St. Louis GM Todd Snider has agreed to answer 10 burning questions from the media regarding his club at the quarter mark of the season.
#1: Are the Blues a better team then last year?
I think we are a better team than last year; I believe our goaltending is better and we have a deeper forward group than what we ended up with last year. We have a good young nucleus with some core veterans.
#2: With that said can you make the playoffs this year?
We have the talent to make the playoffs. Just like last year, the Western Conference is very competitive, but I believe in this group. Just like the guys on the ice, I’ll do my part to make the changes I need so we succeed.
#3: How short of a leash is Michel Therrien on as your off to a 10-9-1 record and are 5th in the Central Division?
Michel is our coach right now; he will remain our coach. I’m not going to make a coaching change just for the sake of making a change. The players need to step up and start winning games. Michel isn’t the one out there with the skates on during the game!
#4: Is the young defence good enough to withstand the grueling 82-game season?
Listen, Owen Power is playing 20 minutes a game and is a plus 8. Hadyn Fleury is a plus 7. Logan Stanley is minus 6 granted, but he is our most physical defenceman. Brett Kulak is plus 9. We need to find a way to have our big 2 step up more.
So, do I think the young defence is good enough? Definitely! That said I’d love to add another veteran defence d-man to the rotation, but they just aren’t floating around anywhere. I’m not prepared to deal our young forwards Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Oliver Wahlstrom, or Alexis Lafreniere to get one either.
#5: Why did you trade for veterans Bryan Little and Kris Russell only to trade them away again under 10 games into the season? Wasn’t Russell the veteran-like defenceman you said you wanted?
I made the moves to acquire Little and Russell before the season began. Once the season was underway, Michel said Little was the odd guy out on forward as we tried to get younger guys more playing time. Russell just didn’t seem to be a good fit on the team, so we moved him. These things happen.
#6: Why trade away Paul Byron last week?
Paul was going to be a UFA at season's end. Paul was a leader and played fantastic for us last year. But we felt we needed to move him as we had made an organizational decision that he wouldn’t be resigned at season's end. When an offer came to get a 2nd and 3rd pick for him, I felt it was the best offer we would receive for him and needed to move on it. We are sad to see him go; he will definitely be missed.
Carter Hart and Robin Lehner have been splitting the games pretty equal so far. That said, Carter Hart was the very first pick of the St. Louis Blues. He is still young and will be the cornerstone of this franchise for years to come!
#8: You went out and traded for Claude Giroux for a second time. Will you offer Giroux an extension during the season as he becomes a UFA after this season ends?
When I moved Claude to Buffalo last season at the deadline, I knew it was a mistake. My #1 priority was to somehow get him back in the organization. I thought I might have to wait till he did become a free agent. We will be making a significant offer in hopes of keeping Giroux with our club. He is the leader of the Blues squad!
#9: Who on the farm can you see playing on the pro team in near future?
We just called up Mikey Eyssimont to take Byron’s roster spot. I think you probably see either Nic Beaudin or Noah Juulsen get the call as we only have 6 defencemen in the pros. Joey Anderson is close to promotion too, but his playing time is blocked at right wing in the pros. I don’t think it's good for his development to be sitting in the press box or getting 8 minutes a night on the fourth line.
#10: Finally, Mr. Snider, you have significant cap space. Can we expect some more deals to take place?
This team is 10-9-1. I think it's safe to say if there is a trade out there that will improve this team and raises the payroll, I am prepared to do that deal!!
Thank you for taking the time, Mr. Snider, to answer our questions.