Hitch has to go.
Hitch is a good coach. The Blues have a great defensive system and play it well.
Unfortunately, he's not a great coach. He is still fixated on Ott's grit. He churns the forward lines incomprehensibly. At the end of the day, he had one job this year. Win in the playoffs He didn't get the job done.
Army has to go.
The Blues are a good hockey team. They are a deep hockey team. Unfortunately, their good is not good enough and their depth is not deep enough.
His drafting? Good but not great.
His trades? Some good, some bad. One really really awful
His cap management? Pretty good. I will give him that.
In the off season, they traded for Carl Gunnarsson and signed Paul Stastny, Jori Lehtera, and Joakim Lindstrom. During the season they moved Lapierre, Lindstrom, Cole, and Letunov for Goc, Jokinen, Bortuzzo, and Michalek.
Gunnarsson seemed like a great idea but really hasn't been the missing piece for the defense.
Stastny? Last summer I said
"On the plus side, it's not $10.5m. Stastny is a solid two-way center that should fit right into the Blues game plan and culture. On the minus side, $7m is still a lot of jack. The Blues are good enough defensively that I thought a one-dimensional offensive center would bring more value."
16G 30A 46P +5 His career averages point to 21G 40A Even at that, $7m is an overpay.
Lehtera was 14G 30A 44P +21 We projected him to 50+ points. He centered Schwartz and Tarasenko. 44 points.
Lindstrom was a low cost gamble. It didn't pay off. I'm not knocking him for trying.
Getting Goc for Lapierre was a nice upgrade, but if your best move is buffing the 4th line, you're treading water.
Michalek was ok, but was he better than Lindbohm would have been? And he cost a good prospect.
Neither Jokinen nor Bortuzzo saw the ice in the playoffs. Nice pick ups.
The Analytics company must go.
I know the Blues say they are "heavily involved in Analytics". Their approach is, at best, half-assed. Sometimes they ignore them. "We like the grit that (Ott) brings to our organization and his ability to affect the game in ways that aren't seen just on the scoresheet. " Fabulous.
Sometimes they use them stupidly. Juggling his lines and match-ups because of 20 minutes of data that contradicts his intuition doesn't make any sense. Analytics just don't work like that. They complement the coach's decision making. They don't over-rule it.
Honestly, though, the numbers they are getting are garbage. As Rob said the other day, "a manually tracked game with stats available by the time they hit the locker room is an impressive feat. " Yep, it would be. If the numbers were meaningful. They aren't.
The players are to blame here, too. But the cap isn't going up much, if at all. It's going to be nearly impossible to revamp the Blues in the off season. Small changes can be made (and have to be made) but I think it's unduly optimistic to think the Blues are going to have a bunch of new faces come fall. But to every one we can unload on some hapless trade parrtner: