A Needless Stall

The long-needed renovations to the Scottrade Center are under way. They are expected to be complete in time for a September Ed Sheeran concert. The funding of those renovations, however, is not settled.

That’s because St. Louis City Comptroller Darlene Green is refusing to sign off on the financing deal that was approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, and duly signed into law, by the Mayor.

Scottrade has needed improvements for some time. Not only is it home to the Blues, but many major concerts come to town, such as Ed Sheeran. Upgrading the arena is key to the continuation of hosting one of the best NHL teams, and to drawing major events that drive revenue into the city.

A $64-million financing agreement was negotiated and passed by the Board earlier this year. The mayor signed the bill, making it Missouri law. Comptroller Green is defying that law by refusing to sign off on the financing deal. Her signature is mandated by the agreement.

Green’s only basis for her refusal is a clause in the city charter that states the comptroller shall “preserve the credit of the city.”

Here’s where I land on this issue: It’s unequivocally Comptroller Green’s job to sign off on the financing deal. It’s not at her discretion. It’s not, “hey sign this if you’re okay with it.” She’s supposed to sign it. The law is clear on that. Her duty to preserve the credit of the city does not take precedence over executing her duties as outlined in a law passed by the Board of Aldermen and the Mayor.

I recently had an exchange of comments to an article about this topic. The man with whom I engaged was sympathetic to Comptroller Green. He told me “it’s not about you!” My response was that it kind of is, because I represent thousands of Blues fans who want to enjoy a renovated Scottrade.

His response to that was that maaaayyybe there were 6,000 such fans. He came up with that number because he reasoned Scottrade fits 20,000 at most, and of those, just 6,000 fans came from outside the City. That may be a fair assumption, but what he didn’t take into account is the fact that there are many, many more Blues fans than just the 20,000 that show up for a single game.

I don’t fault Comptroller Green for wanting to perform her job well. That’s admirable. But in this case, it’s her job to execute the agreement. Please, do your job, Ms. Green.

Thanks for reading.

Prosser Provides Vet Depth

Defenseman Nate Prosser played for the Minnesota Wild

I’d heard the name, but I didn’t know much about the Blues most recent signing, defenseman Nate Prosser. So I looked up his career stats on NHL.com. It won’t wow anyone. His career-high point total is 12 in 2011-12 season. He hasn’t played more than 63 games in a season. So it seems he’s a career 7th blueliner on a team that already has prospects Jordan Schmaltz, Jake Walman, and Vince Dunn hoping to crack the lineup this year.

He does provide depth, and that’s always useful. Lower pairing defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Carl Gunnarsson are prone to injuries, so Prosser does provide insurance against that.

An added benefit is his familiarity with coach Mike Yeo. Prosser played formerly for the Minnesota Wild.

My own hope, though, is that Schmaltz and/or Walman and Dunn will get opportunities to continue their professional development with the NHL club.

Thanks for reading.



Will Parayko Be Worth It?

Last week, Colton Parayko signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract extension to remain with the St. Louis Blues. The signing meant he and the team avoided an arbitration hearing, and ensured he’d be a key part of the team’s blueline for years to come.

My tendency with any Blues contract signing has usually been a reaction like the following:

My expectations (and hopes) for each contract has been woefully under what they end up being. To  me, you should be able to get a 20-goal scorer for $3 mil/yr and a middle-pair defenseman for the same.

But earnings in the league continue to go up, as they always do, so in reality, Parayko’s contract may actually be a good value. I went back and looked at some of the most recent signings of defensemen.

Last summer, Seth Jones signed a 6-yr, $32.4 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jones scored 17 goals and 52 overall points in his first two seasons in the league. Like Parayko, he’s big at 6’4. He rewarded the Jackets with a career high in points (42) last season.

Torey Krug, a Boston Bruin, also signed a contract in the summer of ’16. His was 4 years with a total value of $21 million. He scored 44 points in the ’15-16 season, a career high, prior to signing the contract.

This summer, Dmitry Orlov signed a 6-yr deal worth over $30 million. He puts up good points, but he doesn’t have Parayko’s size.

Of the 3 I mentioned, Parayko is the biggest. His size adds to his worth, since it’s valued by clubs. And Parayko has shown smarts in using his size to full effect. He should score more goals as he continues to develop. Among Blues defensemen in the 2016-17 season, only Alex Pietrangelo put up more points (48), then Parayko (35).

As far as the AAV, $5.5 million seems like elite money. But the salary cap is now at $75 million, and $5.5 mil is far, far under the maximum salary a player can earn, which is $15 million. Mentally, I’m stuck in the time when Paul Kariya’s $7 million/yr was pretty close to the league maximum.

Also contributing to my preconceived notions is the Jay Bouwmeester contract, which at $5 million plus is a lot of dough for a guy who contributed only 15 points last season. In his prime, he regularly notched 40-plus.

So do I think Parayko will be worth it? Yes, I do. He and Pietrangelo will be a solid 1-2 for a long time, allowing the Blues to develop such youngsters as Jake Walman, Vince Dunn, and Jordan Schmaltz in the years to come.

Thanks for reading.