QUESTION: Over on the Hockey News podcast, when asked if the Blues could repeat, the panel responded by saying they wouldn't be shocked if the Note missed the playoffs this coming year considering how much the other teams in the Central have improved this offseason. While I don't agree with that assessment, how much, if any, do you think the Blues have fallen behind the rest of the division by being both cap locked and content with a "bring the band back together" mentality?
TOM T.: The Blues obviously haven't made any moves to bring in anyone from outside to improve the team player-wise. Savard right now stands as the main addition to the team, and an improved power play would definitely help the team. With the contract situation, it was going to be hard for the team to make many changes, but it's not unlike the situation at the trade deadline: Can you give something up to get someone who makes you better than when you started? This team was, in the second half of the season, playing awfully consistently and it was built to be together for a while, so any moves would be moves for the sake of making moves. The Central was pretty tightly packed last season. One game here and there could be the difference between first and fourth. I don't know that any of the Central teams, however, have made a disproportionately huge step forward, but, again, in a logjam of a division, it won't take much for things to change.