Kukla's Korner Hockey
This isn't the time to stay the course or to hope for more from the current roster. That plan has brought the Blues to the brink in recent years as a slew of former No. 1 draft picks and other top prospects have matured into legitimate NHL talent.
This isn't the time to hope things get better. This isn't the time to wonder if this is the season that Player A or Player B have breakout years.
-Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat on the St. Louis Blues. Read more on the Blues needing to make a splash this summer.
Eight teams have won a conference semifinal series the last three seasons. Sixteen teams have won at least one game in the second round during that span. The Blues are the most glaring absence from both classes. The franchise has endured 12 years since winning a game in the conference semis.
My gut tells me Armstong will make something happen this summer, maybe this week. The need for scoring and a deeper edge are too obvious. If my gut is wrong, a lot of folks will share the reflux.
-Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where you can read more on the Blues.
PHILADELPHIA - The Blues have agreed to terms on a new three-year contract extension with Patrik Berglund.
Berglund appeared in 78 regular season games in 2013-14, recording 32 points (14 goals and 18 assists). He also appeared in four playoff games.
Overall, Berglund has played in six NHL seasons in St. Louis, compiling 220 points (106 goals and 114 assists) in 436 career regular season games.
from Norm Sanders of the News-Democrat,
"We're going to be active in the free-agent market to see if we can improve our forward group," Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong said Wednesday
The Blues have been linked to potential trade rumors with Ottawa center Jason Spezza and Vancouver center Ryan Kesler and free-agency rumors with Colorado center Paul Stastny, among others.
"I think this is just the time of year where names are circulated and they're not circulated by the teams, they're circulated by social media," Armstrong said. "I feel bad for the players, quite honestly, at this time of the year. There's very little fire behind a lot of smoke with some of these names that you hear."
That being said, Armstrong has never shied away from bold moves. He has traded some big names during his tenure here, including former first overall pick Erik Johnson.
A year ago he shipped out starting goalie Jaroslav Halak and forward Chris Stewart for veteran goalie Ryan Miller. That one didn't work out and Miller is back on the free-agent market, but Armstrong can't be accused of not trying.
Armstrong has also dealt former first-round picks David Perron, David Rundblad and Lars Eller with the Blues still searching for that elusive Stanley Cup championship.
“He’s a really good sort of jack of all trades, he can go up and down in your lineup. Obviously I don’t think there’s any more expanded growth in Steve Ott’s game — he is what he is. We want to do fair contracts, but we don’t want to be anybody’s retirement package.”
-Doug Armstrong, GM of the St. Louis Blues and the possibility of signing soon to be UFA Steve Ott. More on the Blues from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
The NHL’s frenzy of trading and free-agent signings will begin soon, and by now the Blues certainly must realize what they need to do if they want to make a breakthrough as a serious contender for the Stanley Cup.
The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, the Blues’ fellow members of the Western Conference, have each won two Stanley Cups over the past five seasons. And we can continue to stress over goaltending, which obviously is a crucial element in a team’s postseason success.
But the Kings and Blackhawks have used goal-scoring power to grab four Stanley Cups. How do you survive the physical, tight-checking Western Conference rodeo? By having enough players in the stable to emerge and score the big goals at money time....
If the Blues don’t boost their offense this summer, there’s little reason to believe that their performance in the 2015 playoffs will be any different from what we’ve seen over the last three springs.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
If there was one area of concern, it might have been goaltending, as the Blues finished the year with a .913 save percentage, tied for 13th. They traded for Ryan Miller, in the hopes that he would be the answer, but Miller posted a .901 save percentage in 25 (regular season plus playoff) games with the Blues, which didn't alleviate goaltending concerns and prompted the Blues to re-sign Brian Elliott and mark Jake Allen for promotion.
Going with inexpensive goaltending does open up the possibility that the Blues can more readily upgrade their lineup, perhaps with an improvement in the second-line centre spot. While the Blues were tied for sixth in the league with 2.92 goals per game, there is still room to elevate their skill level if they are going to compete with the best.
It's not as though the Blues are incapable of competing with their current roster -- they were challenging for first place overall before losing the last six games of the regular season -- but it's difficult to justify making no improvements to a team that has made it out of the first round once since 2002.
MAY 28, 2014) – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed forward Joakim Lindstrom to a one-year contract.
Lindstrom, 30, has spent parts of the past three seasons with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League (SweHL), including 2013-14, when he posted 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) and 72 penalty minutes in 55 games. A second round pick (41st overall) of Columbus in 2002, the 6’0, 203-pound forward has appeared in five NHL seasons, including stints with Columbus (2005-08), Phoenix (2008-09) and most recently, Colorado (2011-12). Overall, the Skelleftea, Sweden native has recorded 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) and 46 penalty minutes in 97 career NHL games.
via David Pollak of Working the Corners,
... there’s been a lot of speculation across the NHL that Ryan Miller might be a good fit in San Jose now that the St. Louis Blues have told him his services were no longer required.
I’ll agree that he might be if the Sharks were in their usual mode, looking for that one last puzzle piece to get them over the hump.
But Wilson has said that is not where the team is this off-season. That this is the year the Sharks may have to take one step back to eventually move two steps forward. And hard to see their interest in Miller (or his interest in them as far as that goes) because of that.
Sure Wilson could scrap his blueprint if the Sharks were 100 percent certain they were getting the right puzzle piece after all these years. But Miller time in St. Louis – both late in the regular season and in the playoffs – only points them in a different direction.
from Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea,
Adding Miller would run counter to Wilson’s stated goal of getting younger, but the general manager would still have Stalock, who will turn 27 over the summer, as well as prospects Harri Sateri and Troy Grosenick, both 24, getting more experience at the AHL level.
Miller could command between $5-to-$6 million per season, a number that likely dropped after his performance in St. Louis. Term could be an issue, too, as the Sharks probably wouldn't want to go more than two or three years on an aging goaltender. Still, depending on what other moves Wilson makes – he’s already cleared more than $11 million in cap space with Dan Boyle's departure and a buyout Marty Havlat looming – looking into Miller’s potential interest in the Bay Area may be worth doing.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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