Armstrong talks Blues’ free-agency plans


Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said today (audio) that he doesn’t expect to have contracts in place for defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and wingers Chris Stewart before free agency opens on Friday.

Both players are restricted free agents.

So…what’s the plan?

According to True Hockey’s Andy Strickland, it’s “sounding more and more like” the Blues will take Stewart, 25, to arbitration.

Pietrangelo, 23, doesn’t have arbitration rights, but Armstrong didn’t sound worried about getting a deal done eventually. (Armstrong has already indicated he’d match any offer sheets for his key RFAs.)

In the meantime, Armstrong has been talking to some free-agent centers to see if there’s a fit. He also expects all three goalies — Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen — will be at camp.

In terms of attracting free agents, Armstrong believes the Blues have become a more appealing option for free agents that, in addition to money, want a chance to win, play with good players and live in a nice place.

Related: Blues re-sign Leopold: two years, $4.5 million

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.