James Neal will be on a pro tryout in preseason camp with the Blues.
Well, we have a smattering of things to cover, as we sit just days away from the start of training camp for the 2021-22 season. Let’s get started.
Today the Blues announced that veteran forwards James Neal and Michael Frolik would be in camp on a tryout basis. On its face, this is significant news, as both forwards have been productive scorers in the league, especially Neal. But both are on the downside of their careers, and the Blues are already pretty stacked up front. But you can’t have too much depth. Last year, Neal scored 10 points in 29 games with the Oilers. Frolik only played in 8 NHL games, all for Montreal.
It was surprising to hear the Blues had agreed to terms with Tyler Bozak for next season. Again, on paper the Blues appeared to be set at forward, and Robert Thomas remains unsigned. It was assumed that what precious little salary cap room was left was reserved for Thomas. But Bozak’s contract is a base of only $750,000. The team has less than $2 million left under the cap.
Bozak is a well-liked player by the team and the fans. He adds more veteran presence to the bottom 6 who could slide into a 2nd line role if needed. Here’s a possible line combination with him in the fold. Wow is this deep.
Saad O’Reilly Buchnevich
Perron Schenn Kyrou
Sanford Thomas Tarasenko
Bozak Sundqvist Barbashev
Winter Classic Unis
The Blues also introduced their sweaters for their 2022 Winter Classic matchup with the Minnesota Wild. Again, they’ve nailed this look. It seems like it matches up well with their Heritage sweater, and I just love the blue helmets with the cream base of the sweaters. Can’t wait to see these on the ice.
Honestly, I wish the team would adopt these as their regular home sweaters and the Heritage ones as the road sweaters.
Tarasenko Still with the Team
Here we are on September 17th, and Vladimir Tarasenko is still a Blue. Even before the season ended, there was speculation that he might be traded as a change of scenery. And then news came out that he had actually requested a trade. That was months ago. There have been plenty of rumors, but the facts are that no deal has materialized, and Tarasenko has been skating with teammates in advance of camp.
The likely scenario is he starts the season with the Blues and rebuilds his value. Maybe he’s traded at some point. Maybe he decides he likes it in St. Louis again. We’ll see.