Late to the party as always, but with good reason.
Since the Blues have been eliminated from the playoffs things around my corner have been a bit slow to say the least. Honestly I have not been paying all that much attention to the playoffs because my mind has been elsewhere dealing with some family issues and enjoying a break from everything. In my first full season of blogging you can say I got a bit burnt out. I have been struggling to find time to get to a computer to write and even figure out how to form my opinions on a few things. Also being from St. Louis it is officially time to pay attention to the defending World Series champions Cardinals.
But as time has passed I have come to realize I really miss writing. I miss posting my opinions and the banter back and forth on twitter, which I have barely been on. But a few things have happened that are of importance to the club.
As I had written a while back the Blues finally have an owner. Tom Stillman has finalized the deal to taker over as majority owner. Things have been changing alot with coaching staffs and in the front office. Assistant Coach Scott Mellanby is gone. Off to Montreal to work his magic up there. Not going to lie his absence will most definitely be felt especially on special teams. Also there is talk that President John Davidson is leaving as well. Another vacancy that will be felt as well. JD was originally brought in to bring this team back to being relevant and restore the fan base that had finally had enough after the lock out. JD did exactly what he was brought in for and then some. I personally had met him a few times when attending games, as he would sometimes walk the crowd during games and before them as well. His accessibility and personality meant a lot to this team and the fans. Word out is he could be heading to Columbus which would be a huge boon for the struggling franchise.
Other things happening showing the tides are turning in the Lou is Vladimir Tarasenko made his decision to come to the NHL. This is absolutely huge for the Blues as the Tank is only 20 and has been tearing up the KHL. Now the KHL is no NHL, but it is in my eyes better than the AHL which is the main system for prospects to come up through. During the last juniors world championship he captained his Russian team to a gold medal all while playing pretty hurt. He blazoned a path through the KHL learning from his dad before being traded and destroying teams in the KHL playoffs.
I had asked around on twitter what Tank could bring to this team and @AlexSerenRosso said, “He can easily become a first liner, he has all the tools”. @dchesnokov also said around the same thing. What will be nice is the Blues really have no depth at the position he plays (RW). What it does mean as well is we have probably seen the end of the BJ Crombeen era as well. Not going to lie BJ definitely wore out his welcome with me this year as we had other players that could do his job better than he could.
The nice thing about his decision to make the jump is Doug Armstrong has already said he has a roster spot that is his to lose. So we already know unless he does something completely stupid he is on the opening day roster next season. With what I have seen stat wise from him I would expect he starts on the 3rd line at first, and possibly the second.
Other news that is good is the Blues recently signed Portland Winterhawk standout Ty Rattie to an ELC (entry-level contract). The best thing out of that is we have officially locked him up and have him in camp more than likely to see what he has. Rattie put up HUGE numbers in the WHL this year leading the Hawks to a juniors final and posting over 100 pts this season. He was only second in points behind teammate Sven Bartschi in the playoffs as well.
The Blues are definitely trending in the right direction adding some offense to a squad that was pretty anemic this year. Also remember fans that Jaden Schwartz is also signed and saw time this year at the NHL level. With those 3 coming in next year into camp it should be pretty exciting to watch. Only Schwartz and Tank make the team to me this year meaning there is either going to be some drafts around draft time or some people are just not going to be resigned. I can honestly say that D’Agostini, Stewart, and a couple of others are on the block. Carlo, Porter, Crombeen, and a few others will probably not be resigned either. The disappointment to me is Porter as he had shown he was dynamic enough this year that to me he earned a roster spot but as I have said players coming in are also better than Porter and he might just be a casualty to all of this.
The Blues areas of weakness are starting to be addressed so far this offseason and with the draft coming up I would expect the defensive side of things to be addressed as well. Also look for the RFA’s to be resigned too.