Update 2: STL Post Distpatch's Tom Timmermann is reporting that the Blues signed Scottie Upshall today to a two-way deal and that the Blues are interested in a deal with Gomez (ugh). NOTE that this leaves the Blues with 14 forwards INCLUDING Berglund who by all accounts has not been placed on Injured Reserve as of yet but he will be. Infer what you will but this appears to mean the Blues are holding a roster spot for Gomez.
Update 1: Rattie, Butler, Lindbohm and Paajarvi have been sent down. Butler and Paajarvi already cleared waivers so all can go down without risk of losing them to other teams. Parayko and Edmundson make the team.
As many outlets have reported, the Blues have some very difficult decisions in finalizing their roster for the 2015-16 season. Other than goalie, there appears to be a lot of competition for the final few roster spots.
In predicting the roster, let's start with the assumption that the team will carry 2 goalies, 7 defensemen, and 14 forwards. We also know that Patrick Berglund will be on Injured Reserve and thus won't count toward the roster. Let's also assume that Carl Gunnarsson will not be on Injured Reserve to start the season.
With those assumptions and the fact that Chris Butler already cleared waivers, I expect Butler to be the odd man out allowing Colten Parayko, Petteri Lindbohm, and Joel Edmundson to make the club. I think those three and to a lesser extent Robert Bortuzzo will rotate in and uot of the lineup with each playing 3 out of 4 games or so. Parayko and Edmundson have earned a longer look this year and Lindbohm earned some rope based on his play last season. If any of the three struggle with any sort of consistency, expect them to be assigned back to Chicago of the AHL and Butler recalled as all three are still waiver exempt. Of course, if Gunnarsson starts the season on IR, expect Chris Butler to remain and fill the 7th d-man role, seeing spot duty.
The forward situation was made a bit murkier by strong professional tryouts from Scott Gomez and Scottie Upshall and the continued development of Robby Fabbri. These three players plus Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie appear to be fighting for the final three roster spots. I would place a health Las Vegas wager that the Blues sign Upshall and give him one of the three final roster spots. I also expect they will keep Fabbri up, managing his season so that he gets in 9 games, timing his departure to the OHL with Berglund coming off IR unless he performs above expectations. The last roster spot gets a lot trickier.
Do the Blues sign Gomez because they want MPS and Rattie (waiver exempt) to log big minutes in the AHL? Do they keep Rattie with the club and essentially rotate him with Fabbri in the lineup? If I was betting, I would bet on the latter.
In my scenario, Fabrri and Rattie split time in the lineup and Ott and Reaves split time in the lineup. Once Berglund is ready to come back, hopefully the players have decided the course of action through their play.
What the Blues won't do is keep Lindbohm, Parayko, Edmundson, Rattie, and Fabbri in the NHL press box for very long. They want all to play, play a lot and to continue to develop.
I don't know about you all but I am looking forward to the puck drop and getting to see Connor McDavid in person for the first time on Thursday. It's a great day for hockey.
ETA - Mike Weaver made it office and announced his retirement from the NHL. If you all want to wish him well, you can do so on twitter at @mikeweaver_43
Mike was a very reliable, underappreciated d-man who survived a long time in the league. Wishing you all the best in your next chapter.