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Is the D-man fix in Peoria???

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01-20-2008, 05:24 PM
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trublu16
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Is the D-man fix in Peoria???

Everyone has been saying for the most part of this year that the defensemen are not producing on the score sheet. But Murray and company keep sending out the same 6-7 defensemen every game. Minus the few times that Wagner/Walker makes an appearance. Now after looking over on the Rivermen's web site. It appears that just possibly that some help could come from with in the organization.

Jeff Woywitka
43(GP) 10(G) 14(A) 24(Pts) 16(+/-) 0(PP)
His stats appear to have exactly what the guys in St. Louis is missing. +/- and points. But also from the stats, it appears that these points are all 5-on-5. And still has very good +/- for the team.

Steve Wagner
12(GP) 4(G) 4(A) 8(Pts) 3(+/-) 0(PP)
In the short amount of time that he has been with Peoria, it appears he is doing very well down there. And it appears that all his points are on 5-on-5 also.

This is where I need help. I need someone who sees Peoria alot to give the evaluation of these 2 players. Because the reading the news clip and reading box scores do not tell you if these guys are doing the little things that it takes to make it at the next level. So any help would be much appreciated.

So IF these are the ones that can take jobs from the existing D-men in St. Louis. Which ones can we get rid of and will get rid of. Personally I want to get rid of Backman for sure. But I would think that Jackman,Mckee, and Bewer should be the ones that are relocated. Due to there continuously horrible play, granted they may have that one or good games in between the horrible games.

But regardless of what happens this year, the kids in Peoria are making a strong case for next year.

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01-20-2008, 07:35 PM
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General Veers
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I'm sure AM would love to add them to provide a little offense but I think he sees them as hit and miss defensively which means they don't fit his system. Still no excuse for using Walker in so many situations, though.

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01-21-2008, 03:32 PM
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Celtic Note
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Originally Posted by DarthVTEC View Post
I'm sure AM would love to add them to provide a little offense but I think he sees them as hit and miss defensively which means they don't fit his system. Still no excuse for using Walker in so many situations, though.
Yeah, I agree with those thoughts.

I would like to see Wagner up full time, but it might be a good idea to let him get minutes in Peoria.

As for Woyitka, I would like to see him, earlier in the season I heard he was playing well....though inconsistent, so that could pose a problem.

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01-21-2008, 08:17 PM
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trublu16
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Yeah, I agree with those thoughts.

I would like to see Wagner up full time, but it might be a good idea to let him get minutes in Peoria.

As for Woyitka, I would like to see him, earlier in the season I heard he was playing well....though inconsistent, so that could pose a problem.
And that is different from the guys up here pretending to play defense, HOW????

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01-21-2008, 09:18 PM
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I've got a feeling that those guys will be staying down in Peoria for a while if the guys that the Blues are trying to "showcase" for a trade keep giving up 5 goals a game.

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01-22-2008, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by trublu16 View Post
And that is different from the guys up here pretending to play defense, HOW????
I see your point, but he is also inconsistent at the AHL level though. So it could be worse up here.

I would most like to see Wagner or Polak here. But, with Polak's injury this season he could need some time to get re-acclimated. Either way we need to move someone first. The way we are playing now that might be tough.

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01-22-2008, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by WesternCollegeHockey View Post
I've got a feeling that those guys will be staying down in Peoria for a while if the guys that the Blues are trying to "showcase" for a trade keep giving up 5 goals a game.
Exactly.

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01-22-2008, 08:55 AM
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Right now, we could have the following for defense in '08-09 [barring trades and resigning UFA's]: Backman, Brewer, McKee, Johnson, Woywitka, Wagner, and Polak. That's 2/3rds of a future top-6, and we still have Hellstrom in Peoria, Junland who's under contract and will probably jump next year [and is 2-3 years away], and Cole and Fairchild in the system probably 3-4 years away ... and Nikitin [who may or may not ever make the jump - but signs point to him at least considering it this summer]. Johnson, Woywitka, Wagner, and Polak will improve making the blueline better - Woywitka is at the point where if he doesn't make the team next year, he's never going to get a shot here ... it's time to give him a chance and show what he can do. We need some depth to shore up things, and maybe we sign one (1) guy so Polak can have one more year in the AHL to prepare for the big show ... but we're not in desperate need of rushing out and getting someone.

If we deal Backman, then obviously we need to fill his spot [or if we get a legitimate top-4 defenseman, we need to deal Backman] - but we don't need to re-sign Jackman and Salvador and go get someone else. The guys we already have should be enough to hold the fort down, with maybe a depth signing. The kids have to get a shot at some point.

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01-22-2008, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Irish Blues View Post
Right now, we could have the following for defense in '08-09 [barring trades and resigning UFA's]: Backman, Brewer, McKee, Johnson, Woywitka, Wagner, and Polak. That's 2/3rds of a future top-6, and we still have Hellstrom in Peoria, Junland who's under contract and will probably jump next year [and is 2-3 years away], and Cole and Fairchild in the system probably 3-4 years away ... and Nikitin [who may or may not ever make the jump - but signs point to him at least considering it this summer]. Johnson, Woywitka, Wagner, and Polak will improve making the blueline better - Woywitka is at the point where if he doesn't make the team next year, he's never going to get a shot here ... it's time to give him a chance and show what he can do. We need some depth to shore up things, and maybe we sign one (1) guy so Polak can have one more year in the AHL to prepare for the big show ... but we're not in desperate need of rushing out and getting someone.

If we deal Backman, then obviously we need to fill his spot [or if we get a legitimate top-4 defenseman, we need to deal Backman] - but we don't need to re-sign Jackman and Salvador and go get someone else. The guys we already have should be enough to hold the fort down, with maybe a depth signing. The kids have to get a shot at some point.
Who all would be comfortable with that as our D next year? I am not so sure that the brass would. As for me, I am all about the youth movement, but that is a lot of young guys on D next year. If anyone should falter or get injured, which I would believe inevitable, who fills in? Plus is the top four in that group Backman, Brewer, McKee and Johnson? I would be a little wary of those four being albe to hold the fort down. Any of the other three should not be penciled into the top 4, too young and inexperienced (I guess Johnson could be in this category too).

Ideally, I would like to see Wagner move up full time next year and have Polak and Woywitka batteling for the last spot. I would also like to resign either salvy or jax and dump Backman (everyones dream right?).

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01-22-2008, 11:23 AM
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I was simply illustrating who's under contract and/or who we have rights to looking ahead to '08-09, not suggesting we should march into next season with that blueline. As I said above, if Woywitka can't win a spot on the roster in '08-09 he's never going to. I have no problem getting someone to help fill in a spot, but we don't need to re-sign Jackman and/or Salvador and go get a name defenseman AND keep Backman. That's going to all but guarantee Woywitka and Polak are stuck in Peoria for the year, and that's not going to help us out.

We're still rebuilding, making the playoffs this year was a laudable goal but we're letting it slip away right now. Making the playoffs next year should be approached as an absolute necessity.

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01-22-2008, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Irish Blues View Post
I was simply illustrating who's under contract and/or who we have rights to looking ahead to '08-09, not suggesting we should march into next season with that blueline. As I said above, if Woywitka can't win a spot on the roster in '08-09 he's never going to. I have no problem getting someone to help fill in a spot, but we don't need to re-sign Jackman and/or Salvador and go get a name defenseman AND keep Backman. That's going to all but guarantee Woywitka and Polak are stuck in Peoria for the year, and that's not going to help us out.

We're still rebuilding, making the playoffs this year was a laudable goal but we're letting it slip away right now. Making the playoffs next year should be approached as an absolute necessity.
I got ya. Just saying if it did play out that way.

I agree with your comment on Woywitka, next year is decision time.

The playoffs next season should definetly be a goal. We need our young guys to get some playoff experience.

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01-22-2008, 12:08 PM
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trublu16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Blues View Post
Right now, we could have the following for defense in '08-09 [barring trades and resigning UFA's]: Backman, Brewer, McKee, Johnson, Woywitka, Wagner, and Polak. That's 2/3rds of a future top-6, and we still have Hellstrom in Peoria, Junland who's under contract and will probably jump next year [and is 2-3 years away], and Cole and Fairchild in the system probably 3-4 years away ... and Nikitin [who may or may not ever make the jump - but signs point to him at least considering it this summer]. Johnson, Woywitka, Wagner, and Polak will improve making the blueline better - Woywitka is at the point where if he doesn't make the team next year, he's never going to get a shot here ... it's time to give him a chance and show what he can do. We need some depth to shore up things, and maybe we sign one (1) guy so Polak can have one more year in the AHL to prepare for the big show ... but we're not in desperate need of rushing out and getting someone.

If we deal Backman, then obviously we need to fill his spot [or if we get a legitimate top-4 defenseman, we need to deal Backman] - but we don't need to re-sign Jackman and Salvador and go get someone else. The guys we already have should be enough to hold the fort down, with maybe a depth signing. The kids have to get a shot at some point.
If that is our top 7 next season, we definitely in major trouble. Because you can't count on defense from the 3 Amigos of Crapola (Backman, Brewer, McKee), but you sure can count on nothing but costly mistakes. And yeah , 2 are under long term contract, which sucks.

But Salvador is a must for next season, or at least until Polak is performing well in the NHL level.

Here is a crazy idea: Let Woywitka come up and play the remainder of the season, because Backman has had over a half of the season and has done absolutely nothing. So let see what the other part of the Pronger trade has.

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01-22-2008, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by trublu16 View Post
If that is our top 7 next season, we definitely in major trouble. Because you can't count on defense from the 3 Amigos of Crapola (Backman, Brewer, McKee), but you sure can count on nothing but costly mistakes. And yeah , 2 are under long term contract, which sucks.


You seriously need to put down the crack pipe if you think Jay McKee is not a reliable NHL defenseman, and that he's good for "nothing but costly mistakes."

P_B


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01-22-2008, 01:31 PM
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We need to trade off Jackman and/or Salvador IF they can't be resigned at reasonable salaries. If Jackman wants $4 million, he should not be resigned. Then, with Rucinsky's, Cajanek's, Drake's, Jackman's and/or Salvador's or Backman's salary gone, the additional under cap room can be used to pay a veteran UFA or traded for offensive defenceman, to run the power play. preferably, that player is obtained by trade rather than in a UFA bidding war.

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01-22-2008, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by trublu16 View Post
If that is our top 7 next season, we definitely in major trouble.
Let me re-state this for a 2nd time:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Blues View Post
I was simply illustrating who's under contract and/or who we have rights to looking ahead to '08-09, not suggesting we should march into next season with that blueline.
For the 3rd time ... at some point, the kids we have need to get a shot. By continually doing the, "let's get a guy to hold down the fort until they're ready" thing, the guys we already have will never get the chance to show that they're really ready. Every year we'll hear "next year, we'll give 'em a shot" and then it'll be "they're 25/26 and couldn't crack the team, they're never going to do it - time to cut the line and go fishing elsewhere." At some point, "next year" has to be "this year" and these guys need to show whether they can sink or swim so we know what direction we need to move in with respect to player development, signings, trades, etc.

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01-22-2008, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Prussian_Blue View Post


You seriously need to put down the crack pipe if you think Jay McKee is not a reliable NHL defenseman, and that he's good for "nothing but costly mistakes."

P_B

Agreed. McKee is very solid in his zone, and has shown more offensive awareness in the offensive zone than I expected. He's made a couple of really nice centering passes off the rush for goals. Murray's pairing of McKee with EJ was not an accident. He wanted the kid paired with someone that would cover up EJ's mistakes, and mentor him along the way.

To say that Brewer is only good for mistakes, is a stretch also. He plays pretty strong in his end most of the time. Yes, he goes braindead once in a while, but that happens.
He does a lot of good stuff also.
His biggest problem is he needs to forget about trying to be an offensive defensemen. He just isn't, and is not going to be one. He's horrible at the point, and most of his end to end rushes end up being turnovers. If the Blues could afford to keep him restricted to a defensive role - he could end up being an all-star.

Backman is what he is. We all saw all that physical skill as a rookie, and said, wow - is this kid going to be something when he takes the next step! It's looking like there just is no next step. He's capable of playing at a very high level for short periods of time. It just seems like he cannot keep the intensity flame lit for more than a couple of games in a row. It's a shame too, because he seems like a really nice guy, and I think he wants to do better, but sometimes you either have the fire burning in your belly, or you don't.

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01-22-2008, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by barnburner View Post
Agreed. McKee is very solid in his zone, and has shown more offensive awareness in the offensive zone than I expected. He's made a couple of really nice centering passes off the rush for goals. Murray's pairing of McKee with EJ was not an accident. He wanted the kid paired with someone that would cover up EJ's mistakes, and mentor him along the way.

To say that Brewer is only good for mistakes, is a stretch also. He plays pretty strong in his end most of the time. Yes, he goes braindead once in a while, but that happens.
He does a lot of good stuff also.
His biggest problem is he needs to forget about trying to be an offensive defensemen. He just isn't, and is not going to be one. He's horrible at the point, and most of his end to end rushes end up being turnovers. If the Blues could afford to keep him restricted to a defensive role - he could end up being an all-star.

Backman is what he is. We all saw all that physical skill as a rookie, and said, wow - is this kid going to be something when he takes the next step! It's looking like there just is no next step. He's capable of playing at a very high level for short periods of time. It just seems like he cannot keep the intensity flame lit for more than a couple of games in a row. It's a shame too, because he seems like a really nice guy, and I think he wants to do better, but sometimes you either have the fire burning in your belly, or you don't.

Nice points there. Don't think I can disagree with one of them. It would do us wonders if we could get Backman off the team. I am not saying he is terrible. I just think this team needs to balance the type of d we have. Other than EJ, unless Wagner or Woywitka make it next year, we have no other offensive d. Is Brewer capable..I guess, but like Barnburner stated he is better suited as a defensive defenseman. McKee, Jax, Salvy, and Polak are defensive d. Backman is a limited two way d guy, who I think falls more under the defensive d at this point.

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01-26-2008, 02:23 PM
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Randall Ritchey
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The only real, "offensive" upside to Brewer, is he can handle the puck decently. He can carry it into the zone, but he isn't an offensive defenseman so he needs to give up on that.

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01-26-2008, 02:45 PM
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We should not forget that we are, in fact, in the middle of a re-build. Every defenseman currently playing in St. Louis, with the exception of EJ and possibly Salvador, should be considered replaceable.

Wagner, Polak and Woywitka aren't the only capable blue liners in the system. DuPont has come on strong lately and is scoring goals. Brooks may also be deserving of consideration. Hellstrom undoubtedly needs more experience, but I refuse to believe he could possibly be any worse than the veterans.

Damn the torpedoes. If we have a prospect capable of out-performing one of our veterans, then let's get down to business and cut out the dead wood. At this point, it doesn't make us any less competitive.

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