Appreciate the thoughts. It's maddening not being able to talk to anyone who knows the Blues here.
I hope you guys are right but I'm dubious about our centers. I don't see Lapierre as valuable at all; basic & advanced statistics back that up. The idea of an Ott-Lapierre-Reaves line makes me gag. That's a bad line for possessing the puck, creating offense or staying out of the penalty box. I don't know what to expect from Lindstrom & Lehtera in the NHL and truth told, neither does anyone else.
I see Backes staying at C because I can't fathom Berglund at 3C. If we're lucky, Lindstrom does much better than anyone can expect and slots in there allowing Backes to go back to the wing. I don't find assuming the best case scenario serves me well very often though. Lehtera has more upside than Berglund but he's replacing Sobotka. I'm not convinced that's much of an upgrade. I hope I'm wrong. Injuries and others' underperformance landed Sobotka at 2C for parts of last season-Stastny is DEFINITELY an upgrade there so that's still good. I just thought the approach would be to supplement parts of last season's core that worked. Whereas the club lost one of their most effective centers and penalty killers and retained their two most ineffective forwards, who very much embodied the twin problems of lack of timely scoring and wilting in the playoffs, to larger contracts than they merit. They explain Ott citing grit and locker room presence but let Cracknell and Sobotka walk and trade Polak for a finesse dman coming off surgery. They say Sobotka wanted too much but give Berglund $700K more than he wanted after a bad season. There's so much turnover that I worry about gelling.
Sobotka was, at best, going to be the 3rd line/PK center. That's no longer there but Berglund can play that role.
Sobotka's toughness compensated somewhat for lack of offensive capabilities.
Sobotka outscored (by 1pt) and out-hit (by 22) Berglund playing 17 fewer games.
I think some Blues fans are making excuses for Berglund they would find laughable about a comparable player on another team. He'll make $1M less than Backes next season. Wrap your mind around that.
Ott can eat some PK minutes and center the fourth line.
I suppose he can do PK but I'm not sure why you'd want that. He wasn't good in any way last season-bad corsi, bad possession, bad +/- (can't blame Buffalo), nothing special in FO% and didn't score once for us. His mobility is bad, even worse than it was before, and it will continue to decline. Also, he can only do that if he's not the guy in the box-92 PIM last season. It was his lowest total since '06-07 so there's that.
My enthusiasm for next season has taken a big knock.