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05-31-2010, 12:19 AM
  #1
Celtic Note
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Player Development / Peoria Coaching

I just wanted to start a thread to discuss our player development strategy or lack thereof (depending upon you perspective). How does our development compare to other teams? What do you like and what do you dislike about what we have been able to do? What are your suggestions?

Was Petro handled correctly in your estimation (I am aware it is too early to know just looking for opinions)? How would you handle Sonne, McRae and Eller at this juncture? Cole?

Also, we can discuss coaching options for Peoria. Who would work well for us?

P.S. Lets take a look at this from all levels...Management, Coaching (AHL NHL...) and we don't just have to discuss prospects, but also players like Backes and some older players.

I don't want this to be simple hindsight and bashing of Blues management, but lets get deep into some philosophies, provide meaningful critiques and have fun with this!

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05-31-2010, 12:40 AM
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I would have like to have seen Petro stay with the team this season, especially since it was obvious we weren't making the playoffs.

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05-31-2010, 02:06 AM
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I would have like to have seen Petro stay with the team this season, especially since it was obvious we weren't making the playoffs.
I think he was ready, but I think he has grown so well that it's difficult for me to argue. He's improved his defensive game, was a man amongst boys at the WJC, and his confidence is sky-high. Hockey is such an intense game, it's mostly between the ears. It seems to me that youngsters performing well is strongly dependent on confidence and properly-measured expectations.

Just because you aren't making the playoffs, that doesn't mean you risk your top prospect's development.

I see a lot of people becoming antsy about the Blues' financial choices and whether or not the future truly is bright - I guarantee this would not be a point of discussion had the Blues made the playoffs, even if they were swept again in the first round. And they were the best team in the league who didn't make the cut! Young, developing teams frequently have setbacks. Sometimes saying "have patience" is a cop-out about a regime that only has hope on its side. That's not the case here. Understanding the strides the team has made in its rebuilding an aging, disintegrating core and having patience go hand in hand.

I STRONGLY agree that the Blues are missing leadership. The team missed Hinote a lot more than anyone seems willing to discuss. And Tkachuk gone is yet another blow. Kariya...I don't care. I wasn't in the lockerroom, but I don't think he provided anything leadership-wise that can be counted as a loss. Maybe speculation on my part, but I can accept that.
I don't even have a problem with Brewer, yet I still think the Blues need Cup-experienced leadership for their best chance at fulfilling their potential.

I know most of that is tangential at best, so I'll say that Eller deserves an NHL spot - or, rather, that I have no doubt that he will earn one out of camp. Sonne just needs more time. He's a good prospect, but was never good enough to have a fast track. A stumble of slow adjustment is an issue, but he was going to get another year of seasoning anyway.

As long as his health is fine, Cole is NHL-ready. Like Pietrangelo, I can't say if putting him in the NHL is best for his development, but that may have more to do with Blues' trepidations about playing so many rookies. We'll just have to see. If he really is ready for the NHL, he'll prove it in the minors and be the first call-up and force the coaches to keep him up.

McRae, I think is a much better prospect than most fans seem to think. He has a quick, accurate shot that he gets away in a hurry. He's not slow and he doesn't shy away from contact. He's a well-rounded player who could end up being part of the necessary flow of depth that seems to come from nowhere for teams as they vie for the Cup. He'll play in the AHL, but I wouldn't be surprised if he got full-time duty before most other forwards, including Sonne.

This does mean that there will be more GOOD prospects at the AHL-level than there have been in a long time for the Blues, so I recognize that coaching there will be more important than ever. But I can't really say who that should be.

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05-31-2010, 01:06 PM
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Great post, rumrokh...

I just want to add a few thoughts of my own here.

Re: Pietrangelo. I agree completely with what you posted; he could have played all year in the NHL, but I think that letting him go back to junior and dominate on a very good Barrie club will have done wonders for his confidence. He was also very good at the World Juniors, and now knows exactly what it takes to compete consistently at a high level.

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
It seems to me that youngsters performing well is strongly dependent on confidence and properly-measured expectations.
Amen to both; Sonne's been mentioned, and I think his development is greatly affected by improperly-measured expectations. More on that in a bit.

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
Just because you aren't making the playoffs, that doesn't mean you risk your top prospect's development.
Agreed again, but I think the Blues may have missed the boat by not keeping Jonas Junland up. I'm pretty sure that the thinking there was, "Peoria's in a fight for the playoffs, and he can definitely help them, so let's keep him there," but I think that, if it were me running things, I'd have kept him up with the Blues after his callup, and had him move in with Nelson Ayotte. Working with him did wonders for Perron in the strength and conditioning department, when he was lacking in both areas.

It remains to be seen if he's sincere about wanting to come back after a year in Sweden, and I'd tentatively agree that playing in the Elitserien might be better for him than playing in the AHL at this point. The kid has been an All-Star both years he's played in the AHL, and there's really not much more he can learn or accomplish there, short of winning a championship.

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I see a lot of people becoming antsy about the Blues' financial choices and whether or not the future truly is bright - I guarantee this would not be a point of discussion had the Blues made the playoffs, even if they were swept again in the first round. And they were the best team in the league who didn't make the cut! Young, developing teams frequently have setbacks. Sometimes saying "have patience" is a cop-out about a regime that only has hope on its side. That's not the case here. Understanding the strides the team has made in its rebuilding an aging, disintegrating core and having patience go hand in hand.
Agreed again. The STL media is, predictably, emphasizing the negative when it comes to the Blues and their financial situation.

Yes, it's a concern, but... if Towerbrook had pulled out entirely, and not committed to stay on until a new primary investor can be found, it would have been a much greater concern; it would have been the disaster that Gordon, etc. are claiming now.

Dave Checketts didn't get where he is by being stupid, or by failing to take advantage of opportunities and contacts along the way. I have no doubt that he'll find someone to take Towerbrook's place... of course, putting a winning team on the ice would go a long way towards helping that search along to a positive conclusion, and sticking to the plan -- as opposed to changing horses in mid-stream again as previous ownership(s) was/were wont to do -- is the best way to get to that winning team and show potential new investors that there's a positive growth opportunity here.

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I STRONGLY agree that the Blues are missing leadership. The team missed Hinote a lot more than anyone seems willing to discuss. And Tkachuk gone is yet another blow. Kariya...I don't care. I wasn't in the lockerroom, but I don't think he provided anything leadership-wise that can be counted as a loss. Maybe speculation on my part, but I can accept that.
Strongly agree with the underlined part especially; guys like Hinote and Dallas Drake bring so much more to an organization beyond the contributions they make on the scoreboard.

My opinion is that the Blues need to focus what resources they have in free agency on finding a veteran leader to come in, take this team by the cojones, and mold guys like Johnson and Backes -- the future leaders -- in his image. Neither of those guys is ready to take the reins yet, but they can be made ready by working with and learning from a veteran leader.

Barret Jackman is pretty much the heart and soul of this team, but for whatever reason, he's either unwilling or unable to step up and take the captaincy. That means that another veteran has to either step up from within, or the Blues need to go get someone from outside the organization who is capable of dong that.

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
I don't even have a problem with Brewer, yet I still think the Blues need Cup-experienced leadership for their best chance at fulfilling their potential.
Brewer is another example of improperly-measured expectations. Fair or not, everyone from John Davidson down to the peanut vendors holds him to the standard of the guy he was traded for, wether they say so or not. And Brewer just isn't Chris Pronger.

He'd probably benefit most from a change of scenery, but since it's unlikely that anyone is going to take on his big contract without wanting to unload an equally-big contract on the Blues, it seems pretty clear that the time has come to take the burden of leadership, and the pressure that goes with it, off of Brewer's shoulders and just let him play his game.

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
I know most of that is tangential at best, so I'll say that Eller deserves an NHL spot - or, rather, that I have no doubt that he will earn one out of camp.
Concur; the Blues need to use Eller as a center, however, rather than as a left wing. I know the organization is short at wing, and if you put Eller there, he'll do his best to perform in that position, but he's far more effective as a center.

Ideally, Eller is the third-line center next year, centering a line that works hard and plays tough, and also has enough firepower that opposing defenses have to prepare for them.

A guy who will be making his pro debut next year is Phil McRae, son of legendary NHL tough guy and ex-Blue Basil McRae. rumrokh's assessment of McRae here is, in my opinion, spot-on:

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
McRae, I think is a much better prospect than most fans seem to think. He has a quick, accurate shot that he gets away in a hurry. He's not slow and he doesn't shy away from contact. He's a well-rounded player who could end up being part of the necessary flow of depth that seems to come from nowhere for teams as they vie for the Cup. He'll play in the AHL, but I wouldn't be surprised if he got full-time duty before most other forwards, including Sonne.
Speaking of Brett Sonne:

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
Sonne just needs more time. He's a good prospect, but was never good enough to have a fast track. A stumble of slow adjustment is an issue, but he was going to get another year of seasoning anyway.
Sonne is a classic case, in my opinion, of improperly-managed expectations. He was drafted with the idea of making him into a third-line center who would work hard and get the odd goal, but then along came his breakout junior year -- which an awful lot of guys have when they're 19 going on 20 and playing against 16-year-olds -- and all of a sudden everyone expects a scoring machine in his first year of pro hockey. And when they don't get it, there are whispers of Sonne being a "bust."

You bet, he struggled out of the gate. It was pretty clear to me watching him in early-season games that he wasn't quite sure what his role was supposed to be, and not being a superior skater to start with, he was having trouble adjusting to the increased speed of the game at the AHL level versus major junior.

By the end of the year, Sonne had really started to figure things out:

SEGMENT ... GP GL AS PT +/- PM PP SH GW ... PT/GM
=========== == == == == === == == == == ... =====
OCT-JAN ... 44 .4 .5 .9 -13 20 .3 .0 .0 ... 0.205
FEB-APR ... 33 .7 .8 15 - 2 13 .3 .0 .1 ... 0.455


rumrokh is correct; Sonne will need at least another year down on the farm to adjust and develop his game. That's hardly unreasonable to expect from a 21-year-old with one pro season under his belt... and one who may well have played somewhat over his head in his last year of junior, on a stacked team with multiple big-time offensive weapons to work with.

In Sonne's first year in Peoria, he hardly had a stacked team, or multiple big-time offensive weapons to work with. In 2010-11, he'll have the additions of Phil McRae (0.27 GPG, 0.68 PPG in his junior career), Anthony Nigro (0.30 GPG, 0.78 PPG in his junior career), Ian Schultz (0.28 GPG, 0.64 PPG in his junior career) and Tyler Shattock (0.31 GPG, 0.74 PPG in his junior career) up front, plus Mark Cundari (0.12 GPG, 0.55 PPG in his junior career) and possibly Pietrangelo (0.21 GPG, 0.87 PPG in his junior career) on the blueline to work with... which speaks to another point rumrokh made:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
This does mean that there will be more GOOD prospects at the AHL-level than there have been in a long time for the Blues, so ... coaching there will be more important than ever.
There sure will be. In addition to the five (possibly six) rookies named above, Jake Allen will be playing in Peoria next year, Adam Cracknell (25 YO, AHL career highs 17-21-38 in 76 GP) will be back, and free-agent Nick Drazenovic (23 YO, career-high 19 goals, 39 points in 58 GP) should be re-signed.

On the blueline, late-season addition Darryl Boyle (23 YO, 8-21-29 in 72 GP; 4-5-9, plus-8 in 20 GP with Peoria) should be back, as should RFA Nate Guenin (27 YO, 68 GP, 5-13-18; 2-11-13, plus-14 in 27 GP with Peoria), who came over in the Steve Wagner trade with Pittsburgh and solidified the Peoria defense.

The Blues should re-sign Tyson Strachan as well, and he may well win a bottom-pairing spot on the NHL roster. If not, he'll be a welcome addition of veteran leadership, girt, and defensive tenacity in Peoria.

Guenin and Chris Porter provide veteran leadership and a taste of NHL experience, and Anthony Peluso is there for toughness, along with free-agents Ryan Reaves and Pierre-Cedric Labrie, if they are re-signed.

Then there's Ian Cole.

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Originally Posted by rumrokh View Post
As long as his health is fine, Cole is NHL-ready. Like Pietrangelo, I can't say if putting him in the NHL is best for his development, but that may have more to do with Blues' trepidations about playing so many rookies. We'll just have to see. If he really is ready for the NHL, he'll prove it in the minors and be the first call-up and force the coaches to keep him up.
Again, in my opinion, spot-on. I would go out on a limb here and say that Cole will start the season in Peoria unless he absolutely wows 'em in camp, but if he plays the way he's capable of playing, he'll be up for a cup of coffee by Christmas, and up to stay by the end of the year.

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05-31-2010, 04:44 PM
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I just wanted to start a thread to discuss our player development strategy or lack thereof (depending upon you perspective). How does our development compare to other teams? What do you like and what do you dislike about what we have been able to do? What are your suggestions?

Was Petro handled correctly in your estimation (I am aware it is too early to know just looking for opinions)? How would you handle Sonne, McRae and Eller at this juncture? Cole?

Also, we can discuss coaching options for Peoria. Who would work well for us?

P.S. Lets take a look at this from all levels...Management, Coaching (AHL NHL...) and we don't just have to discuss prospects, but also players like Backes and some older players.

I don't want this to be simple hindsight and bashing of Blues management, but lets get deep into some philosophies, provide meaningful critiques and have fun with this!
Unlike some, I don't really question the Blues development of their players that much. I think they handled Petro just fine. Sonne performed pretty much exactly as I expected him to last season. As others have pointed out already though, many expected too much from Sonne due to his impressive season in the Dub as a 19 yr old. Watching his game though, he projects as a very nice 3rd liner eventually. Stats can be misleading and I think many expected too much out of Sunne and thus, I'm not surprised they came away disappointed. He's pretty much exactly where I think he should be though. My expectations for him this season would be about a pt every other game while adding energy, tenacity, all out effort, etc.

In hindsight, it would've been nice to see Eller and Junland see a few more games with the big club but again, that's in hindsight. The Blues probably handled them just fine.

I see McRae spending the entire season in Peoria and I hope folks don't expect too much too soon from him as well.

Cole was certainly impressive those few games in Peoria last season but I'd be a little surprised if he made the Blues out of camp. I think he'll get some games in as an injury call-up but for the most part, will likely spend a majority of the season in Peoria.

As for who could be the next Rivs coach, I'm not going to pretend to be overly familiar with a lot of minor league and Jr coaches out there but I would think it would be a good idea to bring in a guy that's still fairly young and has been a successful CHL coach.

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05-31-2010, 07:12 PM
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I completely dissagree with the statement of the Blues missing Hinote and Dallas Drake. Teams can use veteran leadership when the players can still contribute and are an asset to the team. Players like Hinote, Harold Snepts, etc don't offer much in the way of leadership if they can't get it done on the ice. I think this is a topic that many will never agree upon. I understand that you are talking about leadership in "the room" but leaders are guys that can still contribute, not players that see limited ice time. Can they have a positive effect? OK I'll buy it but I think it is very overated. A scott Mellanby that comes in and can still score 20, that's a leader.


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06-01-2010, 12:06 AM
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I completely dissagree with the statement of the Blues missing Hinote and Dallas Drake. Teams can use veteran leadership when the players can still contribute and are an asset to the team. Players like Hinote, Harold Snepts, etc don't offer much in the way of leadership if they can't get it done on the ice. I think this is a topic that many will never agree upon.
I don't mean in their on-ice skills, I mean in the leadership, attitude, and perspective they provide. I agree that Hinote was definitely unproductive at the end of his career with the Blues on ice, but the the team's composure and identity suffered.

Ideally, you get guys like this who can still contribute, like Recchi or Pronger. But that doesn't mean that the team doesn't miss what a guy like Hinote provided on the bench and in the lockerroom.

So, I can buy that you disagree partially or that you agree with specific caveats. But disagreeing completely sounds like hyperbole.

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06-01-2010, 09:56 AM
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I've been ruminating on the coaching vacancy in Peoria, and a close-to-home name that keeps popping into my head is Jeff Brown. Long-time former Blue, coached the STL Bandits to three-straight NAHL titles (and reached the finals for the fourth-consecutive time this year before bowing out)...seems like a capable coach to me, although I'm not sure how well the NAHL junior experience would translate to a pro league like the AHL.

Strickland dropped the name of a fellow named Cooper who coaches in the USHL in a recent blog as well.

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06-01-2010, 03:33 PM
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I've been ruminating on the coaching vacancy in Peoria, and a close-to-home name that keeps popping into my head is Jeff Brown. Long-time former Blue, coached the STL Bandits to three-straight NAHL titles (and reached the finals for the fourth-consecutive time this year before bowing out)...seems like a capable coach to me, although I'm not sure how well the NAHL junior experience would translate to a pro league like the AHL.

Strickland dropped the name of a fellow named Cooper who coaches in the USHL in a recent blog as well.
Good call on Jeff Brown! He had like 7 or 8 seasons of high production in The NHL. He proved himself on the ice and showed his true worth fighting for The Cup with the Canucks. He was one of their best players during that playoff run.

I'm not sure how competitive The NAHL is, so it is hard for me evaluate his coaching abilities. However, a few championships speaks at least one volume.

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06-01-2010, 05:57 PM
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To date Peoria has had a limited number of prospects on their roster every year. They have had goaltender prospects and that has been about it. Last season excluding goalies the prospects were Eller, Junland, Strachan, Sonne and Palushaj. Palushaj missed alot of games due to injury. It is hard to develope players when you don't have anyone to develope. We will see if Eller is ready next training camp. He certainly has the talent. Junland was very close(good on the PP) and Strachan can play in the NHL. Sonne and Palushaj are questionable at this point. Next season the Blues will have Cole, Allen and at least 4 jr forwards if they make the team. Peoria will actually have some players to develope. I think it is fair to say that the ability nto develope talent seems to be fine with a limited # of players to measure results from.

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06-01-2010, 06:03 PM
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To date Peoria has had a limited number of prospects on their roster every year. They have had goaltender prospects and that has been about it. Last season excluding goalies the prospects were Eller, Junland, Strachan, Sonne and Palushaj.
...and Ryan Reaves, and Nick Drazenovic, and Anthony Peluso, and T.J. Fast, and Adam Cracknell, and Julian Talbot.

All under age 25, which makes them "prospects" by HF definition... and all (with the possible exception of Talbot) are legitimate prospects with varying degrees of NHL expectations.

Late-season acquisitions Darryl Boyle and Pierre-Cedric Labrie fit the HF definition for "prospect" as well, and Boyle especially played pretty well in Peoria.

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06-01-2010, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by stlweir View Post
To date Peoria has had a limited number of prospects on their roster every year. They have had goaltender prospects and that has been about it. Last season excluding goalies the prospects were Eller, Junland, Strachan, Sonne and Palushaj. Palushaj missed alot of games due to injury. It is hard to develope players when you don't have anyone to develope. We will see if Eller is ready next training camp. He certainly has the talent. Junland was very close(good on the PP) and Strachan can play in the NHL. Sonne and Palushaj are questionable at this point. Next season the Blues will have Cole, Allen and at least 4 jr forwards if they make the team. Peoria will actually have some players to develope. I think it is fair to say that the ability nto develope talent seems to be fine with a limited # of players to measure results from.
Maybe this was just an oversight, but the Blues traded Palushaj to Montreal at the deadline.

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06-01-2010, 10:54 PM
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...and Ryan Reaves, and Nick Drazenovic, and Anthony Peluso, and T.J. Fast, and Adam Cracknell, and Julian Talbot.

All under age 25, which makes them "prospects" by HF definition... and all (with the possible exception of Talbot) are legitimate prospects with varying degrees of NHL expectations.

Late-season acquisitions Darryl Boyle and Pierre-Cedric Labrie fit the HF definition for "prospect" as well, and Boyle especially played pretty well in Peoria.
Right. Talbot had his big opportunity during the 2008-2009 season and did not develop his skill set enough to advance to a new level. Oh well. He's still a very good hockey player and hopefully he stays with Peoria.

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06-01-2010, 10:57 PM
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To date Peoria has had a limited number of prospects on their roster every year. They have had goaltender prospects and that has been about it. Last season excluding goalies the prospects were Eller, Junland, Strachan, Sonne and Palushaj. Palushaj missed alot of games due to injury. It is hard to develope players when you don't have anyone to develope. We will see if Eller is ready next training camp. He certainly has the talent. Junland was very close(good on the PP) and Strachan can play in the NHL. Sonne and Palushaj are questionable at this point. Next season the Blues will have Cole, Allen and at least 4 jr forwards if they make the team. Peoria will actually have some players to develope. I think it is fair to say that the ability nto develope talent seems to be fine with a limited # of players to measure results from.

Yes, Palushaj is definitely questionable in regards to his chances with The Blues. In fact, I predict that he will never play a single game for St. Louis.

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06-01-2010, 11:02 PM
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We all know Palushaj was dealt to Montreal. He was a legit prospect and a 2nd round pick. Prussian, if you consider T J Fast, Talbot, Reaves and a few others you named as legit NHL prospects then that is your call.

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06-01-2010, 11:09 PM
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Yeah, yeah! Just messin' with ya!

But, I agree that Reaves has been a disappointment so far, although he has time to smarten up and Fast is not good enough for The NHL. That's my opinion. What do I know?

I thought Reaves had the tools and maybe he still does. I think Peoria just pretty much stunk overall last season. Hopefully he can improve because he is kind of like DJ King.

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06-02-2010, 01:48 AM
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If you rule out Talbot as not having what it takes to make The NHL, then you should probably give that tag to T.J. Fast. He's had a lot of time to work on his defence, and he hasn't improved much. I think we've seen what we're going to see out of him. Maybe he should try to become a forward. He certainly has offensive sense.

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06-03-2010, 10:24 AM
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We all know Palushaj was dealt to Montreal. He was a legit prospect and a 2nd round pick. Prussian, if you consider T J Fast, Talbot, Reaves and a few others you named as legit NHL prospects then that is your call.
Understood, but keep in mind that I said:

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...all (with the possible exception of Talbot) are legitimate prospects with varying degrees of NHL expectations.

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06-03-2010, 12:33 PM
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I think Reaves could very well end up as an NHL tough guy.
I think he could rival King in "play" and Janssen in fighting.

Fast could EVENTUALLY be a 7th Dman but I see it more and more unlikely with his lack of development. If he doesn't crack Peoria next season and gets sent back to Alaska, I wouldn't be surprised to not see him in the organization for much longer.

Talbot missed his chance. After his first year in Peoria and a shortened second year, he's regressed.

Boyle's 9 points in his time in Peoria is surprising, but if he EVER makes it to the NHL, I will be baffled.

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06-03-2010, 02:04 PM
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With Allen heading to Peoria the one thing on my wish list would be a competent defensive unit. This past season Bishop, Toivy and later Fallon were hung out to dry routinely due to horrid turnovers and poor coverage. That isn't an ideal environment to develop someone like Allen. I am trying to temper expectations because of the small sample size but Cole could be a huge piece of the Rivermen next year. If you put Cole on the Rivermen last season they would have been playoffs.

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06-03-2010, 03:12 PM
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Bluebeard, thanks for your thoughts. I'm expecting Cundari to make the team as well and will look forward to your observations on the new additions next season.

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06-04-2010, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BlueBeard View Post
With Allen heading to Peoria the one thing on my wish list would be a competent defensive unit. This past season Bishop, Toivy and later Fallon were hung out to dry routinely due to horrid turnovers and poor coverage. That isn't an ideal environment to develop someone like Allen. I am trying to temper expectations because of the small sample size but Cole could be a huge piece of the Rivermen next year. If you put Cole on the Rivermen last season they would have been playoffs.
Qualify that last statement by saying, "If you put Cole on the Rivermen for all of last season they would have been playoffs."

There should be an improved defense next season in Peoria. Cole should be there all year, as should Nate Guenin and Daryl Boyle, the late-season additions that played very well on defense at that level.

Cundari should be there all year as well.

What they need, in my estimation, is a couple of big, physical defensemen. That's something that they don't really have in the system. They have big defensemen, but most of them are more finesse types as opposed to bangers and stay-at-home types. Cundari plays much bigger than he is, but at 5-10, 200 pounds, he's going to be physically overmatched in some cases. Ditto for David Warsofsky, when he comes out of college and starts playing down there, and Kris Berglund, when he comes over from Europe and starts playing down there.

Based on that organizational need, I'd say that if Jarred Tinordi is on the board when the Blues draft at 44th overall in the second round, they'd be fools not to snap him up. I wouldn't spend a first-round pick on him, but if the first round passes without him being selected, I'd seriously investigate trading up as high as possible in the second to take him.

That move won't do anything for the the organization next year -- they'll probably have to look at NCAA and/or junior free agents for that -- but it will address an issue going forward.

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06-04-2010, 12:46 PM
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Qualify that last statement by saying, "If you put Cole on the Rivermen for all of last season they would have been playoffs."
If Cole had turned pro at the end of his Sophomore season and spent all of this past season in Peoria he would have been the difference in the Rivermen making the cut for the playoffs. The Rivs had no one that could play anything that resembled solid defense on the left side until Guenin was brought in. That Wagner for Guenin trade was a great deal for the Rivermen. Getting rid of Richmond and Bell was addition by subraction alone, nevermind getting some quality AHL players back for them.

To make a long story short...I would take and trust Cole's skill set and the growing pains that surely would have happened over the course of an 80 game schedule over any other d-man on that team without any sort of hesitation.

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06-04-2010, 01:31 PM
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Prussian, if young Tinordi plays anything like his dad he would be a great get and moving up in the 2nd round to get him if available would be an excellent move.

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06-04-2010, 05:19 PM
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Prussian_Blue wrote

Re: Pietrangelo. I agree completely with what you posted; he could have played all year in the NHL, but I think that letting him go back to junior and dominate on a very good Barrie club will have done wonders for his confidence. He was also very good at the World Juniors, and now knows exactly what it takes to compete consistently at a high level.


i think this is an excellent comment. The secret to success is being able to compete consistently at a high level. Petrangelo dominated in Barrie and the World juniors. Cundari in Windsor was a key factor in the playoffs and in both back to back Memorial Cup championships. Two very different players but consistency is what they have in common. As well, they both know what it takes to win. The knock on one is his toughness, but that will come with time. The knock on the other is his height, yet he was usually the biggest player on the ice and will continue to grow stronger.

Let's look at 2 other OHL players. Anthony Nigro did not play on the greatest of teams but was very effective. He has excellent puck distribution abilities. He seemed to be a consistent threat whenever he was in the opposition zone. Haven't seen him as often as Alex and Mark, but i was usually impressed. McRae was on very good teams, but always seemed to play in the shadows of players like Tavares, Kadri, Seguin etc. He is better than what we have seen. The media likes to pump certain players more than others. I think he will have a breakout year with Peoria. I like how the future of the Blues and Peoria is shaping up.

Is there any feedback on Anthony Peluso? Will he have a permanent role in Peoria this season? Any thoughts?

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