I shouldn't be surprised but the high turnout of Blues' fans for a chat in July is terrific. Thanks for the continued interest. When the chat is over, if you haven't read it already, I wrote an article about the Stastny family that's currently available on STLToday.com. I also wrote another piece earlier this week about Brian Elliott. But that's for later ... let's get chattin'
I was told that camp will start Sept. 18th or 19th. The first game is Sept. 21 in Columbus.
Well, let's just say that if you want be on this team and you want ice time, you better be ready to show you're deserving in camp. We all know that the roster is set for the most part. As much as GMs and head coaches talk about training camp deciding the roster, we all know that contract status typically dictates who is on the team on opening night. Paajarvi and Lindstrom have one-way deals, so I think they'll be kept. But with the depth the Blues have added at forward, it really is going to be a battle for them to keep those spots. Jaskin has already been mentioned as having a spot, but that doesn't appear to be the case any longer, and Mueller is a player who had a great season last year in Europe and is knocking on the door. As far as who gets those last spots, we'll have to wait and see, but again I think the guys with the one-way contracts have the edge regardless.
I have heard nothing new recently. Doug Armstrong is vacationing as we speak. I would think mid-August is a logical timeframe for something to be done.
I wouldn't be worried. As we've heard countless times, the NHL is a league that responds to deadlines and there is no deadline standing in front of the two sides at this moment.
I haven't spoken to Andy in several months. The last time was at a Blues' game (I think his son was playing between periods) and he said everything was good. He has a business in St. Louis that keeps him busy. I do have plans at some point to check in and write a story about how he's doing.
No. 1, Armstrong has insisted that he's not worried about having more physicality on the blueline. No. 2, who would you suggest may be available. The way I see the recent two-way signings (Butler, Prosser) is that the Blues were adding depth and these players were too good to pass up if they would agree to two-way deals. Also, it tells me that the Blues don't believe that Hakanpaa and Edmundson are ready for call-up.
I don't think I like it. It's not hockey. Yeah, it's probably going to be pretty entertaining. And of course it's a more realistic or pure way of ending a game than a shootout. But to me it sounds like the GMs are trying to find the answer for OT that is closest to the game itself, and I don't know if 3 on 3 solves that.
Well, here's the deal: even if the Blues do decide to trade him when he returns from the KHL (and a trade shouldn't be assumed at this point), he has to play his next season in the NHL at $2.7 million. That's the deal that came out of the arbitration process. So if Sobotka does indeed want to be traded, and the Blues make that move, he's locked in at that salary. That's what makes his strategy to leave for the KHL, other than cashing in on a big payday in Omsk, so mysterious. He could have played 2014-15 at $2.7 million and become unrestricted next year, free to sign anywhere.
I don't think so. Jackman has been a valuable asset to the Blues and the city, but the number actually belongs to Bobby Plager. If the number is ever retired, it will be for him.
I think that's a realistic projection. The West is going to be a very, very difficult conference. Obviously fans are aiming for a Stanley Cup, but the third round of the playoffs would be a nice step for the Blues.... Regarding Hitch, this is the last year on his contract. How the season goes will determine if he's back. He wants to be back. Doug Armstrong has said that Hitch will coach here as long as he wants to. But there will be some pressure this year, which Hitch told me recently he likes.
The Blues are about $2.8 million under the cap, according to capgeek.com. Considering Schwartz doesn't have any have any leverage, I honestly think Armstrong is trying to and will get Schwartz within that figure. But I don't think the Blues will stay that close to the cap or keep all of the bodies they have. I think at some point we will see some wheeling and dealing.
Not really because all of these "depth" signings have been on one-year contracts. So they will potentially on the move as well.
This is a great thing the Blues' alumni are doing. In some fans haven't heard, there's a fairly big group with a lot of "named" players heading to Slovakia later this summer to help honor Demitra. I don't have plans to go on the trip, but I hope to write a story before they leave for Slovakia and get their thoughts when they return.
I think he's been trying to. The way I see it, once the Blues see what they have in Lehtera and Lindstrom, they can make deals accordingly. Obviously there are select players on the Blues' roster who could fetch a first-rounder. I'm not saying it will happen, but I don't see the Blues making any moves at forward until they get on the ice and see those unknown players up close.
That's the tough part about reporting Russian contracts ... who knows? The STLToday report is the one I wrote and that was based on information from his agent. Obviously everyone has an agenda, so who knows what is right. So how it breaks down is anyone's guess, but the contract figures that I was given were three years and slightly more than $4 million per season.
There are a lot of them, but if there's one guy who players really like to be around, it's Schwartz.
Being in the West, where there's only 14 teams, the Blues are competing against fewer teams. The reason for the imbalance is reportedly the expectation of expansion or possibly relocation. In other words, many believe the conferences were created the way they were because of what's expected to happen in the future.
Unfortunately, we don't get to hear that stuff in the pressbox. Like you, I've heard about his reputation, and getting to know him a little bit, I can see why. But I've never heard him mic-ed up, and the few times I've asked Ott about trash-talking, he's always quick to change the topic.
The way it appears is Bouwmeester-Pietrangelo, Gunnarsson-Shattenkirk, Jackman-Cole ... with Leopold as the 7th and Butler and Prosser in the minors. But obviously the guys on the outside looking in will have something to say about that in camp.
I'm told that "100 Thing Blues ...." will be available as an ebook.
I've only heard something similar, that a handful of teams were interested. I haven't spoken with him yet, but plan to soon or certainly during camp. I've asked about his salary, but haven't heard back yet. It's a very quiet time in the NHL, with most people around the league taking their vacation time.