Irish Blues wrote:
glen a richter wrote:
All I care about is that this team is inept at development because they don't control their own AHL franchise and that's a tremendous problem that needs to be addressed.
The bolded part predates the split from Peoria and going to Chicago. Seriously, look at the guys on the current roster and figure out who spent notable time in the AHL. Jake Allen is the "standout" and that was more because he was 3rd on the depth chart behind Halak and Elliott, and arguably he was 4th behind Bishop while we still had Big Ben. Joel Edmundson is your #2 guy, Ryan Reaves is #3. Everyone else? They either went straight from college/juniors to the NHL, made the jump from the AHL in less than 80 games, or washed out.
you give credit for Ian Cole, but he also got shipped between the NHL and AHL for 3 seasons, with a high in any one location in a season of 44 games in 2009-10 and a 2nd highest total of 34 games in the 2011-12 season.)
Our crowning achievement over the last 12 years? Ben Bishop, and at the time he finally got ready for the NHL we were chasing the President's Trophy with Elliott stoning the rest of the league while Halak was the expensive backup as; not a chance in hell we were upsetting that to get Bishop the games needed to prevent him from being a Group VI free agent. The next few best? Roman Polak (87 games over 2 seasons), Jay McClement, Chris Porter, D.J. King, and Jeff Woywitka.
Player development in this franchise has been terrible for years. It's an organizational problem that spans multiple owners and multiple GM's.
Almost everything you listed above happened under the management of Doug Armstrong. Hired in 2008. Ending of the Rivermen was entirely under Armstrong since the beginning of the end was 2011. The Blues have had this partial relationship with Chicago since 2013 - that's 4 years in which Armstrong hasn't found a better partnership.
Elliott, Halak, Bishop, Allen situation - all under Armstrong's leadership.
Ian Cole - drafted before Armstrong, but once leaving Notre Dame, the entire development path was led by Armstrong.
What has Armstrong done to improve the development of prospects in the 10 years (08-17) he's been the general manager? And it's going to be worse this year, not better. It's disgusting to look at other teams and see how strong a relationship they have with their AHL team and see players step in and provide meaningful contributions while Blues prospects stay in the AHL and never truly develop. Of course, keeping a bunch of mediocre players under contract and claiming your team will compete doesn't really help provide opportunities for younger, more talented players.
I don't disagree that player development has been pretty brutal under Armstrong. And trust me, I'm not a fan of Armstrong's general body of work here (especially after you get past the first season here).
Ending the Peoria affiliation - I believe that was a $ decision made by the Checketts regime. I wouldn't pin that on Armstrong. Finding something better? Can't recall what the terms of the original agreement were, but I'm not sure I'd pin that entirely on him either. Even if there was another AHL franchise available that we could have taken over, ownership would have had to sign off on it.
Bishop - see above. Even in the short stint he had in '08-09, there wasn't a sign he was really ready for the NHL. Maybe
you pin him for not having Bishop as the backup to start in '11-12, knowing he needed 15 games in the NHL to not
be an unrestricted free agent - but again, nothing Bishop had done to that point was saying, "he's ready to be an NHL goalie."
Cole, ... ugh. As much as he was maligned here, most people forget that he split his first 3 seasons between St. Louis and Peoria, logging a total of 167 games. Total. Never more than 44 in any one spot, never more than 26 in the NHL. Plus, he was on Hitchcock's short chain every time he made any kind of mistake. He needed to either be in Peoria, or with the Blues - but either way, he needed to be playing every night so he could get comfortable. That, I do blame Armstrong for.
The rest of your last paragraph: totally agree. As noted, if guys haven't jumped straight over (read: been fairly high draft picks getting lobbed into the lineup because they have that much talent / we have that little depth), they're languishing in the AHL and wasting away. (Though, guys like Ty Rattie and Brett Sonne busting aren't a surprise to me; I wanted both dealt before their flaws became apparent.)