusion of new talent. I had thought previously that Armstrong would let someone walk and target a center like Bozak or Weiss, but I don't think those guys could be afforded along with the RFAs. Any thoughts who the Blues might target for trades? I don't remember where, but I vaguely recall hearing that Stastny is available from Colorado- he's not exactly the kind of guy I was hoping to add, though.
1 year, 7 months ago on Blues ready to match offer sheets for Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Stewart and Berglund
I won't say I disagree with Armstrong's stance, although I am a bit surprised. I fully expected at least one of Berglund or Stewart to be with another team next year, if for no other reason than the cost of signing Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk. If they do wind up keeping all 4 of these RFAs, I don't see much salaryspace left for anything significant. Though they're under cap, they usually like to keep it that way- any chance you think they raise the payroll this year to bring in a new talent, or is it more likely given Armstrong's recent statements that we'll see a team very similar to last year?
Nothing but love for Scotty Nichol after the amount of grit and toughness he added at the bottom of the rotation. We in St. Louis might not have seen his best days, but it's impossible to ignore his dedication to the game over a long and successful career. Best of luck to him, and may he always successfully further the cause of the Nashville Predators so long as they never surpass the Note.
1 year, 7 months ago on Scott Nichol retires, accepts a job with the Nashville Predators
I'm not entirely convinced Lehtera would actually have been able to make the switch to the NHL style, and that doubt right there is enough for me to feel that this is not as bad a situation as some might feel it is. The Blues are not looking for another decent center or center prospect, they're looking for that top-of-the-line, no questions or doubts type of guy. While of course Lehtera's tasty KHL line could signify his ability to come in and become that top line center, there's far from any guarantee he wouldn't be more than just another expensive player not living up to his potential.
I'm disappointed because I liked the idea of bringing him over to see what he could contribute, but I'm glad the decision has at least been made. It frees up Armstrong to focus on bringing in someone like Bozak or Weiss.
1 year, 7 months ago on Jori Lehtera signs a deal to stay in the KHL
While the price is definitely right for this resigning, I kind of don't like it. I do hope that he can show more development this year, and 2 years of control for a guy that still seems to have pretty good upside as a 7th defender is pretty spectacular. But Russell is a good puck mover and has shown pretty solid play in his limited ice time. I think my first choice would've been to let Cole go and commit that money plus a little more to Russell instead. The one drawback is that I don't love the idea of pairing him with Shattenkirk, so you would then almost certainly have to make a move for Leopold or someone else.
I'm not sure what value Russell commands on the open market, but at a little over $1M this year, a similar deal this year, or a slight raise to $1.5M seems palatable financially. Regardless, Cole's deal does save the club some money and give them a young, talented defenseman with a chance to prove himself again. I may just be paranoid, but if Cole's on the club, I sure would feel better if Leopold was too.
1 year, 8 months ago on Blues give Ian Cole a two-year extension
@miendiem Oh, I didn't realize players could be sent down with one-way deals without any sort of rehab assignment. That being said, I don't expect them to do that with Cracknell if he provides the same power and energy he did this past postseason either. He deserves the contract, and frankly I thought he might've deserved a bit more of a pay raise, although that may've just been my recent memory of him speaking.
Any knowledge of this Lehtera kid? I know he's a centerman but I don't know anything about his play style or stature. Would 4th line be a place to let him get used to the NHL and sub Porter in elsewhere in the lineup as needed?
1 year, 8 months ago on Blues sign Adam Cracknell to a one-year extension
@miendiem I agree that it's a safe move, and I fully expect him to see a lot of 4th line ice time this year regardless of what happens with the other dominos. Surprised at all that it's a one-way deal and not two? I thought that Armstrong might try to push for a two-way deal so that he'd have flexibility on the roster if he wanted to try moving things around a bit. Either way, no complaints here.
I fully understand most fans' disappointment with the way his year turned out on the whole after such a fast start, but I was encouraged from what I saw from Tarasenko this year. He showed his ability to score, but he also showed his inexperience at playing the NHL's style of game. It seemed that when he came back from the injury, Hitchcock was a little wary to turn him loose, and thus limited his ability to be a major impact in the game. Combine that with the fact that he has to change his playing style a bit, and you have to expect a statistical regression.
In the KHL, he played more like a center, with the puck on his stick for much longer stretches. He had a wider ice and a less physical league to dance and shoot around. He showed his familiarity with this play by holding the puck too long and being unable to absorb hits in the NHL this year. His true gift is scoring after making 1-2 moves to beat defenders (i.e., that goal in Columbus off Steen's pass from the boards), so he'll have to rely on his centerman to help him make the play.
To make it short, Tarasenko probably will not be able to play at the overall level that guys like Crosby, Malkin, or Datsyuk play, but I think his goal-scoring ability will be comparable so long as he's on a top 6, productive line with a strong center.
1 year, 8 months ago on Did Vladimir Tarasenko live up to the hype in his first year?
Does Halak seem like a feasible player to trade? Like you said, his numbers are pretty good and he's historically been a strong #1, but the combination of his worst statistical season, injuries, surliness, and cost may make him difficult to move. Can you think of any teams that would be willing to deal anything of consequence for one year on the gently rocking boat that is Halak?
1 year, 8 months ago on There's plenty of turmoil in the St. Louis goal crease
Despite the fact that the inherent risk is to have a team largely unchanged from last year's, I'd qualify both and test the waters. For reasonable qualifying offers, both could fetch top 9 talent, though the pool of available players would be pretty slim after their postseason performances.
Berglund can be infuriating, as he often does look simply lost out on the ice, but he does come up with production both in front of the net and on odd-man breaks. I think he'll definitely be the cheaper option of the two, and losing both hurts significantly if Armstrong can't get anything for them. This being the case, it makes sense to at least qualify him, then see if there is another team's underperforming center available for a swap.
I agree with the sentiment in one of your comments, that Stewart is treated a bit unfairly. While it's undeniable that his production in the playoffs was about as valuable as Tarasenko's was in 1/6th the icetime, his ability to score is too valuable to overlook. He had some bad luck in the playoffs, and I feel that defenses keyed him a bit too. I'd qualify him too, and be more prone to keeping him than Berglund, though I'd definitely make some calls to other GMs and see who he'd fetch.
That being said, if Armstrong decides to buck up for a guy like Bozak or Roy, it'd make sense to let either or both of them walk to make up for the cap hit. And I'd be fine with that.
Looking forward to the goaltending piece (*cough* move halak *cough*)....keep up the good work.
1 year, 8 months ago on Sound off: What should the Blues do with Chris Stewart and Patrik Berglund?
@David Rogers Between Stewart and Berglund, which do you think is most likely to return and which would you most like to return? I'm leaning towards Stewart because he rarely takes a shift off, he just lost his effectiveness in the postseason. Berglund tends to disappear so frequently that it makes the goals he does score so much more frustrating. I might be tempted to trade them or let them walk along with Russell and Cole and give Leopold a new deal. Maybe acquire a young forward in one of those deals and promote Yaskin?
1 year, 8 months ago on St. Louis free agents: Restricted and unrestricted players at the NHL and AHL level
Any reason to think the Blues would be players in a trade this offseason? Surely the RFAs and UFAs will keep them plenty busy, but there will be a significant portion of the fanbase looking for a more major change than just a few piecemeal signings and roster adjustments.
There are few pieces that I think Armstrong would consider moving, simply because he has most of his talent cost-controlled fairly well. Players such as Perron, Oshie, Jackman, or Halak could potentially be moved if the right team was interested.
Jackman had a solid season, especially after J-Bouw and Leopold came on board, even though much of the fanbase likes to use him as a scapegoat. The fact of the matter is that at a little over $3M, he's one of the better 3rd line defenders, if not a bit overpaid to do that job. Oshie is not a likely move to be made, since the team made it clear that he was the main piece of the nucleus that they want to keep around for a while. Plus, the guaranteed sum of his contract combined with coming off of an injury doesn't excite too many teams. But St. Louis still loves him, so that is unlikely.
Halak and Hitchcock's spat before Game 4 is now public knowledge, and with Elliott's resurgence and Allen's strong play, most people see no need for Halak on this team. When healthy, he's the most talented of the three, but he's proven to be a bit of a man of glass in the past 2 years. A good team desperate for a goalie may consider calling about Halak.
And then there's Perron. Often vilified as the most disappointing player on the roster, his name is often bandied about as one of the players that had a problem "buying in" to Hitchcock's system. He doesn't put the puck in the net nearly enough to make up for the number of turnovers he has due to overskating the puck or holding the puck to long. While a wizard with the stick for the first couple of moves, he can't pull the trigger on the shot or the clear pass and has it taken away. St. Louis used to love him, but I think that love is wearing thin now, and of the nucleus of Oshie-Berglund-Perron, he's the one that would be missed the least. Now, he's not cheap, but 3 years of less than $4M a year for a player that can skate and puck-handle like that might be an attractive chance to take for a team needing a goal-scoring threat. Pittsburgh might lose Pascal Dupuis and Jarome Iginla, so Perron might seem like a decent risk.
I'm not necessarily rooting for a trade, but you hate to see a team with so much talent squander it year after year by not making the changes needed to take the next step. Personally, I'm tired of "waiting" for this team to enjoy a high level of success, but in Armstrong I trust.