The Big Cat Signs, Blues ink Hoffman.
Monday Mike Hoffman passed his PTO and signed a one-year deal worth $4 million. Hoffman has had a good camp, a couple of great scrimmages, and seemed to fit-in the moment he said, “what’s up ladies.” Probably.
The addition of both Hoffman and Krug turn what was a league-wide #3 power play into possibly the best in the league. Hoffman has impressed both teammates and coaches alike. Captian Ryan O’Rilley has welcomed him into the locker room and onto the ice. The Questions surrounding Hoffman and the locker room have been put to rest.
Hoffman can score 20 goals for this potent team.
Hoffman’s deal along with the players who were placed on waivers, Jacob de la Rose, Mackenzie MacEachern, Jake Walman, Nathan Walker, Curtis McKenzie, Sam Anas, Jon Gillies, Mitch Reinke, and Steven Santini, means the Blues are cap compliant.
In a normal year, three or four of these players could be snatched away.
In the year of Covid, I would be surprised if any of them are.
Blues hold final Scrimmage at Enterprise. Take a day off before flying to Denver.
On Sunday, January 10th, the St. Louis Blues held their final practices in St. Louis. Blues coach Craig Berube in an effort to simulate the gameday experience held a morning skate at the Centene Ice Center and an evening scrimmage at Enterprise center.
The Scrimmage was televised on the Blues’ Youtube channel. Berube said he “wanted a fast-paced practice” during the morning skate. Joey Valatie of the Blues radio team said, “the intensity was outstanding.” The team looks ready to make amends for the early exit in August during the bubble in Edmonton.
The squad was broken into two teams. The Blue and the White. The lines were tweeted by Lou Koric of NHL.com.
MacEachern-de la Rose-Blais
The Blue team clearly was made up from a majority of the players who will be wearing the note on Opening Night in Colorado. New additions Kyle Clifford and Torey Krug along with Mike Hoffman on a PTO have jelled with the Note right from the get-go.
Hoffman signed a deal the day with the Blues a day after the scrimmage. A tweet from Thomas Drance a senior writer for the Athletic summed up what will happen in this Covid cap era. “We are looking at 100+ players that will be posted on the NHL waiver wire” Drance’s tweet also stated “Could be the biggest wavier day in league history.
A couple of Blues players have made this a tough decision for Berube and his coaching staff. Jorden Kyrou, Niko Mikkola, and Sammy Blais all had great camps. Berube stated about Blais “I thought tonight was his best day for camp. He had some good opportunities to score. He did not score, but he had good chances. Made some good plays with the puck and he was hard on things and physical like he normally is. Sammy was good tonight.”
Oscar Sundqvist is poised to have a breakout season and become the scorer they have been looking for. Sundqvist acquired in a draft-day trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for fan-favorite Ryan Reaves has become the centerpiece of that deal. Klim Kostin drafted with the 31st overall pick that was part of that deal is playing in the KHL. Kostin could be considered a disappointment at this point. He has 5 points in 25 games in an offensive KHL.
During the scrimmage, the Powerplay was a focus. Newly appointed Captain Ryan O’Reilly punched in his own rebound to make the score 1-0. Jorden Binnington, in the last year of a two-year deal, gave up three goals. The prevailing consensus is that despite the three goals Binnington looked good.
The coaching staff has made it clear that this team must get out fast. The compressed schedule means points are at a premium. The Season starts on Wednesday night with two away games against the Division favorite Avalanche. Six of the next eight games are against the also-ran California teams. Sandwiched in the middle of the sushi roll will be two home games against the Golden Knights.
The Blues should be in a good position to challenge for the Division crown. The first 19 days of the season has the Blues playing almost 18% of their total games and facing every team in the division but Minnesota and thorn in their side Arizona. Realistically the Blues would like to come away with 16 of the 20 possible points.
The team will be off on Monday and the final roster must be submitted to the league. This is the Covid era so I am guessing a few teams including the Blues may try to circumvent the cap just a “wee tiny bit”, said in my horrible Scottish accent.
During the scrimmage Vitale let it leak that the Blues were going to allow up to 300 first responders during the home opener on Monday. The team confirmed this in a tweet released today. While 300 is a far cry from 18,000 it is a start.
There is one way you can quasi be at the games. The Blues announced on Stlblues.com that they would sell cardboard cutouts for $74 with $5 dollars going to the Blues for Kids Foundation. For more information visit stlouisblues.com/fans. For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions tab before making your purchase.
What started as weeks, moved to days is now mere hours. The puck will drop on the Blues Season on Wednesday night at (UGG) 9:30 pm CST.
Till next time Hockey FANS.
Guy “Hawaii Blues Fan” Bensing