The great thing about Christmas as a child is the mystery. That feeling of the unknown leading to joy as you open the hottest toy your parents could afford. As you get older and start getting socks and gift cards, suddenly the mystery is gone.
Not that you miss the toy. You miss the “what if”.
Today is Larry Pleau’s last official day on the job. Tomorrow, July 1st, Doug Armstrong takes his place at the helm. The day that just happens to be the start of unrestricted free agency.
Now the mystery is back.
Pleau was a more than capable General Manager, but fans knew what to expect. Socks and gift cards. Armstrong is a wild card. A deviation from the status quo that has driven the Blues brand of team building. The trades to date show the Armstrong and his directive to be a 180 degree flip. Which hottest toy can the Blues afford? We’ll find out very soon. Got a feeling they are thinking outside the box.
I do think fans need to temper their expectations about what the Blues will do Thursday. What the front office has in mind likely requires a few players to sign to set market prices and/or trade value. Don’t expect to hear the Kovalchuk has signed in St. Louis day one.
In other Blues news…
Blues 2010 14th overall selection Jaden Schwartz was on NHL Live yesterday. Hop over to iTunes to grab the podcast.
Reports confirm 2010 16th overall pick Vladimir Tarasenko will play in the KHL for the 10-11 season.
Gut feeling: Kariya won’t be back in St. Louis, but will end up in Pittsburgh on the cheap.
TSN NHL guru Bob MacKenzie said on his Monday NHL Live interview that he thought the Blues did well at the draft. Saying Tarasenko was Jarmo’s parting gift. A physically mature Russian sniper who will be ready soon.
MacKenzie also floated a potential rumor Today. Involving Eric Brewer returning to Edmonton with Sheldon Sourey as the return. Not sure I care to trade one injury threat for another when the replacement has a longer contract.
TSN’s Darren Dreger also reported today that tbd Blues could be one team in in Mike Modano. I say “yes, please.”
Jeff Carter is not coming to St. Louis. Fans need to move past that hypothetical scenario.
Around the NHL…
The Hamhuis/Gonchar/Penguins discussions continue. I’ve heard rumor that GM Ray Shero might try to retain both. If possible that gives the Pens the top blue line corps in the league. Adding those two to Orpik, Letang, and Goligoski. The only problem is addressing winger needs on the top two lines.
I think Gonchar is stuck on term and money and won’t budge till the market dictates otherwise. Can’t say I blame him. I also don’t blame Shero for not giving in.
Hamhuis in Pittsburgh just makes sense. Best bang for his buck with a legitimate Cup contender. I think this ends up getting done. Even if it’s after Thursday.
If the Ranger’s can’t get Marc Staal taken care of, where does he go? Pittsburgh? Carolina? Could the Blues jump in? Would fit Armstrong’s mold. Tough, young, upside to go.
Anton Volchenkov? Another player who likely has an inflated sense of his open market value. With his lack of offensive upside he shouldn’t be in the $4 million range. Something similar to Scudeti’s deal from LA is a better fit. If he goes for $3.5 million per year it so, he would be worth the signing. Blues would have to move either Jackman or Brewer.