Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
The right-shot Pietrangelo projects to be one of the NHL’s best defensemen, if he doesn’t already qualify. Last year, Pietrangelo had five goals and 19 assists in 47 games. He averaged 25:06 of ice time per game, most on the St. Louis roster. Pietrangelo’s most desirable comparable is Drew Doughty. The Los Angeles defenseman, drafted second overall in 2008 (two spots ahead of Pietrangelo), signed an eight-year, $56 million blockbuster after the expiration of his entry-level deal. The more applicable comparable is Zach Bogosian, the No. 3 pick in 2008. Bogosian signed a seven-year, $36 million extension with Winnipeg last month. On the flip side, neither Pietrangelo nor agent Don Meehan want to see a repeat of P.K. Subban’s situation with Montreal. Subban, also a Meehan client, held out at the start of 2013. Then Subban signed a two-year, $5.75 million bridge contract. Based on the marketplace, Subban, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, is worth at least double his $2.875 million average annual value. Pietrangelo can’t afford to hold out. The Blues are entering a critical season in their transition from young bucks into a club that should contend for a top playoff seed. Pietrangelo is also in the running for an Olympic roster spot for Team Canada in a group that includes Doughty and Subban. If a bridge deal is the only alternative, Pietrangelo needs to accept it.
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from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues have waited deep into the summer to re-sign many of their own RFAs, but never this deep under general manager Doug Armstrong. The latest to sign previously was defenseman Erik Johnson, in 2010, when he was brought into the fold on Aug. 2. That date has now passed, and adding to the anxiety among fans is that despite dialogue between Armstrong and Pietrangelo’s agent, Don Meehan of Newport Sports Management, no agreement is imminent.
A breakthrough in negotiations is always possible, but with time slipping away, the potential of a holdout is also plausible. The last two NHL players to miss part of the regular season — Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly — are represented by Newport.
“There’s really nothing to report,” Armstrong said. “My belief is that it’s better to stay quiet until we have a conclusion to it and we’re not there now.
“It’s not something that I’m overly concerned about at this particularly time. We’ve got six weeks until training camp and these things get done at different times. Alex knows we want him here, Alex wants to be here and at the right time things will take shape.”
In an email to the Post-Dispatch, Meehan confirmed “we have had discussions,” but he declined to comment on the negotiations, even in general terms.
from Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
With training camp some six weeks away the Blues have their team, which suggests their biggest move was the one they didn’t make, the one most expected. His publicized quarrel with coach Ken Hitchcock notwithstanding, goaltender Jaroslav Halak is still here, as is veteran Brian Elliott, as is promising Jake Allen.
After Allen showed well in 15 rookie games last season, it seemed likely one of the veterans would go. But the goaltending market was a buyer’s paradise, one that did not lend itself to an impulse trade.
So, sorry Mr. Furley, it’s still Three’s Company where the Blues’ goal is concerned, although Allen appears headed to the American Hockey League for more prep work.
For a team that stepped back, eliminated in the first round of the postseason after going two rounds deep a year before, the summer winds were not especially strong. Or so it seems.
Beneath the surface, the Blues who will report for duty in mid-September are considerably different from the team that started play last January. Reason being, they made their biggest moves last spring, adding defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
It’s believed that he’s asking for something around $7 million per year, which is what it costs to sign that type of player these days.
Well, it comes down to Armstrong’s appetite for risk. It is … limited. He’s learned from the mistakes he made in Dallas. This is not a GM who throws money at a player simply because someone else could and did. He’s a live-within-your-means type of guy in a world where everyone else is trying to keep up the neighbors.
And right now, he’s not ready to handcuff himself to a player who has flirted with superstardom, but isn’t yet at that level. In fact, after putting together a breakthrough campaign in 2011-12 that earned him recognition as a Norris Trophy finalist, the 23-year-old’s play slipped last season, which forces Armstrong to think long and hard about what kind of player Pietrangelo really is before deciding how to handle the restricted free agent.
Can he be that superstar who elevates his play and puts his teammates on his back when it matters most? That’s certainly the consensus among long-suffering Blues fans. Or is he just another really good player, a supporting piece to hold down that spot on the top pair until something better comes along?
Should Armstrong treat Pietrangelo as the face, and future, of the franchise and hand him a seven- or eight-year deal that chains him to the franchise? That’s not the kind of thing he does. His longest offer was the five-year deal given to T.J. Oshie last summer. So does he hedge his bet with a similar offer? Or does he essentially ask Pietrangelo to prove himself with a two-year bridge deal?
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
Three St. Louis sports writers, Dan Greenwald, Bernie Miklasz and Jeff Gordon, have weighed in on David Perron leaving St. Louis for Edmonton, with both Greenwald and Millasz saying Perron was part of a culture of entitlement in the Blues dressing room that needed to change.
Greenwald goes so far as to label the group of St. Louis forwards, including David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund and Perron, as a group that “has already gotten two coaches fired because of what many have seen as a lack of maturity or lack of responsibility.”
The Coach Killer Club?
A harsh assessment, one that seems a bit off to me, given the success of the St. Louis club in recent years.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St, Louis Post-Dispatch,
The Blues are breaking up the Boy Band?
This isn't quite to the level of Justin Timberlake leaving N Sync, but still...
The beguiling forward David Perron, abundantly skilled but overpaid, is headed to Edmonton in exchange for forward Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
I'm good with this.
1. It saves a bunch of money for a financially challenged franchise. Perron was good, but he should have been much better, and his production didn't justify the Blues' investment in him. Perron has three years and $12.25 million remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.8125 million. Perron scored 10 goals last season.
from Brandon Sneed at ESPN,
The East Side Motel on Kingston Road in Toronto seems like the last stop for dying souls, where you're not quite completely gone but way closer than you ever planned. The place is populated with druggies and their dealers. Hookers work the Kingston Road sidewalks, and when they land clients, this is where they book a room. Its rooms are rented by the government -- a place to put families who can't afford anywhere else -- or by the hour. Faded green paint flakes from the walls like ashes. Filmmakers have used the place to show rock bottom.
This is where former NHL first-round picks Anthony and Chris Stewart grew up. Even now, several miles and so many dollars away from East Side and the things that landed them there, they still feel it every day. It haunts them, a chronic sickness. Theirs was Room 29. Their parents, their five sisters and them. A door near their room led to the hotel basement, which had a stocked kitchen. Late at night the brothers broke in and gorged. "It was a nice break from toast, syrup and ketchup," Anthony recalled. "And you know, some days, just ketchup."
Their favorite ways to get some laughs were to throw rocks at hookers and to watch them through the windows having sex, and then run away when they got caught.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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