Davidson Surrounding Himself with Familiarity
One thing we know about NHL executives. They like surrounding themselves with people they know and trust.
Look no further than St. Louis with GM Doug Armstrong bringing on board the likes of Ken Hitchcock, Rob DiMaio, Dave Taylor, and Sergei Zubov.
We’re now seeing it in Columbus with John Davidson adding Jarmo Kekalainen as General Manager. Davidson has had time to evaluate his staff but it can be challenging knowing who to trust when certain minds haven’t worked together. He now has that familiarity with Kekalainen.
We see it all over professional sports including the NFL where Head Coaches load up their staff with people they’ve either worked with or share some level of relationship.
I would do the same thing which is why fans shouldn’t be surprised if the Columbus Blue Jackets were to ask permission to speak to at least one or two members of the Blues scouting staff.
The most obvious is European scout Ville Siren who has a great reputation as a scout and is very close with Kekalainen. Siren lives in Helsinki, Finland and even does some work with Jokerit in the Finish Elite League, the team Kekalainen has been managing the last few years.
Siren is under contract with the Blues after signing an extension last summer. Rarely do teams allow individuals out of their contract unless there’s a chance for upward mobility.
Siren is responsible for helping bring several players to St. Louis including Roman Polak, Patrik Berglund, Lars Eller, Vlad Tarasenko, and most recently Dmtrij Jaskin.
The Blues still employ Davidson’s brother Marshall who scouts mostly Western Canada. Marshall Davidson does a solid job for the organization and is respected throughout. It’s unclear whether or not JD has interest in brining MD to Columbus.
Kekalainen has two brothers working in the NHL, one in Florida and the other in Nashville so having siblings employed by separate organizations isn’t uncommon.
The Blues could ask for compensation should Columbus come calling.
Blues prospect Jori Lehtera has been suspended for Novosibirsk Siber’s first KHL playoff game today. He recently got into his second fight of the year which comes with an automatic one-game suspension. He is eligible for Game 2.
Lehtera’s 48 points was good for 5th in KHL scoring this season. He averaged 20:27 per game and was a plus-18.
There’s a chance Lehtera, who makes in the neighborhood of $2 million per year in the KHL, signs with St. Louis prior to next season and finds his way over. His KHL contract runs through April 30th and does have an NHL out clause.
Considering the money he makes, there’s no reason to come over unless he has a strong shot at making the NHL roster. He’s probably best served playing in the KHL vs. the AHL anyway. He’ll be in training camp next fall if the two sides agree to a deal. Lehtera, 25, remains property of the Blues at least until the age of 27.
His team is unlikely to advance past the first round of the KHL playoffs which means he’ll have a long layoff between the end of his season and the World Championships where he’ll likely represent his native Finland.
Allen to Peoria….
This was eventually bound to happen. People forget Brian Elliott was an NHL all-star last season and they have to get him back in there to see where his game is at. At the very least he’s earned the right to play through his latest struggle. I don’t think the Blues expected Jake Allen to play as well as he did and his play kept earning him more starts.
With Jaro Halak back it’s time to get both goaltenders going. Halak was exceptional in Colorado Wednesday where the Blues lost 1-0 in overtime.
Both goalies are under contract through next season. In a perfect world both Elliott and Halak play to their ability and Allen is Peoria’s number one goalie again next season. Prospect Jordan Binnington, who is having a tremendous year in Owen Sound, will almost certainly be in Peoria next season. The ideal situation would be to have him play no more than 30-35 games in a backup role.
When you consider where Allen is in his career there is no rush to get him to the NHL. All he did this past week was confirm what the Blues already knew, he’s a very talented kid with lots of upside.
Stewy Find a Home?
How good was the Andy McDonald, Alex Steen, Chris Stewart line in Colorado? You talk about playing with pace. This was the most scoring chances all three of these players had seen all season. Stewart is at his best when attacking on the rush and playing with speed through the neutral zone. This plays to the strength of McDonald and Steen who both bring speed as well as offensive creativity. These three combined for 11 of the 33 shots on goal and should have scored a few goals.
T.J. Oshie was good all night finishing with six shots of his own. David Perron played over 20:00 of even strength hockey.
There’s a chance Finish D-man Jani Hakanpaa finishes the season in Peoria after his season concludes in the Finnish Elite League. He’s had a tough go with injuries to both knees as well as most recently a shattered finger. Hakanpaa, the former Captain of Finland’s world junior team, is a big kid at close to 6’5 and 220 pounds.
More to come,
The Latest Truth
Post about tonight's Blues-Jets game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Post about tonight's Isles-Blues game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Berglund Says He's Full of Confidence
Post about tonight's Blues-Kings game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more
Blues Look to Rebound in LA
Post about this afternoon's Blues-Sharks game with your fellow TrueHockey.com fans. Read more