The St. Louis Blues have a healthy amount of cap space and some moderate, primarily depth-related needs, but they might be inactive in Day 1 of the free agent period. That’s because Blues GM Doug Armstrong plans to remain in a holding pattern until the team’s negotiations with restricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko has come to a resolution.
“We’ll talk to our own restricted free agents, but we’re going to stay away from the unrestricteds until we find out what Vladi’s intentions are,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If we can find the depth player that we want, we’re going to fill out our roster. But as far as making a significant addition to our team, we’re not looking for a top-five defenseman or a top-10 forward until we get Vladi done.”
Part of the reason for that position is to guard against the threat of an offer sheet. Armstrong doesn’t think Tarasenko will end up signing one, but as long as the Blues don’t indulge in the UFA or trade markets, they’re in a position to match any contract another team puts in front of the 23-year-old star forward.
While offer sheets are rare, the threat of one seems to have guided the trade market recently. In the last week we’ve seen Boston ship Dougie Hamilton to Calgary and Chicago trade Brandon Saad to Columbus.
Meanwhile, forwards Olli Jokinen and Marcel Goc as well as defensemen Zbynek Michalek and Barret Jackman are among the players that St. Louis is letting test the unrestricted free agent waters.
Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.
Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.
After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.
As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.
St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.
The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.
You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.
Marleau is the 18th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500 game mark. Should he stay healthy and play the entire 82-game slate or close to that, he’ll enter the 2018-19 season 11th all-time in that category. Gordie Howe holds the record with 1,767 games played.
Health has helped the 38-year-old Marleau reach the mark in his 20th NHL season. He hasn’t missed a regular game since the 2008-09 season and hasn’t played fewer than 74 games in a full season in his entire career.
Marleau has gone from being the youngest player in the league to the sixth-oldest in the span of 20 years and considering his history of good health, better fitness regiments of players and treatment by training staffs, challenging Howe may not be a crazy idea.
Of course, that is unless Jaromir Jagr sticks around. If that happens then Marleau would likely have to settle for No. 2.
This week’s edition of NBCSN’s Rivalry Night will feature a central division clash between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.
It’s still early days, but the two sides are battling atop the Central, with the Blackhawks powered by great starts from a number of players including Brandon Saad and Ryan Hartman. The Blues, meanwhile, are looking to halt a two-game skid after winning their first four games of the season. The game also features the return of NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk to the booth.
You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.