Hockey Guy: Blues must improve from within

Hockey Guy: Blues must improve from within Live

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong sounds ready to make some more changes in the wake of his team's first-round demise.

Some veterans most certainly are headed out the door. Derek Roy, in particular, failed to make a positive impact some spring time. Armstrong vows to explore free agency and the trade market for upgrades, especially to the offense.

But the Blues ability (or inability) to finally catch the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings will hinge on their development younger players.

Vladimir Tarasenko was their best forward in the playoffs. Jaden Schwartz showed immense promise too. They will be key to the fate of the 2014-15 team.

Goaltender Jake Allen will get his chance, too, teaming with a veteran TBA. Armstrong broached these topics and others during a media debriefing.

Here are some highlights of his remarks and the reaction they stirred among the hockey media:

Let's face it, Ryan Miller is likely gone. If he can command a long-term deal at this late stage of his career -- after a mediocre playoff showing -- then he should grab that money and run. And the Blues should turn the page, despite the high cost of renting him for a failed playoff run.

Yes, this team needs more scoring. But Armstrong subtracted two mid-level scorers, David Perron and Chris Stewart, without replacing that skill for the stretch. So some of the offensive failure is on management.

Going forward, I'd like to see more of sturdy winger Dmitrij Jaskin, who could fill at least a third-line role. Ty Rattie could play on a scoring line if he can make a quick Schwartz-like adaptation to the NHL. Rattie took a big step in the NHL this season.

Since the Blues need to pay Tarasenko, Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka for the long haul, spending big on another scorer may not be feasible. This corner of cyberspace is fond of St. Louisan Paul Stastny, a pending free agent, but can the franchise really go there?

Stastny is not a game-breaker, but he can score goals and he is more of a natural offensive center than anybody the team has.

Armstrong noted that Patrik Berglund played with a bad shoulder in the playoffs. But he wasn't an impact scorer when healthy this season, so he is really no more than a third-line forward.

Does the team want to pay him big money on a new deal? That seems unlikely, given the desire to focus on scoring.


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