A Busy Few Days
Ever since the regular season ended, we haven't heard much from the St. Louis organization. The playoffs raged on with Chicago ultimately emerging as the big winner. With the draft looming, most expected deals to be quiet and no major news to shake the hockey world - let alone anything major in St. Louis. As you all already know, the Blues obtained the rights to netminder Jaroslav Halak, traded for T.J. Hensick, signed a new goalie coach, signed Matt D'Agostini and made offers to both Cam Janssen and DJ King, per JR.
OK, we can all start breathing again.
Who saw this coming? I stated that I felt the Blues needed to look a new direction in net and that Chris Mason took us as far as he could, but I definitely didn't expect to see the news on Halak Thursday afternoon. I figured most major deals (and Halak is a major deal) would hold off until the draft had passed, but that was not to be the case. Maybe Montreal got a bit over eager and maybe the Blues just flat out got lucky. Who knows.
Jaroslav Halak Reaction:
Wow. I'm still surprised by the news and I still feel the Blues got a fantastic goaltender for a relatively cheap price. Lars Eller could be an outstanding player and definitely has the talent, but whether or not he can stay healthy will ultimately decide just how even this trade was.
Several of my readers expressed their urge for the Blues to look elsewhere in net for 2010-11, but up until Thursday afternoon, I saw no reason to think that Chris Mason would not be back in net for the upcoming season. Needless to say, I am thrilled with the result and while I thank Chris Mason for what he accomplished here and wish him the best, I can not say I wanted him to return in 2010-11.
Corey Hirsch Goaltending Coach:
New goaltender, new goaltending coach. Hirsch had been the goaltending coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but now joins the Blues. Let's hope he has more success here than he did with Vesa Toskala.
Qualifying Offers for Janssen and King:
The Blues have sent out qualifying offers for both fighters, meaning the team will retain their rights next season. These offers likely won't be accepted as they are two-way, and were mainly just sent out as a formality. JR from the Post still believes the Blues will pick one and make him an offer and move forward. Cue the old discussion we had back in February: Pick Your Fighter - Janssen or King.
Is that everything? Everyone still with us? This explosion of news sure has made things interesting for Blues fans and sure has everyone already looking forward to opening night.