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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 7:31 pm 
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If Stillman was as big a fan as he evidently claims to be, he'd put an end to his hands-off approach and start demanding major changes.

If I were the owner, player development on our own un-shared AHL team would be a top priority. I think I'd rip the whole team apart, aside from a few guys, and just rebuild the whole damn thing. Look, there was a time this team went forever without missing the playoffs and what do they have to show for it? Not a damn thing. And again, the highlight of this teams existence was a comeback win in a series they lost. Big freakin' whoop. I'd rather miss the playoffs 5 or 6 years in a row and build a team that can win two or three Cups than make the playoffs every year and flame out when we get there. This is literally the most successful unsuccessful team in sports, if that makes sense.

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:50 am 
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As if anyone needed any more evidence, just look at what the Predators and Penguins are doing right now to know how important depth within the organization is.

It's nuts. The depth within those organizations, the careful care in keeping the pipeline stocked with young talent that can step in and actually make a difference when the inevitable injuries pile up in the playoffs... it's impressive.

Preds have played an NHL record 18 forwards and some of the kids are going to have to carry the mail in the Finals now. Penguins just had some 27 year old "kid" from the minors who just cracked the NHL put up a, what was it? 5 points the other night? Something like that?

I hope Armstrong is taking notes.

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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 5:28 pm 
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WaukeeBlues wrote:
As if anyone needed any more evidence, just look at what the Predators and Penguins are doing right now to know how important depth within the organization is.

It's nuts. The depth within those organizations, the careful care in keeping the pipeline stocked with young talent that can step in and actually make a difference when the inevitable injuries pile up in the playoffs... it's impressive.

Preds have played an NHL record 18 forwards and some of the kids are going to have to carry the mail in the Finals now. Penguins just had some 27 year old "kid" from the minors who just cracked the NHL put up a, what was it? 5 points the other night? Something like that?

I hope Armstrong is taking notes.

Add Tampa to this list. Their AHL/ECHL pipeline is very strong and they almost made the playoffs in spite of missing 4 starting centers down the stretch and their #1 center for most of Feb/Mar/Apr wound up being a rookie who was on the wing on the 4th line to start the season (Brayden Point). Does anyone think the Blues would make the playoffs without Stastny, Brodziak, Berglund, and (I know) Lehtera? IMO, it couldn't hurt to throw new blood into three of those positions, but players aren't developing the skills needed when they are needed. Barbashev was a fine fill in, but was not ready at all for NHL playoff level play. Someone has to prepare players for that somewhere. Yes, some of it is actually experiencing the different level of play, but some it is preparation, too. Management and coaching of this team flat out refuses to promote more skilled players while continuing to play 3rd line players in 9 of the 12 forward positions, even when an injury (Fabbri) provides an opportunity to give a skilled player a real opportunity.

It's not like this guy Agostino was named the AHL MVP or anything. Instead of giving that guy a real role, not just 4th line minutes, he stayed in the AHL. So we have perennially under-performing Paajarvi, waste of space Yakupov, 4th liner Jaskin on any other team in this league if even a 4th liner, and all of them were playing ahead of the AHL MVP. ??? What's that? Agostino plays LW? The same position as Fabbri??

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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:17 am 
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Theohall, did you write this? :grin:

http://www.stlouisgametime.com/2017/5/23/15683646/blues-doug-armstrong-nashville-predators-david-poile

Quote:
As the dust settles on the Blues 2016-2017 season, something became apparently clear. This was a transition year. And then it wasn’t. And then it became one again.

A team that wasn’t expected to make the playoffs in January excelled down the stretch, showing that some quality pieces were, in fact, in place. The Blues responded to their new coach, Mike Yeo, in a way that few fans expected. They upended the Minnesota Wild in five games before losing in six to the Western Conference’s (possibly literally) golden child, the Nashville Predators. The Blues played the type of hockey in round two that many expected them to play in round one, but it wasn’t a crushing defeat. Most games were one goal affairs. A bounce here, a better executed power play there, and the Blues could’ve just’ve easily been facing the Anaheim Ducks in the conference finals.

But they didn’t, and that starts the transition/rebuild talk again.

Listen, we’ve all been in this place before, and we all respond in different ways. Some of us get frustrated by annual defeat, some get angry, and some just shrug and move on. This season, I’ve firmly planted myself in the last group. This season didn’t end as badly as it could’ve, and I didn’t expect greatness or a Cup. I did expect a level of competency, and that was rewarded from February through May.

The level of competency I expect from the team is a level of competency that I expect from the general manager, Doug Armstrong. While the team itself has met my (admittedly tempered) expectations, the general manager has not. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not. I expect him to put together a strong team that has the ability to be a contender; he did not. I expect the team that he does put together to play relatively good hockey. They did.

Unfortunately, he did not put together a team that necessitated an increase in my level of expectations from last season, and that’s a problem. I don’t think that any of you out there feel like he put together a team that necessitated an increase in your level of expectations either.

Now comes the editorializing, which I suppose I’m contributing to. “The Blues need to take inspiration from the Predators!” writes Jeff Gordon. I don’t disagree. As Gordon points out, the Predators’ success wasn’t an overnight process. It took several years of David Poile flipping pieces for prospects and making two major hockey trades (Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen and Shea Weber for P.K. Subban) to get the Preds to the point that they’re at.

So, when you take that into consideration, the Blues can’t accomplish what Nashville did overnight, but they can take steps to start. However, when was the last “hockey trade” that Doug Armstrong pulled off that was a) good or b) an actual “hockey trade?” When was the last splash the Blues made on the trade market or during free agency?

This team has accumulated very, very good players. They’ve managed to have one truly great one in Vladimir Tarasenko, but have shown a predisposition to build a team around him that doesn’t help. The Blues are first ballot inductees into the hall of very good, but when you have a ton of above average third-liners, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Robby Fabbri, and Alex Pietrangelo surrounded with others who don’t make them any better (while, one could argue, these players are made better by the stars - it’s a one way transaction), how can you make it past very good? You can’t. You stagnate.

Until Doug Armstrong shows the shrewdness of Poile, the Blues will be incapable of following Nashville’s lead, much like they were unable to effectively follow the Chicago Blackhawks’. Armstrong created a team that butted up against the cap without the start power of, say, Pittsburgh or Chicago - and without the overall finishing skill of the Predators. That’s an accomplishment.

The draft and development path that Gordon discusses in his article has been working for Armstrong - to a point. But also, like Gordon points out, this team has a lot of dead weight that drags down the draft and develop guys. Until Armstrong stops putting too much faith in the likes of Jori Lehtera, we might as well just accept the Blues as another inductee into the hall of very good.

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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 10:13 am 
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^^

To that point, I also think this management group and coaching staff is TERRIFIED of falling out of the hall of "very good" by taking some potentially risky moves that could place us in the hall of champions.

There's no 2 ways around it, Subban for Weber and Johansen for Jones were risks. Big ones. Calculated, but risks.

Maybe putting in a kid you're not sure he's ready (Colin White on the Senators) instead of the seasoned veteran (Chris Kelly) to give it a shot to give him a chance to show what he has.

About the riskiest thing Armstrong has done is trade Elliott and even then it wasn't all that "risky" because the guy basically demanded the #1 spot or to move him.

Take some damn chances.

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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 9:00 pm 
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gaijin wrote:
Theohall, did you write this? :grin:

Didn't write this, but agree with most. One of his conclusions about Gordon's article is flat out wrong.

Quote:
The draft and development path that Gordon discusses in his article has been working for Armstrong - to a point.


What developed forwards?

Tarasenko - 1st round pick developed in KHL, not by the Blues
Schwartz - 1st round pick developed in NCAA, not by the Blues
Fabbri - 1st round pick made team straight from Juniors, again not Blues development.

What developed defenseman?

Pietrangelo - 1st round pick, Blues kept sending him to Juniors to develop, which the Blues don't control other than sending him there.
Parayko - developed by NCAA, not the Blues unless one wants to count ~19 AHL games when he left college. But he jumped straight to the Blues after his 1st NHL training camp
Edmundson is pretty much the only defenseman to spend significant time in a Blues developmental organization.
Lindbohm - still no better than a 3rd line defenseman.

If Armstrong can keep hitting on 1st round picks, great. But there has been barely any good development (except Parayko, but he was NCAA developed) of lower picks once Blues prospects leave college or juniors. Was Schmaltz ready? After 3 years of NCAA and almost 2 years with the Wolves, No. Was Barbashev ready? No, but he was improving at the AHL level under Craig Berube whose now been fired (but will likely join the Blues staff). Is Paajarvi any better than a 3rd line forward in spite of the time he's spent between the Blues and the AHL? I have zero confidence the Blues will ever have AHL players ready to step in the way it seems to be working for other organizations.

Where in the Blues organization is real development happening? I sure as heck don't know, because it isn't coming from Chicago or the Missouri, now KC, Mavericks. The Blues had to send Vanelli to a different AHL team (Atlanta Gladiators) than the Mavericks, because he couldn't get on the ice there. There is a bang up job of developing someone. It seems like the Blues development path involves spending no money on it and relying on Juniors and the NCAA. All the Blues seem to want from AHL players is to fill-in for injuries, not develop to the point they replace this group of mediocre 3rd liners. This is making me think Tage Thompson probably should have stayed in college. He isn't going to learn anything with the Wolves. Really surprised the Wolves didn't use Kyrou more in the playoffs. Skill at juniors = 1 playoff game with CHI.

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