Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Doug Armstrong did not consider saying goodbye to David Backes and Troy Brouwer and trading Brian Elliott an enjoyable exercise.
Backes was St. Louis’s captain. Brouwer, acquired the year before from Washington for T.J. Oshie, punched in 18 goals while dressing in 82 regular-season games. Elliott posted a .930 save percentage, the best mark in the league of any goalie appearing in at least half of his team’s games.
Armstrong’s roster, however, had progressed to the threshold where difficult decisions were required. Backes is 32. Brouwer turns 31 on Aug. 17. The 31-year-old Elliott was splitting time with 25-year-old Jake Allen. The Blues have younger players improving and lining up for raises. Calgary, desperate for a starting goalie, was willing to pay the price.
So a team that hit the wall in the Western Conference finals now finds itself in a state of transition that was not only required, but one that might leave it refreshed for another dash through the Central Division minefield.
“The time that I’ve been here with David, we’ve had five really good regular seasons and four really disappointing playoffs,” Armstrong said. “Last year’s playoffs, I certainly wouldn’t call them disappointing. They weren’t the ultimate goal. But it was a move in the right direction. I thought with last year’s team, we extended that window all the way through last year. With that group, I didn’t feel we’d be able to bring everybody back, just because of the age of the players and what we were doing. That was the year, and I thought the guys took great advantage of it.”
continued plus additional hockey topics...
from Chris Pinkert of the Blues website,
Jaden Schwartz won’t need an arbitration hearing to decide his contract situation for the upcoming season.
Schwartz, who became a restricted free agent when his two-year deal with the Blues expired on July 1, agreed to a new five-year, $26.75 million contract on Friday afternoon, avoiding an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto.
The deal will keep Schwartz in St. Louis through the 2020-21 season.
“He’s part of that core we have moving forward,” Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said. “Schwartz and (Vladimir) Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen - we’re trying to build around these guys. Having Schwartz wrapped up in that group, we know we now have a core that we can build around and try to win a championship around.”
Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did an online Q & A today...
When asked about the hold up on moving Shattenkirk,
The hold up is that Armstrong is looking for a deal that makes sense for the team. It's no secret that they'd like to trade him, but they're not going to make a deal they'll regret to make it happen now. The comments from Shattenkirk's agent, Jordan Neumann, were understandable because they felt that a trade would happened near the draft based on the information that they had been given. I've since asked Armstrong about the situation and he speaks as though Shattenkirk will be a Blue to start the season. That could be posturing to get the most from other teams who want Shattenkirk, or he could really feel that way. Bottom line, the Blues have plenty of time to trade Shattenkirk before he walks for nothing. Even if he's here to start the year and has a good year, that only drives up his price. They have until the deadline next year, so to me it's nothing to worry about. I'm not downplaying the situation, it is a significant storyline but there's no real rush.
a few more Shattenkirk related quetions plus more on the Blues...
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues believed they were in the running with Backes until the end, but in the end, the team chose not to match the length of the deal he received from the Bruins.
"We talked last night and again this morning," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "At the end of the day, the term was a concern for myself. David is a great player, and he's been a great Blue, and we wish him nothing but the best. But when you project out long-term, it was problematic for me personally to project out that far with players.
"There's analytical data that shows where players play at their peak, and we wanted to try to stay within a window. We were ready to stretch that window, but only to a certain level. That's more of a personal thing than anything. Ultimately, David took a really good offer from Boston, and we wish him nothing but the best. He'll be sorely missed."
In addition to losing Backes, the Blues will also move on without Troy Brouwer, who signed in Calgary. He inked a four-year, $18 million deal ($4.5 million).
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Brouwer understands that the flat cap will be a factor, and so he balances the interest and decisions he'll have to ultimately make once the free-agent market opens at noon ET on Friday.
"The big guys are always going to get their money, and then it’s kind of a trickle-down effect,” said Brouwer. "What’s left? And what teams are going to have money left to offer? You have to know before going [into] free agency that you might not get to go to your first choice because they don’t have cap room for you. Or you might be No. 2 or No. 3 on their list of guys they’re targeting.’’
The fact that Steven Stamkos has made his decision and stayed in Tampa Bay is great news for the next group of UFAs, led by Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, Loui Eriksson, Andrew Ladd, Frans Nielsen, Mikkel Boedker and David Backes and yes, Brouwer.
Much depends on what a team needs -- but if it’s physicality, scoring and character, they would get it in Brouwer.
"You want to get a guy who has a physical element. You want a guy who scores goals in the right areas -- especially come playoff time,’’ said the same Eastern Conference scout. "[Brouwer is] a deceptive skater. Some people question the top end of his skating, but to me he just seems like a guy who, when he gets inside the top of circles, that’s where he plays his most effective game. That’s kind of where the game is headed.
more plus other topics...
from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
At some point soon, pending unrestricted free agent David Backes will make a decision that will have ramifications on many levels.
Will Backes leave the only organization he's ever known, the Blues, who selected him in the second round of the 2003 NHL draft and appointed him the 20th captain in franchise history in 2011? If he does, who does the club turn to for its next leader?
Will Backes, who let the tears roll in a postgame interview following the Blues’ playoff loss to San Jose in the Western Conference finals, continue the quest for the organization’s first Stanley Cup? If he doesn’t, how does the team reload?
A career — and potentially franchise-altering — verdict could be known in the next 24 hours, as Backes and the Blues approach the start of free agency without a contract extension for the 32-year-old forward. Opposing clubs were allowed to begin courting unrestricted free agents last Saturday, and the period to sign them opens at 11 a.m.(CT) Friday.
ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with forward Scottie Upshall.
Upshall, who joined the Blues as a free agent last summer, would have become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The Fort McMurray, Alberta native played in 70 games for the Blues last season, scoring six goals and eight assists (14 points) to go along with a plus-5 rating.
Overall, Upshall has played in 623 career regular season NHL games, posting 121 goals and 127 assists (248 points).
If not signed by July 1, David Backes, Troy Brouwer, Steve Ott and Kyle Brodziak will all become unrestricted free agents.
(June 13, 2016) - St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the Blues have named Mike Yeo Associate Coach. In addition, Armstrong announced that Yeo will be named Head Coach to begin the 2017-18 season and his contract will run through the 2019-20 season. Armstrong also announced that Rick Wilson has been named an Assistant Coach, while Assistant Coach Ray Bennett, Goaltending Coach Jim Corsi and Video CoachSean Ferrell will return to the coaching staff.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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