Last season, the Blues finished with 225 goals scored. An average of 2.74 goals per game, which was only better than 11 other teams. The offense last season was the primary reason why this team failed to make the playoffs and it needs to be better. The fans know it, the players know it, even the ice girls know it. The only people that don't seem to know it, is the ownership group.
From last season's team, subtract Keith Tkachuk's 13 goals due to his retirement and subtract Paul Kariya's 18 goals since he left via free agency. Next season, you can add...uh...well...nobody. With the Blues snobbily saying that this offseason's list of available free agents, "weren't the right fit for our organization at this time", the rest of the team has to pick up the slack. Granted, neither Tkachuk or Kariya had a good season last year, but combined they scored 31 goals...so the Blues not only have to replace those 31 goals, but they have to get even more scoring elsewhere if they want to make the playoffs.
It seems like its been a long time coming for the two young defensemen. Pietrangelo, drafted 4th overall by the Blues in 2008, has played in the Ontario Hockey League since first putting on a Blues jersey with President John Davidson by his side. He has since played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, scoring 12 points in 2009 to lead all defensemen in the tournament.
Not only has Alex toiled around in the Juniors, but he has seen much time sitting in the press box at Scottrade Center. Sitting 42 games last season as a healthy scratch, the 6'4” 210 lb. defenseman waited until January 6 to be sent back to the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL. He was then traded to the Barrie Colts, who went all the way to the OHL Championship to fall at the hands of the Windsor Spitfire. Pietrangelo added two goals and 14 points in 17 playoff games.
But Pietrangelo is not the only one who has his sights on being a member of the Blues in 2010-11. Notre Dame's Ian Cole has been clawing at the metaphoric cage to break free and be in the Blues' lineup, and now he may have his chance. The 6'2” 218 lb. defenseman had flawlessly shut down top offenses in NCAA hockey for three years, then put on a good debut in nine games in Peoria at the end of last season. Now he is looking to do the same in the NHL.
Last week, Perron signed a two-year, $4.30 million contract, which will pay him $1.80 million in 2010-11 and $2.50 million in 2011-12. That is not too shabby for the Blues, who are locking up a young forward that scored 20 goals and 47 points in his third season.
“David has proven to be a key forward on our club and we look forward to his continued development with us,” said Blues GM Doug Armstrong after the signing. “We are expecting David to grow into a complete player at this level.”
Perron even showed his excitement while “tweeting.” Shortly after the signing, DP_57 shared his thoughts via Twitter.
“Very very excited to be back! I wanna thank all my fans for their support and I am really looking forward to this year!”
Just a few hours after Kovalchuk signed a reported 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils, the Philadelphia Flyers moved one of their most prolific forwards. Simon Gagne was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for former Blue Matt Walker and a fourth-round pick in next year's draft. Because the biggest free-agent forward is off the market and Gagne has finally gotten the trade he has asked for, other forwards are now able to see what kind of money they can demand. Because of this, the once-available forwards are quickly becoming available.
But who is left?
Lee Stempniak is available at the moment. Making $3.50 million in 2009-10, the right-winger ended the season with 14 goals in 18 games after being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes at the trade deadline. With Kovalchuk signed, does that mean that Stempniak now knows how much money he can ask teams for without his asking price being too high?
Stempniak has expressed his plan already to Bucky Gleason of The Buffalo News.
“...at this point I'm just sort of waiting.” Stempniak said. “I'm sitting back, trying to be patient, exploring all the options and trying to make the right decision."
The St. Louis Blues annonced today that they have officially signed Jaroslav Halak to a four year deal worth a reported 15 million dollars.
The deal is structured as follows:
Year one: $2.75 million
Year two: $3.50 million
Year three: $4.25 million
Year four: $4.50 million
The cap hit will be $3.75 million per year for each of the four years.
Halak's camp said they didn't file for salary arbitration because they wanted to negotiate without a deadline.
In other news...
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has been re-signed for two years at $4.25 million. That's a cap hit of $2.125 per season.
Tough guy Cam Janssen has signed a one-year $600k contract extension. There is no word on how this will effect contract negotiations with Blues' enforcer, D.J. King.