Top 10 2012-13 Hopeful New Faces PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ponder   
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 04:03

This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.

We have already seen spurts of future NHL talent who may be seeing full-time NHL action this coming season. I am of course talking about talent such as Mika Zibanejad (Ottawa), Jaden Schwartz (St. Louis), Jacob Markstrom (Florida) and Sven Baertschi (Calgary).

Who will get their chance this season?

Making the jump from any league to the NHL is no easy task. It takes a lot of skill and determination to get even a few games in with an NHL club. These are the ten players who stand the best chance to play in their first NHL game and stay with the club all season long.

1. Vladimir Tarasenko (RW) – St. Louis Blues

2011-12 Team: St. Petersburg SKA (KHL)

Reason: Tarasenko has been having Blues management, fans and players fantasizing over his possible entrance into the NHL since being drafted in 2010. Now that Tarasenko has reached a deal with the Blues, he will step into a roster that desperately needs help scoring. Finishing the 2011-12 season at 21st in goals-scored-per-game (2.51), the Blues hope that Tarasenko can translate his strong play from the KHL to North-American hockey. The Russian forward finished 9th in scoring in the KHL last season with 47 points.

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Recent St. Louis Blues’ Moves Only the Beginning? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ponder   
Thursday, 12 July 2012 05:00

This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.

St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong's phone was busy this week.

It was announced on Tuesday that the club agreed to terms with unrestricted free-agent forward Jamie Langenbrunner on a one-year, $1.25 million contract that has the potential to earn him an extra $250,000 in incentives.  Langenbrunner, 36, scored 6 goals and 18 assists last season as the Blues’ assistant captain.

Shortly after the Langenbrunner signing was made public, Armstrong traded forward B.J. Crombeen and the Blues’ fourth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for the Lightning’s fourth-round picks in the 2013 and 2014 drafts.  Crombeen scored 1 goal, 2 assists and accumulated 71 penalty minutes in 40 games last season.

While these may seem like minor shake-ups on the surface, the motor may be running hot underneath the hood in St. Louis

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday morning that the club had their sights set on Dallas Stars’ Captain Brenden Morrow as a trade target.  Rutherford reported that the 34-year old left-wing was known to be available, as the Blues, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks are all listed as teams that are expressing their interest.

But Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk denied these claims, stating that he recently spoke with Morrow about his future with the Stars organization.

"We had a good talk the other day, and I told him I very much believe there’s a place for him on this team," Nieuwendyk told the Dallas Morning News. "I told him I fully expect him to be out there on the power play in front of the net where he’s always been."

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Perron Re-Signs with Blues, Oshie Files for Arbitration PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ponder   
Friday, 06 July 2012 04:13

This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.

The Blues can check off one of their biggest priorities for the summer.  David Perron is under contract for another four years.

The Canadian-born left-wing signed a four-year, $15.25 million contract extension.  The cap-hit will be a miniscule $3.8 million per season, while the contract itself is back loaded.  Perron will be paid $3 million in 2012-13, $3.5 million in 2013-14, $4.25 million in 2014-15 and $4.5 million in 2015-16, according to capgeek.com.

“I love the city of St. Louis and I’m thrilled to play in front of these awesome fans for another four years,” Perron told stlouisblues.com. “We had an excellent regular season but we all feel this team has so much more to accomplish.”

Perron was one of the brightest stories to come out of the 2011-12 NHL season.  After suffering a career-threatening concussion caused by a hit from Sharks center Joe Thornton on November 4, 2010, Perron returned to the Blues lineup on December 3, 2011 at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.  Perron scored on his third shift of the game at 6:51 of the first period in the Blues’ 5-2 loss.

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Blues Add Depth But Are Not Finished PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ponder   
Monday, 02 July 2012 03:45

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:

“Can't describe how excited I am to wear the Bluenote. 29 years old, 7 years pro, still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.”

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Jackman, Blues Agree to 3-Year Contract Extension PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Ponder   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 00:58

This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.

Being tenured with one team for ten years is a rarity in professional sports nowadays.

10-year veteran Barret Jackman, who has spent his entire NHL career as a St. Louis Blue, agreed to a three-year contract extension Monday morning.  Jackman is not only the longest-tenured defenseman in the NHL, but the longest-tenured athlete in St. Louis.

The contract will pay Jackman $9.50 million over the next three seasons ($3 million in 2012-13; $3.25 million in 2013-14 and $3.25 million in 2014-15).  According to the current CBA, his cap-hit will be $3.17 million per season.  Jackman will be 34 years old when his new contract expires.

The highlight of Jackman’s season came on February 18, when he broke a league-high 150 game goalless drought in a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild at Scottrade Center.

Jackman was a staple in the Blues’ rebuild.  He was the only player left on the Blues’ roster from their last-place finish in 2005-06 after Eric Brewer was traded exactly one year before Jackman broke his goalless drought in February.

With Jackman signed, the writing is likely on the wall for upcoming unrestricted free-agent defensemen Kent Huskins and Carlo Colaiacovo.  Up-and-comers Ian Cole and Cade Fairchild stand a pretty good chance of making the Blues’ roster out of training camp, so there will be minimal vacancies on the blue line in St. Louis.

But was this the right decision?

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