Veteran center was the No. 8 overall pick by the Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Draft.
After three seasons as backup goaltender, he has a contract extension and owns the starting job.
Chris Zimmerman first met owner Tom Stillman playing pick-up hockey in New York in the 1980s.
Dan O'Neill writes that the value of Blues' role player was overestimated.
His $2,725,000 salary will carry over to the season in which he returns to the NHL.
This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.
On a very quiet July 1, the Blues were almost dead silent.
The Blues made deals, but national coverage of the big names kept them from making headlines. The Blues added defensemen Taylor Chorney, Scott Ford and goaltender Mike McKenna, who is a St. Louis native.
All three players signed identical 1-year, 2-way contracts.
McKenna’s contract caps off a memorable weekend, as he married his wife Rachel on Saturday. McKenna could not hold back his excitement on his Twitter feed:
McKenna was on the Blues’ training camp roster in 2007 but joined the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in 2008. He has spent the last four seasons with the Lightning, New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators organizations. He has a 4-9-1 record in 18 career NHL games played. McKenna will likely back-up starting goalie Jake Allen with the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL.
Chorney, 25, spent the last four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, while having a brief stint with the Blues. The Oilers placed him on waivers on October 10, 2011 for an assignment to the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL but the Blues claimed him before that could happen. He played two games for the Blues before being placed back on waivers and re-claimed by the Oilers on November 10. Chorney has played in 61 NHL games and has registered 1 goal, 6 assists and 7 points with a career -31 rating.
Ford, 33, has not played in an NHL game in his eight-season professional hockey career. In 379 AHL games, Ford has posted 13 goals and 37 assists for 50 points, along with a career plus-49 and 594 penalty minutes. He went undrafted and has played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Providence Bruins and Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL.
These signings were made mostly for the Rivermen, but Chorney stands a good chance of being the first call-up with any injury to the Blues’ defensive core.
Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong admits that they were involved in talking with NHL quality players today as well.
"We were active in talking to some players that we thought could help our team," Armstrong said. "But we’re pretty finite on what we need. A lot of the players that were signed today, they didn’t fill a need or desire for our team."
It is widely known that the Blues are looking to bring in a top-4 NHL defenseman. Reports suggest that the Blues had reached out to defenseman Jason Garrison, who scored 16 goals last season for the Florida Panthers. He later signed a 6-year, $27.6 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
Rumors are also circulating that the Blues are still interested in Matt Carle, who may be waiting for Ryan Suter to sign before making his decision. Suter’s contract could dictate what Carle will be asking.
"It has to play out," added Armstrong. "The players that we’re looking at, there’s probably two-thirds of the league looking at them. So I think it’s something that you just have to let it play itself out."