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01-27-2008, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandur View Post
He has not said so, to my knowledge. This is just wishful thinking on my part.

That said, if the Blues start getting serious about promoting the deserving players in Peoria, they will have a lot more success in getting their European prospects to cross the pond and play, if necessary, in the AHL.

Case in point: Lemtyugov. He's playing fantastic hockey in Peoria right now. Is he ready for the NHL? Perhaps, perhaps not. But if he doesn't get a chance to earn a spot on the big club this year, and he sees guys like Oshie and Berglund jump ahead of him on the depth chart, he probably will go back to Russia. That will only deter our other European players from coming over.

But, say Lemmy gets a call up, performs well, and plays his way onto the NHL squad. Guys like Alexandrov will be encouraged by this, and might be enticed to come over.

Essentially, we need to reassure our prospects that there is upward mobility in the Blues organization for deserving players. Conversely, we need to show our veterans that there will be accountability. That performance is expected, not merely desired. That their big contracts doesn't grant them immunity, or entitle them to take nights off. There are many hungry, motivated kids in the organization that will battle hard to earn and keep a roster spot, as long as they believe it can be done. If not, they will seek greener pastures. Wouldn't you?

A young, enthusiastic team is, IMO, much more exciting to watch than a team of under-performing veterans.
I agree with you 100% here. I just think that with Oshie, Berglund and Lemtyugov all being ahead of Eller in physical maturity, and also all not needing to adapt their game to The North American style, all having played in The Blues' system already and knowing more or less what is expected of them, and there being little extra room to win forward positions, I think it's very unlikely that Eller will make The Blues' NHL roster next season.

If Eller does well in camp and wants to start the season in Peoria, -I will be ecstatic. I'd love to see Nelson Ayotte work closely with him. 6:01 190 is a bit skinny, and I think he's not a really strong 190. After some months in The AHL, he is likely to have a short NHL trial later in the season. But, I just can't see him playing a regular line position for more than 20-25 NHL games next season. And, if I had to bet my house, now, on which country he'd play in the regular season in 2008-09, I'd put my money on Sweden.

But, I'd say that he's a good bet to play in St. Louis in 2009-10 (whether he plays 2 months in Peoria first, or starts in St. Louis).

It's going to be difficult enough to change the forward lines drastically again, to weave in Oshie, Berglund, possibly Lemtyugov, and maybe a player obtained in a trade. I don't think there is room for FOUR different players for Murray to start with short minutes, and coddle along.

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