It’s still the off-season, but as camps creep closer and pre-season pops up on our September calendars, stuff is... stuff is not picking up for the Blues. But it could at any moment.
We’re taking advantage of the protracted lull with some more Game Time Mail Bag - if you have anything that you would like to ask us, please shoot us an email at hildymacgt at gmail dot com, or just use the #GameTimeMailBag hashtag on Twitter. Questions may have been edited for clarity.
Our first email comes from David Lawrence, who asks:
Would you rather take the bet that the Blues have a 35 goal scorer or that they have SIX 20 goal guys? You could make the case for O’Reilly, Perron, Pavel (Erin) Brockovich*, Schenn and Saad pretty easily (with good health). Anyone else?
And best bet to more than double their 2020/21 scoring output? Thomas (12 points) seems the obvious call. I’d add Sunny (9 points) to that list. Parayko (12 points) as well. Any others?
I’d gladly take that second number any day. I can’t see Tarasenko getting close to 35 goals if he stays with the Blues this year - age and that shoulder have damped his production quite a bit, down to where 30 goals at best would be something I would see being possible if he truly is fully recovered. Looking at the roster, I’d say that the list that David suggested is pretty spot on for the 20 goal scorers. If Tarasenko remains a Blue, I’d include him there too.
If Thomas and Sundqvist stay healthy all season, they easily double up their point totals from last year’s weird, Covid (and for them, injury) shortened year. Parayko more than likely does the same by a country mile if his back is in good shape. Judging by the Blues’ readiness to sign him to that eight-year contract, signs point to that being good to go.
*this is an Erin Brockovich joke, which clearly the e-Mail author and I are the only people to see that movie/know who she is.
Next, we have a really great goaltending question from John A.:
Binner now has 2.5 seasons (and not really that given the 19-20 and 20-21 seasons were less than complete) under his belt. He’s seen his SV%, GAA, and shutout numbers all get slightly but progressively worse each season. I still believe he’s our man, no doubt about it. And, I don’t fail to recognize the problems in front of him. So, stats don’t tell the full story and those numbers aren’t all on him. But, he did have some clunkers this season. Now that he’s growing out of “young buck” status and has enough time under his belt (and a Cup!!!!) to be considered an actual veteran goaltender, do you see him stepping up his game to become a full-fledged Top 5 goaltender this season? With the defense needing a few answers, will he find a way to lock shit down behind them, become a driving force in net, and take his game to the next level?
I hope so. I wasn’t exactly head over heals with his contract, but in the grand scheme of things it was a reasonable signing money wise for a Cup winning goalie that prevented the Blues from having to go out and hunt a serviceable replacement down, which is easier said than done. You go with what you know. It’s also hard to judge performance based on the oddity that the last two seasons were; I would assume that consistency in goaltending is hard to find when consistency itself is in short supply. Binnington got better down the stretch and it’s tough to place a hundred percent of the blame for his playoff performance (and the Blues’) on his shoulders. I feel like this year is really the first go round where fans will be able to get a good idea about his performance.
David’s got some uniform questions, as well:
I think hockey uniforms are - when done well - practically art.
1) Worst current NHL full-time uniform? And why is it Dallas or Anaheim?
2) Do you prefer home games to be home team in white/road team in color or home team in color/road team in white? I’m a big home white/road color guy - provides the home fans with much more color variety as opposed to 41 games of Blues in blue/road team in white.
3) Favorite league-wide secondary logo/non-FT jersey that you want to see upgraded to full-time?
I’m honestly not a giant fan of black-forward uniforms, especially in the days of 4K. I’m not saying that every uniform needs to sear itself into the TV like the Blues’ 90s throwbacks, but would color kill you?
I’m a huge home white/road color person too. I miss seeing teams’ colorful jerseys on tour - home fans look at nearly the same thing every game, regardless of who the visiting teams are. It used to be a treat to see the road teams’ more vibrant colors, but now the only variety comes in alternate jerseys, which for some teams can be hit or miss.
Question number three is so tough just because there were quite a few decent reverse retro jerseys last season mixed in with the abominations. I actually really liked the Blackhawks’ look (I know, I know, and after I said I generally don’t like black jerseys), and the Islanders’ jerseys were sharp. The nostalgia of the Devils’ Christmas jerseys making a comeback was also very strong for me and I wouldn’t mind seeing those more often.
Michael Miller’s curious about Robert Thomas, much like a lot of us are:
It was good to see Parayko sign a long-term deal with the Blues, but I am so curious of what’s going on with Robert Thomas. I know that we’re struggling with the salary cap. Is it possible that Thomas might be dealt to the Montreal Canadiens and or possibly a package with Tarasenko and Robert Thomas to Montreal? Could the Blues send Tarasenko to NJD for Subban? Can Robert Thomas be offer sheeted by another team?
Thomas can have an offer sheet extended to him, and the longer this drags on, the greater the possibility. On the other hand, it seems that offer sheets are used to troll other teams now, so it’s doubtful. The Blues could send Tarasenko to NJ for Subban but I don’t think it really fills a need for the Blues necessarily, and I think the Devils are trying to build from young talent right now. Tarasenko’s an expensive gamble.
I think the biggest issue with Thomas right now is that the Tarasenko issue has held up his deal. I don’t see the Blues wanting to ship him off anywhere; they’d rather get whatever is happening with Tarasenko solidified so that problem is no longer hanging over their heads.