Jake Allen has a lot to prove in first season as true No. 1 goaltender

Jared Clinton
Jake Allen (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

St. Louis’ season didn’t end with them hoisting the Stanley Cup, but no one would call it an unsuccessful year. The Blues got over the difficulties they’ve had with the first round of the post-season and broke through to the Western Conference final, where their playoff run ended at the hands of the San Jose Sharks.

During the Blues’ run, they were backstopped by Brian Elliott, who was arguably the MVP of St. Louis’ season. But an off-season of change saw Elliott shipped to the Calgary Flames, which means the Blues chances of replicating the past season’s success will now be up to Jake Allen.

And though Allen has spent the past two seasons as a full-time NHL netminder splitting the crease with Elliott, the 25-year-old netminder has got a lot to prove in his first year as a true No. 1 netminder. In all likelihood, Allen’s season will be the most important individual season for anyone on the Blues roster. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Shattenkirk possible target for Rangers after Brassard trade

Kevin Shattenkirk (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

After weeks of anticipation, the New York Rangers finally made a significant roster move this summer. On Monday, they dealt center Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Ottawa Senators for center Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round selection.

In shipping out Brassard’s $5-million annual average salary through 2018-19 for Zibanejad’s $2.65 million in 2016-17, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton freed up an additional $2.35 million. He can put that toward re-signing a restricted free agent forward such as Chris Kreider or Kevin Hayes. He could also use it to his roster via trade or free agency.

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News speculates Gorton could use the savings to acquire St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He could then re-sign the blueliner, who’s eligible next July for unrestricted free agency, to an extension worth $6-million annually. Leonard also wonders if Kreider could be swapped for Shattenkirk before the winger’s arbitration date on Friday. Read more

Down Goes Brown: Five expected off-season moves that haven’t happened yet

Kevin Shattenkirk (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The dog days of the NHL offseason got a nice jolt on Monday when the Senators and Rangers hooked up on a decent-sized trade. The deal sends Derick Brassard and a seventh to Ottawa in exchange for Mika Zibanejad and a second, improving the Senators’ top six while adding some youth to the Rangers and giving them some additional cap room to work with.

The trade also answered one of the offseason’s lingering questions, which was: When are the Rangers going to get around to doing something? We were all told to expect a busy offseason in New York, as GM Jeff Gorton would look to shake up his aging and expensive core. But until this week, not much had happened aside from a few minor free agency signings. Trading Broussard isn’t exactly a blockbuster, but at least now the Rangers are on the board.

But that still leaves a few more stories lingering in the “still waiting” file. Here are five moves everyone went into the offseason expecting to see that still haven’t happened yet. Read more

Signing of Schwartz to five-year, $26.75-million has the future looking bright for Blues

Jared Clinton
Jaden Schwartz (Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

Mark Scheifele’s eight-year, $49-million contract was a great deal for the Winnipeg Jets, as they locked up a 23-year-old could-be star to a long-term deal that will pay him $6.125 million per season. It came one season removed from Scheifele nearly cracking the 30-goal mark, too.

But if that was a great deal for the Jets, then Jaden Schwartz’s new five-year, $26.75-million dollar deal is absolutely awesome for the St. Louis Blues.

Schwartz is only one year older than Scheifele, 24, and the new contract means he’s inked a deal worth an average of $775,000 less per season. This comes after Schwartz has twice flirted with the 30-goal mark and looks to step into a bigger role with the Blues this upcoming season. And if this deal looks good right now, on the day its signed, it’s going to look even better as Schwartz really starts to hit his stride.

“He’s part of that core we have moving forward,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said in a release. “Schwartz and (Vladimir) Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, Jake Allen — we’re trying to build around these guys. Having Schwartz wrapped up in that group, we know we now have a core that we can build around and try to win a championship around.” Read more

Which players could take on the six vacant captaincies?

Connor McDavid (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Four players became first-time captains in the NHL ahead of the 2015-16 season, each to varying degrees of success.

In San Jose, Joe Pavelski took over as captain after years of speculation that he was the next in line to wear the ‘C’ for the Sharks. In his first season, he helped lead the Sharks to the Stanley Cup final with an impressive post-season performance.

Pavelski was joined as a new captain by Max Pacioretty, who donned the ‘C’ for the first time and did so as a member of arguably the most storied organization in the history of the sport, the Montreal Canadiens. Pacioretty’s Canadiens flew out of the gate like an early Cup contender, but an injury to Carey Price derailed Montreal’s season.

Also joining the captains club were Nick Foligno, who was chosen to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Andy Greene, selected by the New Jersey Devils to take the captaincy from the retiring Bryce Salvador. Both teams missed the post-season, but took some strides forward that have both fan bases hopeful for the coming campaign.

While four new captains may seem like a lot, there’s potential for as many as seven first-time captains to take over major leadership roles in 2016-17. Anze Kopitar has already been handed the ‘C’ for the Los Angeles Kings, but that still leaves the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers without captains. So, will those clubs have a captain this coming season and, if so, who will stitch the ‘C’ to their sweater? Read more

The Blues need a new captain, and it should come down to Steen or Pietrangelo

Jared Clinton
Alex Pietrangelo and Alexander Steen (Jeff Curry/NHLI via Getty Images)

For the most recent generation of St. Louis fans, David Backes is the captain. Or, rather, was.

Backes wore the ‘C’ for the Blues for the past five seasons, but his off-season departure to the Boston Bruins — on a five-year, $30-million deal, no less — has seen St. Louis’ captaincy vacated.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford that losing Backes, who was an on- and off-ice leader for the Blues even before he was given the captaincy, was something the organization had hoped they wouldn’t have to deal with. However, Backes’ move to Beantown makes naming a new captain a process the Blues will have to undertake.

St. Louis aren’t the only captainless team, though, as there are five other organizations — the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets — currently without a player who has the ‘C’ stitched to their chest. But unlike a few of the other organizations without a captain, the Blues appear to have at least a few clearcut options when it comes to naming a new captain. In speaking with Rutherford, Backes himself had two excellent suggestions for successors. Read more

Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration, close to a deal for DeKeyser

Petr Mrazek  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The most notable exclusion from the 24 players who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday was Petr Mrazek, but that doesn’t mean the Detroit Red Wings goaltender won’t be included in the process. Sources have told thn.com that the Red Wings will take Mrazek to arbitration before teams are required to file at 5 p.m. (eastern time) Wednesday.

This is a bit of a chess game here. Had Mrazek filed for arbitration, the Red Wings would have been able to choose either a one- or two-year reward. With the Red Wings filing, Mrazek will now have the choice of a one- or two-year award. Regardless, it means Mrazek is guaranteed to have a deal with the Red Wings for at least one season and will be available to the Red Wings for the start of the season. Mrazek is expected to be the Czech Republic’s No. 1 goaltender for the World Cup of Hockey.

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