Tag: Doug Armstrong

New York Rangers v St. Louis Blues

Stastny ready to take on leadership role in St. Louis


With T.J. Oshie dealt to the Washington Capitals in the offseason, Paul Stastny is ready to embrace more of a leadership role in second season with the St. Louis Blues.

“By the end of the year I started speaking up. The first year with a new team, you kind of fly under the radar and be quiet,” Stastny told The Denver Post. “As you get older you have to speak up. You want to win. If you see something go wrong, you’re not going to sit there and not say anything.”

The 29-year-old scored 16 goals and 30 assists in 74 games last season. He added one goal in six playoff games.

Following the Blues’ first round loss to the Minnesota Wild, GM Doug Armstrong said he needed more from Stastny moving forward.

“Paul Stastny needs to be a bigger part of our group,” Armstrong said. “He’s our highest-paid player, we need him to be a bigger and better part of our team.”

Heading into the second year of his four-year $28 million deal, Stastny feels better settled in his new surroundings.

“This summer and going into next season, we’re a lot more comfortable,” he said. “You see that in all sports. You move forward. You still have three or four of your best friends on your old team, but for us going forward we’re just a lot more comfortable. Last summer was just hectic with bachelor parties, weddings, and July 1 (free agency). There was a lot of traveling and this summer is a lot more low-key.”

Blues ink Brodziak, Harrold to one-year contracts

Kyle Brodziak

After trading for Troy Brouwer earlier in the day, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong added some depth via free agency Thursday evening.

The Blues signed free agent forward Kyle Brodziak and defenseman Peter Harrold to one-year deals.

Brodziak joins the Blues after spending the past six seasons with the Minnesota Wild. The 31-year-old scored 72 goals and 97 assists during his time with the Wild. He leaves Minnesota seventh all-time in games played (446) and eighth in points (169).

He is expected to be the Blues’ fourth line center next season.

Harrold joins the Blues after parts of four seasons with the New Jersey Devils. The 32-year-old was informed by Devils’ GM Ray Shero last weekend that he would not be re-signed.

In 43 games with New Jersey during the 2014-15 season, Harrold recorded three goals and two assists while averaging 15:15 a night in ice time. His deal is a two-way contract.

Related: Oshie on trade from St. Louis: ‘Changes had to be made’

Oshie on trade from St. Louis: ‘Changes had to be made’

T.J. Oshie

With back-to-back first round playoff exits and the St. Louis Blues retaining its coaching staff, T.J. Oshie expected changes to the roster.

Oshie was dealt to the Washington Capitals on Thursday as part of a four-player trade.

“I felt like it was a very good possibility,” Oshie said. “I did feel with the players in that locker room that we were falling short, but that if we went back with the same team we would’ve done a good job and hopefully learned from some of our mistakes.

“After I found out that (Ken Hitchcock) was coming back, I figured there would be at least one or two moves that (GM Doug Armstrong) would want to make.”

Despite expecting change, Oshie thought the window on him being moved had passed.

“I thought something would possibly happen in the draft,” he said. “As a couple days passed, I just figured that I’d be staying in St. Louis. Got a call from Armstrong today, and my initial reaction was a little bit of shock even though I knew it was a possibility. Then after a few minutes, I started getting excited and actually really excited to go on to the next chapter of my career.”

Originally a first round pick of the Blues (24th overall in 2005), Oshie appeared in 443 regular season games with St. Louis scoring 110 goals and 310 points.

During the 10-minute conference call, Oshie also addressed his comments following the Blues’ 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on March 30. He had returned to the lineup after missing one game due to the flu.

Here’s what Oshie had to say via Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch back in March:

“I didn’t think the flu would be good for me,” he said, “but coming back in tonight and not having to sit through all the meetings and same old practices, it really felt good to get out there. I was excited again to do something as simple as change well for the next guy coming out.

“I can’t put one finger on it. I’ll just say it was nice for me coming in tonight. I was mentally fresh. Physically, I didn’t feel my best, but I think I was so sharp our there that my game looked a lot faster.”

On Monday morning, Oshie, when asked about the possibility of the Blues clinching, had joked, “We’ve got enough to focus on with Hitch’s video.”

The 28-year-old said on Thursday that he felt those comments were made into a bigger deal.

“I expected big things out of myself. I think the fans did as well,” he said. “There’s a lot of disappointment after the way we lost out. I feel like the media blew out of proportion the thing that I said about being refreshed after I missed (time) cause of the flu. I think fans thought that me and Hitch had a bad relationship or something like that. Changes had to be made.

“I couldn’t be more excited about going to Washington.”

With the trade to Washington, Oshie is looking forward to the possibility of playing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

“It would be something I’ve never experienced before,” Oshie said. “I’ve always played with very good players, players that have played in the Olympics, but never players that have put up numbers like those two guys have.

“To get out there with them would be amazing. I’d be excited. I feel kind of like a kid in the candy store playing with that calibre of players.”

Armstrong doesn’t see the Blues, Tarasenko being ‘very far apart in dollars’

Calgary Flames v St. Louis Blues

Following the Blues first round exit to the Minnesota Wild, GM Doug Armstrong said his top priority was to sign pending restricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko to a new deal.

“If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us,” Armstrong said in May.

It appears Armstrong is sticking to his word.

Last week the Blues informed Barret Jackman that he won’t be re-signed.

Pending unrestricted free agents Zbynek Michalek, Marcel Goc and Olli Jokinen all appear headed for the open market on July 1.

Additionally, there are no extensions planned for Chris Butler or Chris Porter prior to July 1.

“What we told all those players, all of our unrestricted players, is that they’ll enter free agency,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Dispatch. “That’s the plan. Now anything can change going up to it, but we understand where the cap is.”

Tarasenko’s three-year, $5.25 million entry-level contract expires next month.

The 23-year-old led the Blues in goals (37) and points (73) during the 2014-15 season.

Nearly two months removed from the club’s final game, there’s nothing to report in terms of a new deal.

“We’d like to get it done as soon as both sides are comfortable,” said Armstrong.“(Tarasenko) knows he’s going to be here, we know he’s going to be here,” Armstrong said. “When it happens, it happens.”

According to Jeremy Rutherford, the club has $57 million in contracts already on the books for the 2015-16 season. With the cap expected to be around $71.5 million, and 16 players under contract for next season, the club has roughly $14 million to play with.

Rutherford believes the Blues and Tarasenko’s agent have spoken this month, but Armstrong wasn’t interested in getting into the details.

“I don’t think it’s beneficial for Vladi or for us to talk about what’s going on behind the scenes,” said Armstrong. “Our team, when you look at the salary cap and you look at our structure, I would imagine that we’re not going to be very far apart in dollars. So, I have a really good feeling of what it’s going to take and I think he does, too.”

Blues’ Armstrong on Sobotka: ‘He’s got two weeks to decide’

Vladimir Sobotka

Despite a report out Russia last week suggesting Vladimir Sobotka will likely remain in the KHL for the 2015-16 season, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes the Blues are still hopeful the forward will return to North America for next season.

The 27-year-old signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk last summer worth a reported $12 million after the Blues were unable to come to terms with the restricted free agent.

Sobotka’s KHL deal includes an out clause to return to the NHL following each season.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong met with Sobotka’s agent, Petr Svoboda, at the world championship in the Czech Republic.

The hope is with the decline of Russia’s ruble that Sobotka would consider a return to the NHL.

“I had a good talk with his agent,” Armstrong said. “The agent told me that the money he made last year, they guaranteed him for next year. He’s got two weeks to decide what he’s going to do. I said ‘We’d love to have him back.’ I understand if the economics are so great in the KHL and he has to stay. I respect that. Then we’ll talk again a year from now.”

Sobotka owes the Blues one season at an arbiter-elected salary of $2.7 million. If he decides to remain in the KHL, he and the Blues will be in a similar position next May.

Sobotka has appeared in 247 games with the blues over parts of four seasons scoring 29 goals and 72 assists.