Tag: St. Louis Blues

Vladimir Tarasenko

Blues won’t make significant addition until Tarasenko is signed


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.

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

Penguins sign Ian Cole to a three-year, $6.3 million deal

PA: San Jose Sharks v Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year, $6.3 million contract with an annual average value of $2.1 million.

Cole, who was acquired by the Pens from the Blues in March, appeared in 20 regular season games for Pittsburgh scoring a goal and eight points to go along with a minus-2 rating while averaging 18:29 in time on ice.

The 6-foot-1, 219-pound blue liner also appeared in five playoff games with the Pens registering two assists while averaging 23 minutes in ice time.

Originally a first-round pick (18th overall) by St. Louis in 2007, Cole appeared in 167 games for the Blues over five seasons.

With the signing Pittsburgh now has five defensemen under contract for 2015-16, according to Generalfanager.com. The Pens have roughly $13.7 million left to work with to fill out their roster.

Video: NFL star J.J. Watt unleashes wicked shot

Houston Texans OTA's

Without knowing about skating ability, if someone asked you which NFL player’s style would make the most sense as a hockey player, Houston Texas defensive dynamo (OK, lineman) J.J. Watt might just be the first name that comes to mind.

Watt made a surprise appearance at the second annual Blake Geoffrion Hockey Classic at Wisconsin, letting this shot rip (as Brian Elliott got out of the way):

Not bad, really. It sounds like a good time, too:

For more on his appearance and the event (which raised funds for the University of Wisconsin’s Health Burn Unit), click here.

(H/T to Puck Daddy)

UFA of the Day: Cody Franson


Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Cody Franson

He set new career-highs in 2014-15 with seven goals and 36 points in 78 contests, which is in a way remarkable given how rough his reunion with Nashville went. The 27-year-old defenseman already had 32 points in 55 games with Toronto before he was sent to the Predators on Feb. 15 along with Mike Santorelli in exchange for Olli Jokinen, Brendan Leipsic, and what turned out to be the 24th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (later traded to Philadelphia and used to draft Travis Konecny).

At the time, Nashville was leading the Presidents’ Trophy race and setting the stage for what it hoped would be a lengthy playoff run. Nashville struggled following the trade though and Franson was limited to just 15:25 minutes per contest after averaging 21:23 minutes in Toronto.

In retrospect, Predators GM David Poile felt Franson wasn’t a good fit and he consequently won’t be back for the 2015-16 campaign.

That shouldn’t sour other clubs towards him though as an offensive defenseman with a right-handed shot tends to draw attention. The British Columbia-native has shown an interest in Vancouver and also is hoping that Toronto wants him back.

Teams like the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, and San Jose Sharks might be in the mix as well.

Report: Avs feel they have ‘no choice’ but to trade O’Reilly

Ryan O'Reilly

From Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos:

A $60 million contract over eight years would garner a cap hit of $7.5 million. Matt Duchene, in contrast, has a cap hit of $6 million. Paul Stastny left Colorado last summer for St. Louis, where he signed a four-year deal with a cap hit of $7 million.

We wrote last week about O’Reilly, and how the Avalanche need to hit a home run if they do decide to trade him.

O’Reilly can’t sign a contract extension until July 1. Considering any acquiring team will want to be certain it can keep him long-term, timing of any possible trade will be interesting.

Will it have to wait until after the draft?