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New Blues owner calls new spending a ‘smart investment’

Aug 11, 2013, 2:35 PM EDT

Tom Stillman AP

St. Louis Blues owner Tom Stillman has been spending plenty of money this summer to retain key restricted free agents. He’ll have to spend even more to keep Alex Pietrangelo around as well, but that doesn’t bother him one bit.

The Blues haven’t been a spend-heavy team in a while, but Stillman tells Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he’s OK with the money because of what it’ll bring.

“When we purchased the Blues a little over a year ago, we said that our plan was to straighten out the business side and put a strong, competitive, contending team on the ice,” Stillman said. “In my view, all we’re doing here is following through on what we said we would do. We’ve invested more heavily in the team itself, and we’re doing that because we want to win. We also think that is a smart investment because that is what’s going to make the franchise stable and sustainable as a business.”

Attendance has been a bit of a problem in recent years for the Blues thanks to issues with their ownership holding things down.

Now with Stillman in charge, the purse strings have loosened up a bit and guys like Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart, Jay Bouwmeester, and Derek Roy have benefited from that.

Now if they can just get Pietrangelo’s deal done everyone can get ready for the regular season.

  1. phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    As long as they’re able to get Pietrangelo wrapped up, the Blues will enter the season (again) as a legitimate contender. If they hadn’t met Jonathon Quick two straight years they probably would’ve atleast made the conference finals once. They have amazing depth through their forwards, defense, and goaltending. And they have a good coach in Hitchcock. Altho, they would certainly get more offense from their forwards with a different system in place. It’s way too early to make predictions but, IMO, the Blues have the talent to win the west.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Sorry, they are good, and will be competitive this year. And they are the likely favorite to take 2nd place in the central. Big problem for the Blues is that the Hawks are in the central. Hawks took the series last year, including taking the season finale inSTL as a trowi-away, playing 15 AHL players.

      And they held their own for the 2nd and 3rd period. In tghe 1st, the top[ Hawks AHL line kept the puck in the Blues end the WHOLE shift, seriously pressuring the Blues. When play stopped, the Blues called their lone time out – in the 1st period.

      The challenge this year for the Hawks will be how to find good slots for all the guys who can fill them. The center who they are bringing up from the AHL team to replace Dave Bolland (“offensive underproducer”) lead the league in scorring, Natural fit for the 2nd line, except that will mean that Saad (Calder finalist) and/or Bickel (Conn Smythe candidate who they just rewarded with a 4 year 16 mill contract)) will have to spend some time on tyhe 3rd line. Leaving Handzues, Shaw and Kruger to compete for the center slots on the 3rd and 4th lines.

      They only lost one player they wanted to retain, Ray Emery. They7 have three other solid forward who have spent some time on the parent club the lasty two years ready to come up.

      NOBODY else in the NHL has the depth/balance and total skill level.

      Baring several key injuries, it’s the Hawks division and conference to lose. Clear favorites.

      I have not seen any projections that have any WC tam higher than the Hawks.

      Kings get most of the #2 votes.

      • bloozfan - Aug 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        Idk what “throw away” game you watched watched but the blues won 3-1 and dominated the “AHL” Hawks and last I checked pressure isn’t a goal. Don’t really disagree with your comments, but at least get your facts right when your ripping on another team. It just makes you look dumb.

        Also the addition of a full season with Bouwmeester and Leopold gives the Blues one of the strongest blue line in the NHL. The season series will not be a cake walk like you think.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2013 at 4:49 PM

        I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, the Hawks are a deep and talented club but repeating as Cup champions is one of the most difficult things in sports. Now it helps that last season was short, so they shouldn’t be fatigued, but, like you said, their depth has been affected by the losses of Bolland, Frolik, and Emery. Their bottom 6 forwards, altho younger, will not be the same. And you could argue that the Hawks don’t win the Cup without the contributions of Bolland and Frolik. Now St. Louis doesn’t have the high end talents of the Hawks up front (ie Toews, Kane, Hossa, etc) but I would argue that the Blues overall have more depth now, top to bottom. Does that mean they’re better than the Hawks? No, but it’s wrong to crown Chicago simply bc they won the season series last year.

        I mean Backes, Oshie, Berglund, Steen, Tarasenko, Stewart, Roy, Paajarvi, Schwartz, Sobotka, Lapierre, plus maybe a young player Rattie or Jaskin, and I’d say that’s atleast in the discussion for deepest forward group. Then on the backend, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Bouwmeester, Leopold, Jackman, Polak, and Cole. And any combination of Halak, Elliot, and Allen in net. That’s a ridiculously deep roster. Of course they’ve been unable to unseat the Kings, well mostly Quick, but I’d put them #3 out West. And anything can happen in the playoffs. I’m not saying their a surefire bet to come out of the West but it’s very possible. It may be Chicago or LA (or a darkhorse team like San Jose), all I’m saying is don’t sleep on the Blues.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        By “throw sway”, they knew the game was irrelevent for them in terms of seeding, and they had the luxery or resting starters, avoiding injury and seeing what some of the AHL guys could do against NHL’s who WERE still competing for seeding.

        I watched the game – not an issue of “facts” at all, we obviously arrived at different conclusions.

        Frolick’s main contribution ended up being on the defensive side, but he was paid at a level the also expected more offense. Victor Stallberg was very fast, but did not have good hands, when he’d have a breakaway he’d shoot right at the goalie frequently, and would not use his size in the corners. Bolland was a key contributor – in 2009, 2010 and 2011. His productivity then slipped.

        Playing as the 2nd line center on the Hawks with Sharp and Kane or Hossa, he had 14 points and had the worst +/- on the team.

        Those who follow and comment on the Hawks were pretty unanamous about thinking moving Bolland and Stallberg was a good thing, mixed opinion on Frolik.

        But they guys who they made a spot for should more than replace the productivity of the 3.

        Please note, I’m NOT saying anything negative against the Blues, and would likely have just read – until I saw the comment about having the tallent to win the west.

        I was purely making the case that they are not at the Hawks level. Last year the Hawks were #2 in the league offensively (I do the stats thing), #1 defensively, #1 in points and +/- depth.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        losing Emery WAS unfortunate, but Ray wanted the chance to start, and after the playoffs it was clear that Cory C would remain #1. He’s actually going to make less in Philly in an “open competition” situation. And I understand his drive.

        Other than Emery, the Hawks honestly kept all the guys they wanted to keep. Stallberg was benched twice during the playoffs – in favor of Bolling for that matter.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Aug 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM

        But just because the Hawks were the best team in the West last season doesn’t automatically mean the same will be true this season. Don’t get me wrong they’re the favorites, but A LOT of things went their way last season. You never know who’s gonna sustain an injury or who’s gonna slump. Or if Crawford will now live up to the hype he has created. I mean, afterall, there weren’t many Hawks fans who had faith in him going into last season. The most talented teams don’t always win, as we’ve seen the last few years in the East with the Pens. I never said St. Louis would take the West, just that they have the talent to. Like I said before, they don’t have the big names of the Hawks but everyone in their projected top-9 has 20+ goal potential. And they have atleast two defenders who could surpass the 50-point plateau. If you transplanted the Blues roster on a team with a coach with a more open offensive system they’d most likely produce big numbers. It’s one of the best rosters, top to bottom, in the entire NHL.

  2. blackhawks2010 - Aug 11, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    Blues are a team on the rise, definitely a team with playoff potential in 2014. Not Cup contenders yet, but moving in the right direction.

    They need more skill players to compete, physical players only get you so far. Looking forward to a great season!

    • eggserino - Aug 11, 2013 at 11:07 PM

      You’re right about needing more skill players competing. They are looking for bigger contributions for Tarasenko and Schwartz, two highly skilled players going into their second full year with the club.

      Backes had a down year last year. Oshie could’ve been better. Petro did not have a great year.

      The skill is there. Like you guys in Chicago have seen, until you reach the top, it’s hard to understand what that next compete level looks like. Does Tarasenko develop Kane-like confidence in the big game? They’ve both got great releases. Until you make it to those games, you don’t understand what it means to compete at that level.

  3. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    A note of encouragement for the future, HockeysFuture.com rates STL as #7 in prospects. Not a complete endorsement of them. They have a mix of guys who came up last year (tho on 2 way contracts) and guys who are drafted but not at the AHL level yet, at least the Hawks prospects. I’d have focused on guys tht will be moving up over the next 2 seasons, but that’s just one opinion.

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