From the Post-Dispatch’s Q&A with Blues owner Tom Stillman, on his team’s current financial state:
Q: How is the organization doing financially?
Stillman: We’re doing better. We’re more stable. But we have a ways to go to reach our goal of being a really sound, stable franchise with a secure long-term future. We still have some work to do.
Q: The 2013-14 season was one in which the NHL salary cap came down and the Blues’ payroll increased, putting the club near the $64.3 million cap ceiling. With the cap projected at $71.1 million in 2014-15, where do you foresee the club’s budget?
Stillman: We haven’t decided on an absolute, final salary number, but I know that we’ll put a competitive team on the ice and our cap number will be very respectable.
Per CapGeek, the Blues have 18 players signed for next season, for a cap payroll of just over $48 million. So even with an internal budget and RFAs like Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz to re-sign, there’s room for general manager Doug Armstrong to operate in free agency, if that’s an avenue he wants to explore. A second-line center may be worth adding, at the right price.
Stillman took over as owner two years ago, making no promises to spend to the cap. Obviously, the team’s first-round elimination in this year’s playoffs didn’t help, financially speaking. St. Louis had just three home playoff dates, the same disappointing number as last year. The Blues have won just two playoff series since reaching the conference finals in 2001.
Related: Armstrong wonders if the Blues need a ‘different formula’ on offense
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?