Friday, I had the chance to interview Blues' President John Davidson on a number of topics. Here's what he had to say:
NB: We're in year two of the Youth Movement. What can Blues' fans expect to see from this year's team with the additions of TJ Oshie and Patrik Berglund to the roster?
JD: I think we're in a position where we have veteran players who can give us more than what we saw in the second half of last season. With some young players, we'll see if they make the club, and if they inject some good skill into our lineup. We think if Berglund and Oshie make our club, they have some offense to them, so that should help us in goal scoring. Erik Johnson has another year under his belt, that'll make us better on the power play. Chris Mason will give us better goaltending as a group, so we think that we can do some good things.
NB: Speaking of golatending, Manny Legace is the projected starter this year, but you also traded for Chris Mason. Is this gonna be a chance to divide up the playing time between the two, or are you gonna see how it goes through training camp?
JD: I think we'll just see how it goes. We need points...it's a tough conference, and if one is winning and playing well, he'll play. One will also help us with playing time, because I don't think we have a 70-game goaltender like some teams do with like a Nabokov, Luongo, or guys like that. We need two goaltenders playing well...they'll both get time, especially in the second-half of the schedule, where the schedule really tightens up. We play a lot of games in very few days...you need to to get points in the standings. It'll be a race. We need goaltending. If we don't get good goaltending from two guys, it'll be a problem.
NB: You've been here through the whole development camp this year. Who has impressed you the most during this year's development camp?
JD: I think a lot of guys...especially the guys that are a year older. They were here last year, and they're a year older, so they've gotten stronger physically. They've gotten themselves a lot more fit. You see a kid like (Simon) Hjalmarsson, Who's probably grown about five inches in height since last year. You've got a guy like Patrik Berglund, who was a tall, thin young man...now he's more like a man. It's a lot of changes like that, and that's what I like to see. It think each year as you move along with these camps, you see a lot more skill out there. That's what we need.
NB: Free agency is coming up on us. Will you be looking at signing a veteran defenseman or a scoring forward if it's within price range, or will you be sticking within the system and see how these young guys pan out?
JD: It could be a combination of both. We just have to see where everything goes, who's available, how much it is, does it make sense. What happens nowadays with a lot of the free agents out there is that they want too many years. We don't want to go find somebody that's really expensive and it's five, six, seven years, when we have people that we feel can take those spots. We'll evaluate it come the right time, and play it by ear from there. There's no promises one way or the other.