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Random Thoughts from a long time Blues fan

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Old
05-19-2004, 11:57 AM
  #1
guitaraholic*
 
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Random Thoughts from a long time Blues fan

Hello All,

Season ticket holder for 26 years here. Have enjoyed lurking the forums and have decided to participate, if you'll have me. I have a particular issue with a couple of things that have been bandied about lately and I'd like to add my coppers worth:

1. Trading Demitra - personally, I'm all for it, but to trade him for a 2nd round pick or something of that nature as some have suggested strikes me as more damaging than anything else. I'd trade Demitra but for an NHL ready player either Pavol's age or younger. Hamrlik or another of the Isle's dmen whom they might have to move, for example, even though with Backman, Jackman, Pronger, Salvador and either Walker or one of the kids or a UFA signing rounding out the group we really don't need dmen. We definately need forwards, however. I'd consider moving Demitra for a pick if that pick was a top 20 in this years draft as well as a solid utility forward in the Nilsson category.

2. The Blues lack speed. They really need to make this their singular focus when revamping this team in the offseason. They used to be a slick, fast skating, transition based team but it's impossible to have a slow transition-based team and that's what the Blues have/had. Speed MUST be injected into that lineup and it'd be nice if it was speed in the form of players who can finish, not fast skaters like R.Johnson and Jammer who don't know what to do with the puck in the scoring zones.

3. Pleau had best be aggressive in finding a solid replacement for Osgood, who has proven, IMO, that he is a mediocre goalie. I'd love to see Pleau move for a Gerber or someone of that ilk but Larry doesn't seem to have that great a 'vision-thing' as a GM, despite some very solid work that he's done during his tenure here.

4. If the Blues cannot move BOTH Tkachuk and Weight there is no point in rebuilding. It can be argued that if they cannot move both Keith and Doug then they darn well better get an NHL ready, impact type player for Demitra because there's absolutely zero point in having three guys in their prime or early 30's making top dollar on a team that's being "rebuilt." Personally I see this as an "all or nothing" proposition. If you can't move them all then you continue to "go for it" while you still have some top players under contract. Rebuilding with Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk and Chris Pronger (who's 5 years younger than those guys but the point still remains) is pointless as by the time our kids are ready for a serious Cup run the contracts on Weight, Tkachuk and possibly Pronger would have expired and in the case of Weight and Tkachuk their days of top production will be gone. This is a fork in the road for the Blues, as was the trading deadline last year, which Pleau botched terribly, IMO.

4. Why does anyone think their will be any UFA activity this summer? Why would/should a team sign anyone when nobody knows when they'll resume play and under what economic conditions. What I see happening is that not a single UFA is signed with the possible exceptions of one or two huge names and a year or so passes the CBA is resolved and then there is a huge rush to sign guys and piece a team together under the known economic limitations.

Just my thoughts. Let's hope Larry has a strong summer and really ameliorates our teams shortcomings, which are, as I see them: youth, speed, depth at forward, something more than a mediocre goalie.

Thanks for reading.

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05-19-2004, 12:46 PM
  #2
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Welcome. From reading your first few posts, I'm glad you've decided to start posting.

Trading Demitra seems to be a really popular idea. The one hang-up I see, is wouldn't the Blues have to qualify him at $6.5M? Maybe I'm just wrong about that. But if they do have to make it a $6.5M qualifying offer, I just don't see how he is tradeable after that, in the sense that I really don't see other teams placing that much value on Demitra. Maybe I'm wrong.

I agree on the Osgood upgrade, I've never liked him and I'm not happy with him as our guy. Granted he wasn't the biggest problem, and I admit he played better than I ever expected him to, but I agree that he is very mediocre, all things considered. Upgrading gets tricky though, given all the dynamics.

What did Pleau botch terribly, in regards to last year's trading deadline? Was it because he didn't end up selling? Or did you have problems with the moves he did make?

I feel like where he botched up was going into the season without replacing the goals that Stillman and Rucinsky provided and relying on too many unknowns as far as scoring (Sejna, Boguniecki, Mellanby, Drake....).

But once he got in that position, and the season played out, I thought his deadline moves were pretty good (since he decided to not be a seller).

Like you, I agree that he needs to have a stellar offseason now, and the cards sure seem stacked against him, given the CBA uncertainty, our lack of tradeable assets and the big salaries that make deals cumbersome.

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05-19-2004, 01:52 PM
  #3
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thanks for your reply. We seem to agree on a number of issues... for example you said:
"I feel like where he botched up was going into the season without replacing the goals that Stillman and Rucinsky provided and relying on too many unknowns as far as scoring (Sejna, Boguniecki, Mellanby, Drake....)."

Which I think sums it up perfectly. Bogy is a real cast aside who is a classic 'tweener' that will not amount to much at the NHL level. I believe the Bogy experiment should be over. While I'd have no objections to him playing in a limited role in the 3rd or 4th lines the days of him playing with Weight or being the scoring winger for Weight are gone. We need that bona fide scorer to round out what must be an excellent top four offensive forwards with a good mix of supporting forwards backing them. We aren't going to go from having 3 legitimate offensive forwards, Weight, Tkachuk and Demitra, to having 6 by next season, I'd imagine. Therefore we need to set our sites on having a great top 4, meaning trading Demitra for O'Neil or an equivalent type of potentially elite, 20something NHL proven forward (and yes I believe Demitra to have trade value of fair signifigance) and adding another winger to play with Weight or something. If the team keeps Demitra, unlikely, they have to add another top forward and revamp their supporting group of forwards to add youth and speed and more finesse skills on the 3rd line. Cajanek, if he could stay healthy, would be a solid start.
The Blues need speed injected into their group of forwards, without a doubt. They need two lines that can score and the ability to get scoring help from the 3rd and 4th lines.
The defence as it stands is basically fine, assuming Jackman can stay healthy.

"What did Pleau botch terribly, in regards to last year's trading deadline? Was it because he didn't end up selling? Or did you have problems with the moves he did make?"

Yes. I had problems with Pleau's midde of the road performance at least years deadline. Personally I think he should have sold everything but Pronger and based on the fact that we lost in the first round it's sort of hard to argue against that, isn't it? We had the playoff seed wrapped up at the deadline, what's the worst that can happen, we lose in the first round? Well, we did anyway. So that *proves* that Pleau made the wrong choices. We didn't win the Cup, we didn't advance into the next round. Therefore, by definition, Pleau's moves were incorrect.
He should have picked a direction and moved strongly in that direction. He did the one thing he could not afford to do: essentially stand pat. He acquired not a single player of real signifigance unless you count Weinrich who played well but should have been picked up months early, as soon as Mac went down and before this team began its descent in the bowels of the standings. Pleau blew that one, too. Anyway, by acquiring a mediocre-to-bad player in Savage and passing on the opportunity to turn aging veterans into future assets as the very apex of those veterans value (Drake NEVER had more value than he did at last year's deadline and the Blues weren't going anywhere with him on the team, obviously) Pleau screwed the pooch in the short term by not acquiring enough assets to really make the Blues a team to deal with in the playoffs and in the long run as well by not giving us assets to rebuild with.
So, bad marks all around for Pleau and the trading deadline. We now have a worst of all possible scenarios: we lose assets like Drake and Mellanby, who at least could have been turned into draft picks, for nothing and we lost in the first round of the playoffs.
So it goes....

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05-19-2004, 01:54 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
Hello All,

Season ticket holder for 26 years here. Have enjoyed lurking the forums and have decided to participate, if you'll have me. I have a particular issue with a couple of things that have been bandied about lately and I'd like to add my coppers worth:

1. Trading Demitra - personally, I'm all for it, but to trade him for a 2nd round pick or something of that nature as some have suggested strikes me as more damaging than anything else. I'd trade Demitra but for an NHL ready player either Pavol's age or younger. Hamrlik or another of the Isle's dmen whom they might have to move, for example, even though with Backman, Jackman, Pronger, Salvador and either Walker or one of the kids or a UFA signing rounding out the group we really don't need dmen. We definately need forwards, however. I'd consider moving Demitra for a pick if that pick was a top 20 in this years draft as well as a solid utility forward in the Nilsson category.

2. The Blues lack speed. They really need to make this their singular focus when revamping this team in the offseason. They used to be a slick, fast skating, transition based team but it's impossible to have a slow transition-based team and that's what the Blues have/had. Speed MUST be injected into that lineup and it'd be nice if it was speed in the form of players who can finish, not fast skaters like R.Johnson and Jammer who don't know what to do with the puck in the scoring zones.

3. Pleau had best be aggressive in finding a solid replacement for Osgood, who has proven, IMO, that he is a mediocre goalie. I'd love to see Pleau move for a Gerber or someone of that ilk but Larry doesn't seem to have that great a 'vision-thing' as a GM, despite some very solid work that he's done during his tenure here.

4. If the Blues cannot move BOTH Tkachuk and Weight there is no point in rebuilding. It can be argued that if they cannot move both Keith and Doug then they darn well better get an NHL ready, impact type player for Demitra because there's absolutely zero point in having three guys in their prime or early 30's making top dollar on a team that's being "rebuilt." Personally I see this as an "all or nothing" proposition. If you can't move them all then you continue to "go for it" while you still have some top players under contract. Rebuilding with Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk and Chris Pronger (who's 5 years younger than those guys but the point still remains) is pointless as by the time our kids are ready for a serious Cup run the contracts on Weight, Tkachuk and possibly Pronger would have expired and in the case of Weight and Tkachuk their days of top production will be gone. This is a fork in the road for the Blues, as was the trading deadline last year, which Pleau botched terribly, IMO.

4. Why does anyone think their will be any UFA activity this summer? Why would/should a team sign anyone when nobody knows when they'll resume play and under what economic conditions. What I see happening is that not a single UFA is signed with the possible exceptions of one or two huge names and a year or so passes the CBA is resolved and then there is a huge rush to sign guys and piece a team together under the known economic limitations.

Just my thoughts. Let's hope Larry has a strong summer and really ameliorates our teams shortcomings, which are, as I see them: youth, speed, depth at forward, something more than a mediocre goalie.

Thanks for reading.
Great post. Welcome to the board.

As for UFAs, signing them in the offseason to a long term deal will depend on the $$s involved. Keep in mind, if there is no NHL next year, the team doesn't have to pay that year's $$$. Further, top end players will still make big $$, because someone will be willing to sign them to that amount. 3 Million for a 2nd line Center isn't bad. I think the 3rd line grinders will be hard up for contracts, but top 6 forwards and top pairing D will still get there money.

As for Osgood, I would perfer Pleau to work on getting some more PROVEN scoring. Osgood wont steal a series, but he will keep us in games. Personally, outside of Jan and Feb, I think Osgood kept us in more games then we deserved to be in (especially in the first 30 games). Before Pleau goes out and brings in a netminder, he needs to decide if Sanford is the future starter (2-3 years from now). If not, go after Garon or someone younger. If Sanford will hold the net, then resign Osgood to a lower $$ contract.

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05-19-2004, 02:35 PM
  #5
Tiger Williams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
thanks for your reply. We seem to agree on a number of issues... for example you said:
"I feel like where he botched up was going into the season without replacing the goals that Stillman and Rucinsky provided and relying on too many unknowns as far as scoring (Sejna, Boguniecki, Mellanby, Drake....)."

Which I think sums it up perfectly. Bogy is a real cast aside who is a classic 'tweener' that will not amount to much at the NHL level. I believe the Bogy experiment should be over. While I'd have no objections to him playing in a limited role in the 3rd or 4th lines the days of him playing with Weight or being the scoring winger for Weight are gone. We need that bona fide scorer to round out what must be an excellent top four offensive forwards with a good mix of supporting forwards backing them. We aren't going to go from having 3 legitimate offensive forwards, Weight, Tkachuk and Demitra, to having 6 by next season, I'd imagine. Therefore we need to set our sites on having a great top 4, meaning trading Demitra for O'Neil or an equivalent type of potentially elite, 20something NHL proven forward (and yes I believe Demitra to have trade value of fair signifigance) and adding another winger to play with Weight or something. If the team keeps Demitra, unlikely, they have to add another top forward and revamp their supporting group of forwards to add youth and speed and more finesse skills on the 3rd line. Cajanek, if he could stay healthy, would be a solid start.
The Blues need speed injected into their group of forwards, without a doubt. They need two lines that can score and the ability to get scoring help from the 3rd and 4th lines.
The defence as it stands is basically fine, assuming Jackman can stay healthy.

"What did Pleau botch terribly, in regards to last year's trading deadline? Was it because he didn't end up selling? Or did you have problems with the moves he did make?"

Yes. I had problems with Pleau's midde of the road performance at least years deadline. Personally I think he should have sold everything but Pronger and based on the fact that we lost in the first round it's sort of hard to argue against that, isn't it? We had the playoff seed wrapped up at the deadline, what's the worst that can happen, we lose in the first round? Well, we did anyway. So that *proves* that Pleau made the wrong choices. We didn't win the Cup, we didn't advance into the next round. Therefore, by definition, Pleau's moves were incorrect.
He should have picked a direction and moved strongly in that direction. He did the one thing he could not afford to do: essentially stand pat. He acquired not a single player of real signifigance unless you count Weinrich who played well but should have been picked up months early, as soon as Mac went down and before this team began its descent in the bowels of the standings. Pleau blew that one, too. Anyway, by acquiring a mediocre-to-bad player in Savage and passing on the opportunity to turn aging veterans into future assets as the very apex of those veterans value (Drake NEVER had more value than he did at last year's deadline and the Blues weren't going anywhere with him on the team, obviously) Pleau screwed the pooch in the short term by not acquiring enough assets to really make the Blues a team to deal with in the playoffs and in the long run as well by not giving us assets to rebuild with.
So, bad marks all around for Pleau and the trading deadline. We now have a worst of all possible scenarios: we lose assets like Drake and Mellanby, who at least could have been turned into draft picks, for nothing and we lost in the first round of the playoffs.
So it goes....
There's nothing written here that I vehemently disagree with.

As for Demitra, I will stick with my uncertainty that after being qualified at $6.5M (if that's the case) that other teams will feel he has that much value. I'm not claiming it won't happen, just that I'm leery of teams holding Demitra in that high esteem at this point, especially with the CBA uncertainty looming.

If one wants to argue wether or not Pleau should have been a buyer or seller at the trade line, everything you say in the above post really can't be argued. He didn't sell, didn't make any big aggressive buys, and the Blues lost in the first round. That makes Pleau look bad, rightfully so, he should be held accountable for that. But the players should be held just as accountable, I don't think Pleau should necessarily take all the blame. The reason he didn't sell, and the reason why he made some moderate moves at the trade deadline to add to the team, was because he believed in the players that were in place--that with a few additions, he had a Cup competitive team. Obviously he was wrong, he didn't, and it shouldn't be ignored that he was wrong. But I for one am equally as disappointed in the players--there was enough there that should have done a lot better. Not enough to be Cup competitive probably, and so I'm fine with the argument that he should have sold. But given that he didn't sell, I thought he did okay with his moves (not great, but okay).

And for the sake of accuracy and fairness, he did also add Sillinger at the deadline, who played really well.

I don't think the Blues had a playoff spot wrapped up at the deadline at all. I feel like that was a very minor point you were making concerning a larger matter, but I feel the need to mention it anyway. Trying to be as objective as possible in all directions.

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05-19-2004, 02:46 PM
  #6
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I appreciate your response.

I'd forgotten Sillinger who did play great for us. Points to Pleau but too little, too late, IMO. He should have picked up Sillinger or a similar player when the team was nosediving. Which, by the way, is one of my major issue's with Pleau from last year: He stood by and did nothing as the team imploded. A good GM would have addressed the obvious shortcomings in the team and that descent could have been moderated by good GMing, IMO.
The reason the Blues decided not to be sellers at the deadline was pretty much exactly because they had the playoff spot wrapped up in the two games prior to the deadline. The day of the deadline they knew they were going to make the playoffs no matter what.

I think Pleau missed a great opportunity to rebuild a team that he didn't, because of injuries and other reasons, have a chance to build into a Cup contender, that's all. I was a big Pleau fan at the beginning of last year but last year's performance got failing marks all around from me, so... I'm hoping he bounces back in the off season. He's the man.

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05-19-2004, 03:15 PM
  #7
Tiger Williams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
I appreciate your response.

I'd forgotten Sillinger who did play great for us. Points to Pleau but too little, too late, IMO. He should have picked up Sillinger or a similar player when the team was nosediving. Which, by the way, is one of my major issue's with Pleau from last year: He stood by and did nothing as the team imploded. A good GM would have addressed the obvious shortcomings in the team and that descent could have been moderated by good GMing, IMO.
The reason the Blues decided not to be sellers at the deadline was pretty much exactly because they had the playoff spot wrapped up in the two games prior to the deadline. The day of the deadline they knew they were going to make the playoffs no matter what.

I think Pleau missed a great opportunity to rebuild a team that he didn't, because of injuries and other reasons, have a chance to build into a Cup contender, that's all. I was a big Pleau fan at the beginning of last year but last year's performance got failing marks all around from me, so... I'm hoping he bounces back in the off season. He's the man.
While not disagreeing with your bigger overall argument, I still like to maintain accuracy in the smaller points.

I'm not sure what you are basing your statements on that the Blues had a playoff spot wrapped up by the deadline. I don't remember it that way at all. I remember not having a playoff spot wrapped up until the 2nd to last day of the season, when the Blues won in Nashville, and prior to that the playoff spot being VERY questionable the entire last half of the season or more.

I went looking for a standings listing as of the trade deadline, couldn't find one in the little time I have, but ran across this article from the recap of the last game the Blues played prior to the deadline, on Sunday, March 7th where the Blues won in Buffalo to move into a tie with L.A. for the 8th spot (and L.A. still had a game in hand on the Blues at the time):

http://cbs.sportsline.com/nhl/gamece...040307_STL@BUF

As I recall Edmonton was already charging at the deadline, so as it was always in doubt wether or not the Blues would make the playoffs.

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05-19-2004, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
I believe the Bogy experiment should be over.
So... we should get rid of a player that had an injury filled year and costs next to nothing? If there's any experiment that should be over, it's the Doug "I'm too good to play for this team" Weight Experiment.

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05-19-2004, 08:18 PM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
Hello All,

Season ticket holder for 26 years here. Have enjoyed lurking the forums and have decided to participate, if you'll have me. I have a particular issue with a couple of things that have been bandied about lately and I'd like to add my coppers worth:
Welcome aboard. Your posts have been interesting so far. We don't see eye-to-eye on some issues, but it'd be sort of boring if everyone agreed on everything. I look forward to a rational, reasonable, mature exchange of ideas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
1. Trading Demitra - personally, I'm all for it, but to trade him for a 2nd round pick or something of that nature as some have suggested strikes me as more damaging than anything else. I'd trade Demitra but for an NHL ready player either Pavol's age or younger. Hamrlik or another of the Isle's dmen whom they might have to move, for example, even though with Backman, Jackman, Pronger, Salvador and either Walker or one of the kids or a UFA signing rounding out the group we really don't need dmen. We definately need forwards, however. I'd consider moving Demitra for a pick if that pick was a top 20 in this years draft as well as a solid utility forward in the Nilsson category.
Like you, I'd move Demitra for a top 20 pick and a decent utility forward, but I have my doubts that teams with such high picks would be willing to surrender one for Demitra. He's proven he can score big in the regular season, but still has to show that he can turn it up when the playoffs start, and that will turn a lot of people off, and bring down his trade value.

I think the Blues will end up keeping Demitra, and playing him with either Cajanek and Tkachuk, or else trading Tkachuk and getting another top center in the return package to play with Demitra.

Demitra is still a relative bargain, even at $6.5 million. I see a few guys making that kind of money, or close to it, whom I would consider to be inferior to Demitra as NHL players -- significantly inferior in some cases, Pierre Turgeon being the most notable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
2. The Blues lack speed. They really need to make this their singular focus when revamping this team in the offseason. They used to be a slick, fast skating, transition based team but it's impossible to have a slow transition-based team and that's what the Blues have/had. Speed MUST be injected into that lineup and it'd be nice if it was speed in the form of players who can finish, not fast skaters like R.Johnson and Jammer who don't know what to do with the puck in the scoring zones.
Couldn't agree more. I've already gone on record here as saying that I'd not be too upset if both Mayers and Johnson were shipped out. I'd prefer to get something -- anything --- in return for them if possible, though...

If the Blues are really serious about going with their own kids, maybe Alexei Shkotov will get a long look at camp. He's supposed to be fast and skilled as all get-out, but he's just not very big. I'd be more inclined to think, however, that Shkotov plays in Worcester next year, on a line with McClement or Troliga at center, and Mike Glumac on the other wing. I'd like to see a unit like that be brought up en masse when they're ready for the NHL, and used as the Blues' own "Kid Line."

Speed and hands should be the two attributes the Blues look for if they decide to invest any money in free agents this summer. There are bound to be a couple of younger, less-established guys who have some wheels and the potential to put up numbers. LP just needs to do his homework and find them, and this is something else we do agree on.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
3. Pleau had best be aggressive in finding a solid replacement for Osgood, who has proven, IMO, that he is a mediocre goalie. I'd love to see Pleau move for a Gerber or someone of that ilk but Larry doesn't seem to have that great a 'vision-thing' as a GM, despite some very solid work that he's done during his tenure here.
I've gone on record as supporting this notion as well, but I'm not as sold on Gerber as you (and some others) seem to be, mainly due to his age. He's only two years younger than Osgood, although considerably cheaper, and he did put up decent numbers (2.26 GAA, 11-12-4, 2 SO, 0.918 save percentage) in 32 appearances with a sub-par Anaheim squad.

I'd take Gerber if he could be gotten cheaply, and by "cheaply" I mean not at the cost of a pick any higher than a third-rounder, or at the cost ofone of the top 11 prospects (IMO Sejna, McClement, Byrne, Barulin, Backes, Belle, Zakharov, Shkotov, Nissinen, Hemingway, FitzGerald -- not necessarily in that order).

I don't know how successful this would be, but I wouldn't be adverse to seeing the Blues put Osgood out to pasture, and getting Barulin and Nissinen over here next year so that they could fight it out with Sanford and Divis, and see where they shook out in terms of the four goaltender positions at St. Louis and Worcester. IMO, if Sanford and Divis aren't ready now, they will probably never be, and the Blues should cut their losses and let them go if that turns out to be the case.

And as far as Pleau and the 'vision thing,' I think Pleau's vision of the Blues as a good young team built from within was just fine, and going according to plan, when the President's Trophy season put stars in upper management's eyes and convinced them -- perhaps incorrectly -- that this team was an expensive piece of the puzzle away from a Cup.

Pleau was on the right track until -- apparently -- getting the mandate from the corner office to "win now." I sincerely doubt that Pleau unilaterally or arbitrarily made the decision to abandon the slow, steady, build-from-within course he had been charting up to that point.

I've defended the Tkachuk trade in the past, but in retrospect, and with 20/20 hindsight, I think that the Blues would have been better off keeping Handzus, Nagy and Taffe, and using that first-rounder in 2002 to take a goalie like Cam Ward, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, or Josh Harding.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
4. If the Blues cannot move BOTH Tkachuk and Weight there is no point in rebuilding. It can be argued that if they cannot move both Keith and Doug then they darn well better get an NHL ready, impact type player for Demitra because there's absolutely zero point in having three guys in their prime or early 30's making top dollar on a team that's being "rebuilt." Personally I see this as an "all or nothing" proposition. If you can't move them all then you continue to "go for it" while you still have some top players under contract. Rebuilding with Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk and Chris Pronger (who's 5 years younger than those guys but the point still remains) is pointless as by the time our kids are ready for a serious Cup run the contracts on Weight, Tkachuk and possibly Pronger would have expired and in the case of Weight and Tkachuk their days of top production will be gone. This is a fork in the road for the Blues, as was the trading deadline last year, which Pleau botched terribly, IMO.
You make a very good point about moving Weight and Tkachuk, and I have long advocated "Jagr-type" deals for both of them, in which the Blues get little of present value, but load up on picks and prospects. That is, of course, unless a real opportunity comes about to move one or both for legitimate current NHL'ers.

The deal I proposed -- Tkachuk, Mayers, Belle to Ottawa for Lalime and Bonk -- and which you raised serious and legitimate concerns about, is just such a deal. The Blues would unload a lot of salary; Lalime is an upgrade over Osgood (although perhaps not as significant an upgrade as I may have envisioned at first);and adding Bonk gives the Blues options at center, including a possible first line made up of three players who can all play the center position (Bonk, Cajanek, Demitra).

If the Blues keep Demitra, I think they almost have to get a big, underachieving center like Bonk, or Nikolai Antropov, to play with him. Either of those guys may well be available for a song in the off-season, as both have apparently worn out their welcome with their current clubs. I believe that Demitra is a good enough NHL player to make either of those guys better, and if you added Tkachuk to the mix, that'd be a top line that is as good as any in the league. Then you'd have Cajanek to play the second line, and I'd start him out with Sejna and Boguniecki just to see if they developed any chemistry. I agree with 210 that it would be a mistake to unload Sejna just because he didn't set the NHL on fire as a rookie.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
4. Why does anyone think their will be any UFA activity this summer? Why would/should a team sign anyone when nobody knows when they'll resume play and under what economic conditions. What I see happening is that not a single UFA is signed with the possible exceptions of one or two huge names and a year or so passes the CBA is resolved and then there is a huge rush to sign guys and piece a team together under the known economic limitations.
I tend to agree with that, but I don't necessarily agree that it will take a year to hammer out a new CBA, and I think that there would be a brief "free-for-all" period after a CBA was agreed to, and before an abbreviated season began, in which teams could pursue free agents.

It would be suicide for the league to allow an entire season to be lost to a labor dispute, and both owners and players have to be smart enough to realize that arguing over who gets the biggest slices of a multi-billon-dollar pie won't play well with Joe Six-Pack who has to take out a second mortgage to buy season tickets.


Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
Just my thoughts. Let's hope Larry has a strong summer and really ameliorates our teams shortcomings, which are, as I see them: youth, speed, depth at forward, something more than a mediocre goalie.
I don't disagree with your major premises, and hope that these issues are addressed. Thanks for participating, and stick around. Your input and insight will be valuable here.

PrussianBlue


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05-19-2004, 10:20 PM
  #10
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1) I disagree with your assesment of Demitra. IMO he is the only one of the big three forwards we should keep. Demitra is the best offensive weapon the Blues have and he has proven his ability to score even without a big guy like Walt on his line. IMO Demitra knows he will not win an arbitration case and will sign for a lower amount on a long term deal(probably in the 4-5 mil range). With that scenario we keep our best offensive player AND lower the payroll. The Blues win in both scenario's.

2) I agree. Team speed was big problem on this years team(mostly because of Mellanby). However, there are a lot of speedy 2-way wingers that will sign for cheap this offseason(Johansson, Arvedsson, Ruchinsky, McAmmond, Zholtok, Miller, Czerkawski) and IMO we should sign 1 or 2 of them. According to Pleau he will approach the offseason as if there will be hockey next year. That means there will be some activity this year as far as FA signing goes.

As for Jammer and Rj; Jammer I'd agree with you on. He has had his chances and proven he has no scoring touch. RJ however I disagree on. IMO he has better hands than people give him credit for. Furthermore, his speed makes him one of our best PK performers and he had a little chemistry going with Rycroft during the last part of the season.

3) I don't see any real upgrades on Osgood being available. All the goalies that might be avialable aren't real upgrades so much as steps sideways. IMO making a move like that is pointless. Unless we find a steal somewhere we should keep Osgood and focus on improving the rest of the team.

4) I agree with the first part(about not rebuilding we can't move both Weight AND Tkachuk) but A) we were in 9th place at the Trade Deadline(2 points out of 8th) and were fighting for a PO spot and B) Pleau added 3 players around the Deadline(Sillinger and Savage within a weeks period and Weinrich 4 weeks prior to the deadline) and all of them made contribution during the last 4 weeks of the season.

5) IMO Pleau will be a player over the course of the offseason. Last Sunday on Sports Plus(or whatever you call it with Steve Savard) Pleau indicated that he will approach the offseason as if there will be Hockey next year. He will probably be looking for cheap players(such as the aforementioned list) that are speedy and play sound defensively.

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05-20-2004, 06:34 PM
  #11
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Great thread. Nice to see some "seasoned" folks dropping in. Always a closet Blues fan myself, and agree completely on Bogunicki. It's not that he's a bad player, he's just not good enough to play the minutes he'll need to score 15.

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05-20-2004, 08:04 PM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
thanks for your reply. We seem to agree on a number of issues... for example you said:
"I feel like where he botched up was going into the season without replacing the goals that Stillman and Rucinsky provided and relying on too many unknowns as far as scoring (Sejna, Boguniecki, Mellanby, Drake....)."

Which I think sums it up perfectly. Bogy is a real cast aside who is a classic 'tweener' that will not amount to much at the NHL level. I believe the Bogy experiment should be over. While I'd have no objections to him playing in a limited role in the 3rd or 4th lines the days of him playing with Weight or being the scoring winger for Weight are gone. We need that bona fide scorer to round out what must be an excellent top four offensive forwards with a good mix of supporting forwards backing them. We aren't going to go from having 3 legitimate offensive forwards, Weight, Tkachuk and Demitra, to having 6 by next season, I'd imagine. Therefore we need to set our sites on having a great top 4, meaning trading Demitra for O'Neil or an equivalent type of potentially elite, 20something NHL proven forward (and yes I believe Demitra to have trade value of fair signifigance) and adding another winger to play with Weight or something. If the team keeps Demitra, unlikely, they have to add another top forward and revamp their supporting group of forwards to add youth and speed and more finesse skills on the 3rd line. Cajanek, if he could stay healthy, would be a solid start.
The Blues need speed injected into their group of forwards, without a doubt. They need two lines that can score and the ability to get scoring help from the 3rd and 4th lines.
The defence as it stands is basically fine, assuming Jackman can stay healthy.

"What did Pleau botch terribly, in regards to last year's trading deadline? Was it because he didn't end up selling? Or did you have problems with the moves he did make?"

Yes. I had problems with Pleau's midde of the road performance at least years deadline. Personally I think he should have sold everything but Pronger and based on the fact that we lost in the first round it's sort of hard to argue against that, isn't it? We had the playoff seed wrapped up at the deadline, what's the worst that can happen, we lose in the first round? Well, we did anyway. So that *proves* that Pleau made the wrong choices. We didn't win the Cup, we didn't advance into the next round. Therefore, by definition, Pleau's moves were incorrect.
He should have picked a direction and moved strongly in that direction. He did the one thing he could not afford to do: essentially stand pat. He acquired not a single player of real signifigance unless you count Weinrich who played well but should have been picked up months early, as soon as Mac went down and before this team began its descent in the bowels of the standings. Pleau blew that one, too. Anyway, by acquiring a mediocre-to-bad player in Savage and passing on the opportunity to turn aging veterans into future assets as the very apex of those veterans value (Drake NEVER had more value than he did at last year's deadline and the Blues weren't going anywhere with him on the team, obviously) Pleau screwed the pooch in the short term by not acquiring enough assets to really make the Blues a team to deal with in the playoffs and in the long run as well by not giving us assets to rebuild with.
So, bad marks all around for Pleau and the trading deadline. We now have a worst of all possible scenarios: we lose assets like Drake and Mellanby, who at least could have been turned into draft picks, for nothing and we lost in the first round of the playoffs.
So it goes....
While I agree with the premise of the thought behind your posts, (all or nothing approach) some of your views are skewed...


Quote:
He acquired not a single player of real signifigance unless you count Weinrich who played well but should have been picked up months early, as soon as Mac went down and before this team began its descent in the bowels of the standings.
Weinrich was brought in because of a circumstantial occurance. He had a no trade clause, and we were one of 2 teams he wanted to go to. The reason he was asked to waive the no-trade-clause was because a Dman had been brought in and he was the odd man out. So an earlier acquisition would have been nearly impossible, and much more than just a 4th (or was it a 5th?)

I do agree that when mac went down he should have looked for a replacement, however had he overpaid to get one immediately you'd be complaining about that. (not a shot at you, and was more of the general "you")

Quote:
So that *proves* that Pleau made the wrong choices.
I understand your point, however only 1/30 GMs make the perfect moves per season.

Other than that I agree with almost all of your points. However you have to remember that politics, unfortunately, now play a huge part. Apparantley Laurie (or maybe it was Sauer, can't remember which I heard) wouldn't give the go-ahead for either a complete buy mode, or dumping off talent for picks/prospects.

Laurie doesn't want to wait to win (JMO). However after years of losing quite a bit of money (I realize he's not in a tough fiscal situation), I don't blame him for not raising the budget, however he's been too flimsy with the payroll. Such as the deadline of getting KT, he said that he'd give the extra cash to win THAT YEAR, so Pleau was almost forced to pick up the biggest name on the market, and the same in the offseason, when he pushed for Sakic, Blake, and Roy, and eventually traded for Weight. Now Laurie and/or Sauer are wanting to slash payroll. Pleau is actually doing an alright job for the odd fiscal position he's in.

IMO he needs to be giving a designated budget for a, let's say, 5 year period. And if there's ever a time where (at the deadline, or for a UFA) he asks to have the payroll slightly increased, he will(should) have to get it back down by (fill in date).

Just some more random thoughts from another random life-long blues fan


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05-23-2004, 07:40 PM
  #13
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Interesting thread with lots of good stuff.

The general tone sounds optimistic and that surprises me a little. Does everyone think the Blues will be competitive next season?

I don't see much good happening for the next few years so I hope Pleau cleans house. Tkachuk and Weight haven't shown championship-style leadership and clutch play. Demitra seems to lack heart in the big games. Osgood is on the downside of his career.

I'm hoping to see lots of new young faces next season and development of prospects in the amateur ranks and a strong draft in June.

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05-23-2004, 07:59 PM
  #14
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I didn't see anything from Osgood to make me believe that he was on the downside of his career. Quite the opposite actually. What I saw was a player that has obviously matured that displayed excellent fundamentals.

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05-23-2004, 08:25 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
I didn't see anything from Osgood to make me believe that he was on the downside of his career. Quite the opposite actually. What I saw was a player that has obviously matured that displayed excellent fundamentals.

Either way it may be better to part ways. I'm not sure really. I think it depends on if we are able to deal Tkachuk and/or Weight.

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05-23-2004, 09:30 PM
  #16
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I'm fine with parting our ways with Osgood and going with a younger netminder. I just dont think that execwrite's assessment of Osgood is accurate.

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05-23-2004, 10:26 PM
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
Hello All,

Season ticket holder for 26 years here. Have enjoyed lurking the forums and have decided to participate, if you'll have me. I have a particular issue with a couple of things that have been bandied about lately and I'd like to add my coppers worth:

1. Trading Demitra - personally, I'm all for it, but to trade him for a 2nd round pick or something of that nature as some have suggested strikes me as more damaging than anything else. I'd trade Demitra but for an NHL ready player either Pavol's age or younger. Hamrlik or another of the Isle's dmen whom they might have to move, for example, even though with Backman, Jackman, Pronger, Salvador and either Walker or one of the kids or a UFA signing rounding out the group we really don't need dmen. We definately need forwards, however. I'd consider moving Demitra for a pick if that pick was a top 20 in this years draft as well as a solid utility forward in the Nilsson category.
.
The Isles will not be trading for Demitra. I think he'd be a great guy to have. I know Demitra did not have a good season (by his standards) but he strikes me as the kind of player who will be productive whereever he goes. The main problem with Demitra is $, and even if the Blues were willing to do an exchange for another expensive player (like Hamrlik) the Isles will not be acquiring any six million players. Its not just a question of balancing out the deal in terms of $, the Isles don't want any more mega contracts.

Personally, I have the feeling that Demitra will remain a Blue, with a more reasonable deal.

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05-24-2004, 06:24 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CuSa_1
Other than that I agree with almost all of your points. However you have to remember that politics, unfortunately, now play a huge part. Apparantley Laurie (or maybe it was Sauer, can't remember which I heard) wouldn't give the go-ahead for either a complete buy mode, or dumping off talent for picks/prospects.
This is something that needs to be discussed more, IMO. As fans, we sometimes forget that money is involved. The Blues had already sunk 58 million into the season (as far as salaries). They could have sold, and gone on a losing streak, got a higher draft pick 12-15 ish. (I would understand if the Blues sold in like January and may have gotten a higher draft pick, but after the top 5, there is a serious drop in tallent/hype drafting 12 or more likely 14 would make some, but not a lot of difference w/ the 17th pick). If we got a lot more picks, instead of prospect, we may have had 2 1st, but the 2nd would have been in the later part of the 1st round. The draft is not deep enough to really get an elite player late in the 1st - granted one might develop.

From a financial standpoint, they have already paid 5/6 of the salaries for all of the players. I would bet that the remaining difference, (10ish - really about 3-4 if you count the dumped salaries) would be made up revenue if the made the playoffs and counted on the continued attendence (who knows, maybe they go on a run). (If you sell, most of the stands will be empty and you have a hard time generating Company ticket/box sales the following season for non-competitive hockey.) Sometimes it's not about making the big $, but limiting the losses.

So to recap: picks while attractive would have been limited in expectation because they would have been late in the 1st round, 2nd, 3rd etc... Financial worries/concerns if the team goes into rebuild mode at the end of the season, where there is limited capital gains and more likely loss.

This is still a business.

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05-24-2004, 10:56 PM
  #19
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Good post Frenzy.

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05-25-2004, 12:25 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frenzy1
This is something that needs to be discussed more, IMO. As fans, we sometimes forget that money is involved. The Blues had already sunk 58 million into the season (as far as salaries). They could have sold, and gone on a losing streak, got a higher draft pick 12-15 ish. (I would understand if the Blues sold in like January and may have gotten a higher draft pick, but after the top 5, there is a serious drop in tallent/hype drafting 12 or more likely 14 would make some, but not a lot of difference w/ the 17th pick). If we got a lot more picks, instead of prospect, we may have had 2 1st, but the 2nd would have been in the later part of the 1st round. The draft is not deep enough to really get an elite player late in the 1st - granted one might develop.

From a financial standpoint, they have already paid 5/6 of the salaries for all of the players. I would bet that the remaining difference, (10ish - really about 3-4 if you count the dumped salaries) would be made up revenue if the made the playoffs and counted on the continued attendence (who knows, maybe they go on a run). (If you sell, most of the stands will be empty and you have a hard time generating Company ticket/box sales the following season for non-competitive hockey.) Sometimes it's not about making the big $, but limiting the losses.

So to recap: picks while attractive would have been limited in expectation because they would have been late in the 1st round, 2nd, 3rd etc... Financial worries/concerns if the team goes into rebuild mode at the end of the season, where there is limited capital gains and more likely loss.

This is still a business.

yes, it is a business, I'm aware of that. I'll refrain from pointing out the obvious if you will. That aside, I think the point you are making, about the supposed revenues that an alleged Cup run would have generated are negated by two facts: the fans would have LOVED to have seen the Blues field a team of youngsters who put out everynight instead of what they clearly felt (rightfully, maybe) were a group of overpaid, underachieving veterans. Regardless of whether or not they would have squeezed a couple million out of the two games they got in the playoffs is almost aside the point particularly when you compare it to the ability to rid yourself of the millions you'd be on the hook for by moving Weight, Tkachuk, etc.
I know hindsight is 20/20 and you always put the best team on the ice but either way I think Pleau failed to fully commit to one course of action or the other. His path was to take the middle ground which to me was the one path he shouldn't have chose.
Either rebuild by dumping all veterans except a few core guys like Pronger, etc., and get what you can for Drake, Mell, Mayers at the deadline or make the substantial investments needed to load the team up for a *real* playoff run.
That's all I'm saying. It came down to two choices: Rebuild at the deadline or load up and make a Cup run. Pleau made a pathetic attempt, or 'insufficient' in less loaded terms, to make additions to the roster for a Cup run but they fell far short. What is clear now and what was clear then, IMO, is that they should have moved Drake, Mell, Baron, Weinrich and anyone other than Pronger, Jackman and Backman and rebuilt the team for a future which is apparently going to be two years away anyway due to the CBA issues.
Pleau was faced with the choice of crapping or getting off the pot. He chose, oddly, neither, and it left us with sort of a mess. It's not that bad of a mess, though, as Pleau has done a good job of building the prospect pool and some other things, but his handling of this past trade deadline and his performance last year overall was terrible... and I've been a longtime Pleau supporter before so I'm not Pleau-hating.

Just my opinions. I hope Pleau has a great offseason.


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05-25-2004, 01:09 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaraholic
yes, it is a business, I'm aware of that. I'll refrain from pointing out the obvious if you will. That aside, I think the point you are making, about the supposed revenues that an alleged Cup run would have generated are negated by two facts: the fans would have LOVED to have seen the Blues field a team of youngsters who put out everynight instead of what they clearly felt (rightfully, maybe) were a group of overpaid, underachieving veterans. Regardless of whether or not they would have squeezed a couple million out of the two games they got in the playoffs is almost aside the point particularly when you compare it to the ability to rid yourself of the millions you'd be on the hook for by moving Weight, Tkachuk, etc.
I know hindsight is 20/20 and you always put the best team on the ice but either way I think Pleau failed to fully commit to one course of action or the other. His path was to take the middle ground which to me was the one path he shouldn't have chose.
Either rebuild by dumping all veterans except a few core guys like Pronger, etc., and get what you can for Drake, Mell, Mayers at the deadline or make the substantial investments needed to load the team up for a *real* playoff run.
That's all I'm saying. It came down to two choices: Rebuild at the deadline or load up and make a Cup run. Pleau made a pathetic attempt, or 'insufficient' in less loaded terms, to make additions to the roster for a Cup run but they fell far short. What is clear now and what was clear then, IMO, is that they should have moved Drake, Mell, Baron, Weinrich and anyone other than Pronger, Jackman and Backman and rebuilt the team for a future which is apparently going to be two years away anyway due to the CBA issues.
Pleau was faced with the choice of crapping or getting off the pot. He chose, oddly, neither, and it left us with sort of a mess. It's not that bad of a mess, though, as Pleau has done a good job of building the prospect pool and some other things, but his handling of this past trade deadline and his performance last year overall was terrible... and I've been a longtime Pleau supporter before so I'm not Pleau-hating.

Just my opinions. I hope Pleau has a great offseason.

nice post, I don't agree with all of it, but your points were well said.

We need another strong draft. I hope to see us move up in the first round.

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