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09-10-2007, 12:45 AM
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Blues 2007 training camp preview

Several young guns will be contending for roster spots when training camp opens on the 13th.

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09-10-2007, 01:29 PM
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1. I fully expect Woywitka to make the Opening Night roster - if he doesn't, I'd be incredibly disappointed.

2. Kana and Lemtyugov aren't going to earn spots for Opening Night in camp, barring a miracle. Kana in particular showed up at the Blues prospect camp in July out of shape, which didn't endear him to management; he'll need plenty of time at Peoria to get into the flow. Lemtyugov may earn himself an early call-up with a good showing - but to expect that either will push Johnson or Hinote out of the lineup is going too far.

3. To part with Rucinsky, he'd have to waive his NTC - and there's no indication that he'll do it right now; besides, I don't see many teams that would be good trading partners that could use him and have the cap space to pick him up off the bat.

The points about Berglund and Perron are spot-on, though; if they can make Blues management sit up at night thinking about how to keep them off the roster, it's sleepless nights that JD and Pleau would love to have to suffer through.

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09-10-2007, 02:11 PM
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One more time..can Berglund "elect" to play in Peoria rather than go back to Sweden if he does not make the Blues roster or not? I have seen it portrayed both ways, and my impression was that he must stay on the Blues roster or return to Sweden...

These young forwards are starting to get real exciting...if Berglund and Perron both end up being even good 65-70 pt. men, that would be huge...add in Oshie, and the Blues have the look of a team attacking in waves in 09-10...maybe even 08-09...

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09-10-2007, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Carl Racki View Post
One more time..can Berglund "elect" to play in Peoria rather than go back to Sweden if he does not make the Blues roster or not? I have seen it portrayed both ways, and my impression was that he must stay on the Blues roster or return to Sweden...

These young forwards are starting to get real exciting...if Berglund and Perron both end up being even good 65-70 pt. men, that would be huge...add in Oshie, and the Blues have the look of a team attacking in waves in 09-10...maybe even 08-09...

I think that Berglund has a clausul wich says that he's not allowed to play in a another league then NHL or Swedish Allsvenskan.

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09-10-2007, 07:01 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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I don't think it's unreasonable that a rookie/prospect could bump a grinder like Hinote out of the line-up, or even Ryan Johnson who's a little more established. In the salary cap era, "young and cheap" will trump "spare parts" more often than not, especially on a rebuilding team. Good teams always have role players, but unless the Blues think they have a legitimate shot at finishing top-6 in the conference, I don't see any reason not to break the young guys in, as long as they're not getting dominated every shift.

I don't anticipate Rucinsky getting beat out of a job by a prospect, I was just throwing the idea out there. IB, would the Blues be able to waive Rucinsky, or does his NTC prevent that as well (ex: is it a no movement clause)?

If Woywitka makes the opening night roster, which seems somewhat probable, where does that leave Matt Walker?

I'm not certain of the details of Berglund's contract with his Swedish club. I've been assuming that he would head back to Sweden instead of going to Peoria if he doesn't make the Blues, but I don't know for sure if he's actually required to do so.

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09-10-2007, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
I don't think it's unreasonable that a rookie/prospect could bump a grinder like Hinote out of the line-up, or even Ryan Johnson who's a little more established. In the salary cap era, "young and cheap" will trump "spare parts" more often than not, especially on a rebuilding team.

That would be a good point, except for the fact that RJ, Hinote and Jammer are NOT spare parts. That line is our Shut Down unit and will typically be lined up against the oppositions 2nd line(AM will put the Kariya/Tkachuk/Boyes line against the oppositions top line to force the other teams "skill" players to play defense).

NO, the "spare parts" in our lineup at the moment are Rucinsky, Cajanek and DJ King(Cajanek and King especially). Those 3 are going to have to earn their spots on the team and JD/AM will not hesitate to send them to Peoria if they come into camp "dogging it".


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Good teams always have role players, but unless the Blues think they have a legitimate shot at finishing top-6 in the conference, I don't see any reason not to break the young guys in, as long as they're not getting dominated every shift.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that JD, Pleau, AM and Al veiw this as a team that can Legitimately challenge for the Division Title so long as we don't get hit hard with injuries.

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I don't anticipate Rucinsky getting beat out of a job by a prospect, I was just throwing the idea out there. IB, would the Blues be able to waive Rucinsky, or does his NTC prevent that as well (ex: is it a no movement clause)?
Rucinsky can be sent to Peoria.
Whether or not we send him there is entirely in Rucinsky' hands.

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If Woywitka makes the opening night roster, which seems somewhat probable, where does that leave Matt Walker?
More likely than not we will carry 8 D men and only 1 "spare" forward(most likely DJ King).

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09-10-2007, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kimzey59 View Post
That would be a good point, except for the fact that RJ, Hinote and Jammer are NOT spare parts. That line is our Shut Down unit and will typically be lined up against the oppositions 2nd line(AM will put the Kariya/Tkachuk/Boyes line against the oppositions top line to force the other teams "skill" players to play defense).

NO, the "spare parts" in our lineup at the moment are Rucinsky, Cajanek and DJ King(Cajanek and King especially). Those 3 are going to have to earn their spots on the team and JD/AM will not hesitate to send them to Peoria if they come into camp "dogging it".




I can tell you with absolute certainty that JD, Pleau, AM and Al veiw this as a team that can Legitimately challenge for the Division Title so long as we don't get hit hard with injuries.



Rucinsky can be sent to Peoria.
Whether or not we send him there is entirely in Rucinsky' hands.



More likely than not we will carry 8 D men and only 1 "spare" forward(most likely DJ King).

The biggest "spare part" that you failed to mention is RJ. DJ will be on this team as an essential cog, he will not be shuttled.

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09-10-2007, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by StLooFrenchy View Post
The biggest "spare part" that you failed to mention is RJ. DJ will be on this team as an essential cog, he will not be shuttled.

1) Did you even read what I wrote?

Ryan Johnson is the best player on the team in regards to the PK, our fastet skater(even with Kariya) and our top Faceoff specialist.
He is our "shut down center and is in no way a "spare part".

2) DJ King will probably be our 13th forward, but I cannot see AM keeping him up here if Rucinsky and Cajanek are playing well and one of Berglund/Linglet/Birner/Lemtyugov/Perron are impressive in camp.

I like King as much as anybody, but he is NOT assured a roster spot.

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09-10-2007, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kimzey59 View Post
1) Did you even read what I wrote?

Ryan Johnson is the best player on the team in regards to the PK, our fastet skater(even with Kariya) and our top Faceoff specialist.
He is our "shut down center and is in no way a "spare part".

2) DJ King will probably be our 13th forward, but I cannot see AM keeping him up here if Rucinsky and Cajanek are playing well and one of Berglund/Linglet/Birner/Lemtyugov/Perron are impressive in camp.

I like King as much as anybody, but he is NOT assured a roster spot.
RJ's are a dime a dozen. Fleet, "shut-down" forwards, like RJ, Hinote, and Jammer, that barely create any offense, are certainly not untouchable. However, tough SOB's that can kick in a goal or two are still a commodity, and Heaven willing, will always be. That being said, I could live without Cajanek and MR also.

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09-10-2007, 08:04 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Originally Posted by kimzey59 View Post
That would be a good point, except for the fact that RJ, Hinote and Jammer are NOT spare parts. That line is our Shut Down unit and will typically be lined up against the oppositions 2nd line(AM will put the Kariya/Tkachuk/Boyes line against the oppositions top line to force the other teams "skill" players to play defense).
Hinote was minus-9 in half a season, he doesn't fight often, and has no offensive upside to speak of. He plays physical I'll give him that. Now, you obviously see more of him than I do, but if Hinote has a mediocre camp and Michal Birner, as an example, lights it up, are the Blues really going to be better off in the long haul by sticking with the veteran? This isn't meant to be "lets bash Dan Hinote", but those types of guys, while you and I both love them for their character and toughness, are a dime-a-dozen. If need be, they (or similar players) can be re-acquired very easily.

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I can tell you with absolute certainty that JD, Pleau, AM and Al veiw this as a team that can Legitimately challenge for the Division Title so long as we don't get hit hard with injuries.
There's no reason to expect Detroit to finish with less than 110 points, as they always seem to do. What they do in the playoffs under the "leadership" of Datsyuk and Zetterberg is an ENTIRELY different story, but as far as the regular season goes, Detroit is money in the bank until they prove otherwise. I think it's unreasonable to expect the Blues to push them for first place. If the Blues stay healthy, I think they could squeek into 7th or 8th. If you are aiming any higher, chances are you are setting yourself up for disappointment. That being said, few expected Vancouver or Pittsburgh to be top-5 in the conference last year, so I guess anything's possible.

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09-10-2007, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by StLooFrenchy View Post
RJ's are a dime a dozen. Fleet, "shut-down" forwards, like RJ, Hinote, and Jammer, that barely create any offense, are certainly not untouchable. However, tough SOB's that can kick in a goal or two are still a commodity, and Heaven willing, will always be.
1) "Fleet, shutdown players" may be a "Dime a Dozen" but that does NOT make them spare parts. There is a reason that every SC winning team in the last decade has had a player or complete line of players in this mold. A Team NEEDS players like this both for their play on the PK(these types of player MAKE a PK unit good) and for the energy they provide the team. A player, or line, in this mold can be the difference between winning and losing a PO series.

2) Jammer, RJ and Hinote are some of the very best players in the League in playing this role. These are not just "run of the mill" grinders. These 3 have the potential to be THE top Grind line in the League.

3) How many goals do you REALLY expect King to score? IMO you are VASTLY overrating this kid. I like King plenty; but he is nowhere NEAR as talented as RJ, Jammer and Hinote. He may be better than your "typical" Enforcer, but IMO he is NOT talented enough to push out one of Jammer/RJ/Hinote out, and it is stupid to keep him up over a skilled player just to be "carrying an enforcer".


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That being said, I could live without Cajanek and MR also.
IMO only one of these two will make the team and a youngster will fill out that line with Weight. THAT is the spot that Birner, Berglund, Lemtyugov, Perron, Linglet and Glumac are fighting for; NOT a spot on the shut down unit.

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09-10-2007, 08:46 PM
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continuing the numbering from above ...

4. I would be completely shocked if the Blues sent Rucinsky to Peoria. Utterly and completely shocked. At $3 million for 2007-08 and with the Blues unable to stash guys on 1-way contracts in the minors without crashing the budget, he won't get assigned unless he's just bad, bad, bad. As kimzey alluded to, it's much more likely he'd be dealt first.
5. Much of Hinote's season was also played during the Mike Kitchen reign of error; it's hard to draw many useful conclusions [if any] about what any player on the Blues roster is capable of doing from that 30-game stretch. As Murray's system took hold, Hinote's shoulder got banged up [yet again] and he sat the back half of the year - so I'd wait to see how he does with Murray as the coach before passing any judgment. Also realize that Hinote has a 3-year deal, and when healthy fills a pretty solid role on the 4th line. The Blues aren't about to throw the towel in on him.
6. That's why Birner stands as much of a chance to crack the roster as Kana: none. Actually, Birner stands a better chance than Kana - which really isn't saying a lot.

Kyle, I think the younger players will start to filter in this season - as injuries occur [and they will occur], guys will get called up and get some experience to the NHL and learn what it takes to be successful. We pretty much have a 4th line set for '08-09 in Mayers-Hinote-King, and the kids we keep talking about don't project as 4th liners ... so it's a perfect situation. They come in, get some experience, and are ready in '08-09 to start filling in the roles they were projected to fill when drafted. The Blues don't need to rush guys in for Opening Night because they're incredibly thin at forward and they've got to go to the younger players, like Phoenix [which is pretty much going to throw the kids to the wolves and let them learn on the fly]. They'll take their time bringing kids along this season; within 2-3 years, most of these guys will either play their way into the lineup or into another organization.

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09-10-2007, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
Hinote was minus-9 in half a season, he doesn't fight often, and has no offensive upside to speak of. He plays physical I'll give him that. Now, you obviously see more of him than I do, but if Hinote has a mediocre camp and Michal Birner, as an example, lights it up, are the Blues really going to be better off in the long haul by sticking with the veteran? This isn't meant to be "lets bash Dan Hinote", but those types of guys, while you and I both love them for their character and toughness, are a dime-a-dozen. If need be, they (or similar players) can be re-acquired very easily.
The problem with your reasoning is that NONE of the players vying for a roster spot are suited to a Checking/Shut down line(Birner is NOT a checker, he is a Dvorak/Orszagh type of 2-way player and Linglet and Glumac are low-end Power Forwards). If you throw one of the youngsters you mentioned into Hinote's spot you will get another Sejna. They are simply not physically suited to playing that role. AM WILL NOT do that. If one of the youngsters wants to earn a spot, they will have to force somebody off of a scoring line. That means Rucinsky and Cajanek are the players to beat.


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There's no reason to expect Detroit to finish with less than 110 points, as they always seem to do. What they do in the playoffs under the "leadership" of Datsyuk and Zetterberg is an ENTIRELY different story, but as far as the regular season goes, Detroit is money in the bank until they prove otherwise. I think it's unreasonable to expect the Blues to push them for first place. If the Blues stay healthy, I think they could squeek into 7th or 8th. If you are aiming any higher, chances are you are setting yourself up for disappointment. That being said, few expected Vancouver or Pittsburgh to be top-5 in the conference last year, so I guess anything's possible.
You are underestimating the Blues and giving the Wings a LOT of credit. IMO they lost LOT of talent this summer, didn't replace any of it and are yet another year older on defense. They have a LOT to prove to me before I say they're a "lock" for anything.

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09-10-2007, 09:06 PM
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I think the first player we may see is Lemtyugov, because he can bolt back to Russia. He can play as well and has more seasoning than the other players mentioned at a higher level.

I have to agree with Kimzey about the Jammer, Hinote, and RJ shut down line. If we play a team with a legit tough guy, then I think one of them will sit. Cajanek and Rucinsky both are very good two way players. McClement and Kariya are also very good penalty killers. Jammer is willing and that's about it. Injuries may open a lot of doors this year. We got a few old guys that are known to miss a few games.

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09-10-2007, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kimzey59 View Post
1) "Fleet, shutdown players" may be a "Dime a Dozen" but that does NOT make them spare parts. There is a reason that every SC winning team in the last decade has had a player or complete line of players in this mold. A Team NEEDS players like this both for their play on the PK(these types of player MAKE a PK unit good) and for the energy they provide the team. A player, or line, in this mold can be the difference between winning and losing a PO series.

2) Jammer, RJ and Hinote are some of the very best players in the League in playing this role. These are not just "run of the mill" grinders. These 3 have the potential to be THE top Grind line in the League.

3) How many goals do you REALLY expect King to score? IMO you are VASTLY overrating this kid. I like King plenty; but he is nowhere NEAR as talented as RJ, Jammer and Hinote. He may be better than your "typical" Enforcer, but IMO he is NOT talented enough to push out one of Jammer/RJ/Hinote out, and it is stupid to keep him up over a skilled player just to be "carrying an enforcer".




IMO only one of these two will make the team and a youngster will fill out that line with Weight. THAT is the spot that Birner, Berglund, Lemtyugov, Perron, Linglet and Glumac are fighting for; NOT a spot on the shut down unit.

Seriously friend, no flaming intended, but PLEASE tone down the condescension and hostility.

Anyone who frequents this board will acknowledge you to be among the most knowledgeable posters on this (and other) forums. But get over yourself already.

The instant anyone posts an opinion you disagree with, you come on all guns blazing, SHOUTING OUT why your opinion is the only one that matters, and anyone who disagrees is ignorant, or should "read your post again".

Your opinions, while well thought out and more on the mark than most of ours, are nonetheless just opinions.

Your opinions are one of the reasons I frequent this board.

Your opinions are also one of the reasons I periodically get turned off from this board.

Perhaps you don't realize you come off this way. In any event, I appreciate your obvious passion for the team we both love. I beg you, however, to show a little compassion for those of us who are less enlightened than you!

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09-10-2007, 09:17 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Jammer, RJ and Hinote are some of the very best players in the League in playing this role. These are not just "run of the mill" grinders. These 3 have the potential to be THE top Grind line in the League.
Come on now. Ryan Johnson is a career minus-80. He has only ever played one full season. He has cracked the elusive 5-goal plateau twice. And he's 31, so he's as good as he's going to get. If he wasn't a great face-off man, he wouldn't be in the NHL.

Dan Hinote, aged 30, is a great 13th forward.

Jamal Mayers is the best of the three, and I hate to go back to plus/minus, because it can be misleading, but he's a minus-60 the last three seasons. That hardly screams defensive responsibility, which is generally a primary attribute of somebody on the "top grind line in the league". He will be 33 early in the season, so he is potentially starting the decline phase of his career.

I could give you some credit if these three guys were in their mid-20s, but they're all past 30 years old, and will definitely not get any better. Once they lose a step, which tends to happen to players in their 30's, they're done in the NHL, plain and simple. To say they are some of the best role players in the league is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

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09-10-2007, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kimzey59 View Post
The problem with your reasoning is that NONE of the players vying for a roster spot are suited to a Checking/Shut down line(Birner is NOT a checker, he is a Dvorak/Orszagh type of 2-way player and Linglet and Glumac are low-end Power Forwards). If you throw one of the youngsters you mentioned into Hinote's spot you will get another Sejna. They are simply not physically suited to playing that role. AM WILL NOT do that. If one of the youngsters wants to earn a spot, they will have to force somebody off of a scoring line. That means Rucinsky and Cajanek are the players to beat.
But is it imperative to have a veteran/grinder 4th line at this point? In a couple of years, I say yes. But right now, I don't see a problem with slotting a more-offensive minded prospect into that spot. Andy Murray is a great teacher. Let him teach a guy like Birner or Lemtyugov the finer points of the game, when there's no pressure to score goals. If they get thrown onto the second line, they're going to have to produce (and it is of course possible that they would). But, if they're getting 8 or 9 minutes a night, learning how to back-check properly, positioning, etc, it could make them more complete players in the long run when they are capable of scoring at a second-line pace.


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You are underestimating the Blues and giving the Wings a LOT of credit. IMO they lost LOT of talent this summer, didn't replace any of it and are yet another year older on defense. They have a LOT to prove to me before I say they're a "lock" for anything.
I'm not underestimating the Blues, I think they have a shot at making the playoffs. But on paper, I would say Detroit, Anaheim, San Jose, Dallas, Colorado, and Calgary are clearly better. Vancouver could get into the playoffs on the strength of Luongo alone, and Minnesota can't be discounted. That's 8 teams right there that it is entirely reasonable to pick ahead of the Blues.

Every year, I too predict Detroit to be a year older and fall off. And every year they prove me wrong and win the division (only to flame out in the playoffs). Sorta like the Atlanta Braves.

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09-10-2007, 10:11 PM
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Kyle, you're putting far too much weight on +/-. No, Mayers hasn't had stellar +/- numbers - and he shouldn't, considering he's been on the 3rd line and was generally going against the other team's top-6 forwards.

'03-04? That was legit - he did suck defensively ... it was also his first year back from blowing out his knee.
'05-06? Yeah, his +/- sucked. Everyone's +/- sucked. It's like the first 30 games of 2006-07; you can't draw much useful out of it.
'06-07? He was -12 pre-Kitchen, -7 post-Kitchen [and -4 in the stretch the Blues were playing under Murray and at near-full strength, when he was playing a more defensive role].


And the Blues are not going to put the kids on the Opening Night roster unless one of them just absolutely outplays a veteran in every way, shape, and form. The team is expecting to make the playoffs, they're not going to use '07-08 as a "learning year" unless the team isn't going to make it. They had to throw away '05-06, and they could have made the playoffs in '06-07 had the team not sucked eggs under Kitchen. So yes ... there's no sense in putting a kid who's got 2nd/3rd line potential on the 4th line just for the sake of getting him some NHL experience; let a veteran who knows how to play on the 4th line do it and give the kid more ice time in Peoria to develop.

Again ... the Blues are in no position and no hurry to get the kids up ASAP - so "why not put them in?" is a complete non-starter. They're not. Outside of Berglund, it's going to take a miracle or an injury for anyone not already penciled onto the starting roster to crack it.

P.S. - it's two (2) full seasons for Ryan Johnson; he split '99-00 with Florida and Tampa Bay but logged 80 games that season. He also played 75 games in '02-03, with 58 in Florida and 17 with St. Louis, which is arguably a 3rd season. He's also played on some pretty lousy teams in that time ... so is it really any surprise his career +/- is a -80? Try looking at last year from when Murray took over - he was even from December 13 to the end of the season - instead of his career and omitting the fact that he actually managed to go +1 with the Panthers in his rookie season and was only -2 with the Blues in '03-04.

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09-10-2007, 11:01 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Kyle, you're putting far too much weight on +/-. No, Mayers hasn't had stellar +/- numbers - and he shouldn't, considering he's been on the 3rd line and was generally going against the other team's top-6 forwards.

'03-04? That was legit - he did suck defensively ... it was also his first year back from blowing out his knee.
'05-06? Yeah, his +/- sucked. Everyone's +/- sucked. It's like the first 30 games of 2006-07; you can't draw much useful out of it.
'06-07? He was -12 pre-Kitchen, -7 post-Kitchen [and -4 in the stretch the Blues were playing under Murray and at near-full strength, when he was playing a more defensive role].
I try to take +/- with a grain of salt, but for defensive-oriented players, it is an important stat. But like I said, I'm not here to crap on the fourth line. I'm merely pointing out that they are adequate, not one of the best in the league, as kimzey suggested.

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let a veteran who knows how to play on the 4th line do it and give the kid more ice time in Peoria to develop.
Absolutely, but if one of the kids shows that they can play in the NHL without it being detrimental to their development, my philosophy is to let them play. This idea was thrown around in another thread; that is, try to break in a couple of rookies this year so that there isn't a flood of them next season. It would not be throwing the season away. If the Blues find themselves hovering near the playoff line at the trade deadline, it isn't hard to snag a veteran role player to provide leadership down the stretch or relieve a rookie who may be starting to fatigue from a long season.

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P.S. - it's two (2) full seasons for Ryan Johnson; he split '99-00 with Florida and Tampa Bay but logged 80 games that season. He also played 75 games in '02-03, with 58 in Florida and 17 with St. Louis, which is arguably a 3rd season.
I stand corrected, I didn't look closely enough.

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09-10-2007, 11:24 PM
  #20
Crumblin Erb Brooks
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Originally Posted by PerryTurnbullfan View Post
I think the first player we may see is Lemtyugov, because he can bolt back to Russia. He can play as well and has more seasoning than the other players mentioned at a higher level.

I have to agree with Kimzey about the Jammer, Hinote, and RJ shut down line. If we play a team with a legit tough guy, then I think one of them will sit. Cajanek and Rucinsky both are very good two way players. McClement and Kariya are also very good penalty killers. Jammer is willing and that's about it. Injuries may open a lot of doors this year. We got a few old guys that are known to miss a few games.
I think Lemtyugov has a good shot of being the first man up, especially if he adapts to the NHL quickly. Ive heard he plays defense better than the average Russian, is this true?

The player Im looking for at camp is Kana, while he did show up at the prospect camp out of shape. He also had some absolute snipes at the camp. And Ive heard he has always been a pretty good effort guy, my guess is some jet lag. I doubt he sees any time in the NHL this year, he'll only be 19 when the season starts, but I think we'll see a more in shape and hustling Kana later this week.

As for the 4th line, I dont see Jammer, Johnson or Hinote being moved, they all are good defensively. And we really dont have anyone in the minors that fits the defensive/grinder 4th line role, maybe Porter in a few years. I think we'll keep King as a reserve this year, I dont really see him getting any better defensively or offensively in the minors, no point in having him take time away from another prospect in Peoria. But when the 4th line starts getting bumps and bruises or if the game looks like it may be a physical one, you should see some King.

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09-10-2007, 11:47 PM
  #21
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No one has mentioned this but I think its the best indication that Jamal Mayers, RJ, and Hinote are going nowhere. The thing is that they all get a lot of money for their respective roles. Mayers and Hinote more so then RJ. They may not be the greatest "shut down" line but Ryan Johnson and Mayers are amazing forecheckers with their speed. Ryan Johnson has probably scored all of his goals by forcing turnovers in the other team's end. Can't say too much about Hinote, don't know him well, but he was a proven winner in Colorado.

Mayers and Hinote get a million at least and Johnson is close. And the thing is that these guys are 10 minute a night players, when the team is at full strength.

So my question is why commit so much to these guys in order to keep them only to treat them as spare parts?

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09-11-2007, 07:21 AM
  #22
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
Hinote was minus-9 in half a season, he doesn't fight often, and has no offensive upside to speak of. He plays physical I'll give him that. Now, you obviously see more of him than I do, but if Hinote has a mediocre camp and Michal Birner, as an example, lights it up, are the Blues really going to be better off in the long haul by sticking with the veteran? This isn't meant to be "lets bash Dan Hinote", but those types of guys, while you and I both love them for their character and toughness, are a dime-a-dozen. If need be, they (or similar players) can be re-acquired very easily.



There's no reason to expect Detroit to finish with less than 110 points, as they always seem to do. What they do in the playoffs under the "leadership" of Datsyuk and Zetterberg is an ENTIRELY different story, but as far as the regular season goes, Detroit is money in the bank until they prove otherwise. I think it's unreasonable to expect the Blues to push them for first place. If the Blues stay healthy, I think they could squeek into 7th or 8th. If you are aiming any higher, chances are you are setting yourself up for disappointment. That being said, few expected Vancouver or Pittsburgh to be top-5 in the conference last year, so I guess anything's possible.
The Wings have plenty of questions going into the season so I don't see it as clear cut as you. How does Kronwell come back? How much will they miss Schneider? The net is going to be a ?

Obviously living in Detroit I am exposed to a ton of Wings talk on sports radio and I can tell you that there is some concern by some people here. I think most people believe the division is very bad and the Wings will win it...simply becasue no one else is any good. That seems to be the common theme.

The Blues are still under the radar and could really surprise teams this year imo.

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09-11-2007, 07:35 AM
  #23
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
I try to take +/- with a grain of salt, but for defensive-oriented players, it is an important stat. But like I said, I'm not here to crap on the fourth line. I'm merely pointing out that they are adequate, not one of the best in the league, as kimzey suggested.

1) This is the single biggest mistake a person can have when it comes to evaluating hockey players. +/- is the single worst stat a person can use when trying to evaluate a players defensive ability. The +/- stat says almost nothing about a players defensive ability; it is meant to illustrate a players 2-way ability(in other words; how good a player is in the transition game). The stats you want to look for when it comes to evaluating defensive ability are take-aways and blocked shots(the stats that the NHL doesn't want to keep anymore).

2) You misread what I wrote. I did not say that the line was the best in the league, I said they had the potential to be the best. If all 3 of those players play to their abilities there is no reason at all that they can't be just as good as the May, Pahlsson, Neidermayer line that most of the "experts" are calling the best checking line in the NHL right now.

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But is it imperative to have a veteran/grinder 4th line at this point? In a couple of years, I say yes. But right now, I don't see a problem with slotting a more-offensive minded prospect into that spot. Andy Murray is a great teacher. Let him teach a guy like Birner or Lemtyugov the finer points of the game, when there's no pressure to score goals. If they get thrown onto the second line, they're going to have to produce (and it is of course possible that they would). But, if they're getting 8 or 9 minutes a night, learning how to back-check properly, positioning, etc, it could make them more complete players in the long run when they are capable of scoring at a second-line pace.

1) There is no chance in hades that Andy Murray will coach this team with a mindset of "look to the future". He coaches to win games and his entire "unique system" is geared towards that aim. He does not give out ice time to unworthy players and he does not put players into roles they are not suited for.

None of the prospects that are vying for roster spots are suited to playing on a checking line; ergo, AM will not even think about putting them there. If those kids want to break the lineup, they will have to push one of our current "scoring line" players out of a job.

2) Where is it writ that Doug Weight's line is the 2nd line? To be honest, if I had to put a label on that line right now I'd have to call it the 3rd line. Weight may be one of our top 4 forwards, but he is playing with(at least IMO) our 3rd string wingers.

The lines that will be carrying the primary offensvie burdens this year are the Kariya-Tkachuk-Boyes line and the Stempy-McClement-Backes line. Weight simply doesn't have the finishing ability on his line to be consider the "#2 line" at this point.



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I'm not underestimating the Blues, I think they have a shot at making the playoffs.
Yes, you are.



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But on paper, I would say Detroit, Anaheim, San Jose, Dallas, Colorado, and Calgary are clearly better.
What "paper" are you looking at?
San Jose and Colorado I'll give you(I'm being very generous by giving you Colrado BTW, their goaltending situation could easily undo the rest of their lineup), but the others?

Detroit-What do they have going for them besides their reputation? They are a 6 PLAYER team(Zet, Dats, Holmstrom, Lidstrom, Rafalski, Hasek). On paper there is no way that Detroit should make the PO's. IF they make it to the postseason it will be because they played to a very strict system and got a LOT of luck in the injury column.

Anahiem- They lost their top 2 players this summer, plus their #3 goal scorer and signed a 38 year old D man and Bertuzzi to replace them. This team has a LOT of questions regarding it's lineup and their youngsters are going to have to step up to fill those voids. Maybe they can do it, but they're going to have to prove it to me before I jump on the Duck bandwagon.

Dallas- Where are their goals coming from again? This team is absolutely pathetic up front. On paper, this team should be competing for a lotto pick next year. They win games because of their adherance to their system; not because of how the team looks on paper. Turco and the D are once again going to have to be rock solid for this team to do anything; and I'm far from convinced that they can do it again with Modano and Lehtinen getting up there in age.

Calgary- Two Words- Mike Keenan.


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Vancouver could get into the playoffs on the strength of Luongo alone, and Minnesota can't be discounted. That's 8 teams right there that it is entirely reasonable to pick ahead of the Blues.
You can spin "reason" any way you want to spin it. The bottom line is that you are giving all of those team the benefit of the doubt in a LOT of areas and not giving the Blues the same credit. I could easily show you "within reason" how the Blues could score 280+ goals and win the Pres Trophy and SC this year, but it's not realistic.

The reality is, the Blues stack up even or better against any team in the League. It will be the "uncertainties" that determine the order of the PO'S. IF the Blues stay healthy; there is absolutely no reason why we can't make the PO's as a 2-5 seed and make a fairly deep run.


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Every year, I too predict Detroit to be a year older and fall off. And every year they prove me wrong and win the division (only to flame out in the playoffs). Sorta like the Atlanta Braves.
I feel the same way, and every year I demand that they prove to me that they can do it again. As a wise man once said; you can only outrun fate for so long. At some point age will catch up to that team; it is inevitable.

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09-11-2007, 12:42 PM
  #24
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
Absolutely, but if one of the kids shows that they can play in the NHL without it being detrimental to their development, my philosophy is to let them play. This idea was thrown around in another thread; that is, try to break in a couple of rookies this year so that there isn't a flood of them next season. It would not be throwing the season away. If the Blues find themselves hovering near the playoff line at the trade deadline, it isn't hard to snag a veteran role player to provide leadership down the stretch or relieve a rookie who may be starting to fatigue from a long season.
This is a long-debated topic here at HF: what serves a prospect better - playing 6-8 minutes a night on the 4th line in the NHL, or 20-24 minutes on the 1st line in the AHL? If we were talking about guys 22 and 23 who had 3-4 years of experience with the North American game, I'd probably say "put him in the NHL." We're not - Kana, Lemtyugov, Birner, Berglund, .... none of them are older than 21, and none of them even 2 years of North American experience. They're much better served starting at Peoria, picking up the NA game and making adjustments there. If they can step to the NHL quickly, fine - but why rush them? As highly touted as they might be, and as high as the hopes are that they'll step in sooner than later, I'd be absolutely shocked if more than Berglund started with the big team, injuries notwithstanding.

But let's say Lemtyugov outplays Hinote and Birner outplays Johnson and Berglund outplays Rucinsky - then what? Again ... the Blues do not have the budget flexibility to just bury those veterans on 1-way deals in the AHL ... and who in the NHL (A) has cap space [or the space within their internal budget] and (B) a need for those guys? Few teams, if any - most teams have maxed out their budgets, cap-constrained or self-restrained; the only way to move a guy out in most cases will be to take someone else's bad contract back - and does that necessarily make things any better?

Yes .... in an ideal world, the Blues would have 2 forward spots open and tell the kids, "go fight it out." They don't - at most, they have one. Yes, I wish JD had been a little less generous with handing out contracts over the last year - but what's done is done, and we'll play with the circumstances as is ... and that means just about everyone will start at Peoria and filter up during the season as needed.

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09-11-2007, 06:16 PM
  #25
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Andy Murray demands all of his players to be responsible two-way hockey players as part of his system so I personally don't see any need for a "shut-down" checking line. In the new era of the NHL teams like Anaheim, Buffalo, Ottawa succeed by rolling out four skilled lines that also have the ability to play sound defensive hockey rather than three decently skilled lines and one spcifically defensive line that has little or no chance of scoring goals.

Having said that I believe that this team will break camp as status quo, but if the top three lines do not score enough to carry the fourth line offensively then all bets are off. The success of this team will depend upon adequate goaltending and whether or not the top 2-3 lines will score enough.

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