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Blues put Mueller, Prosser on waivers.
Hall of Famer will be a sounding board for Hitchcock and also work with the club's minor-league affiliate.
The lineup Hitchcock put on the ice vs. Carolina is close to the one he’ll have on opening day.
He will play on a line with Stastny and Lindstrom.
First NHL teams looked at their kids. Then they gave depth guys their chance. Now coaches are locking in serious season preparation with their key players.
This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.
The lockout is over and it is time for the St. Louis Blues to pick up where they left off. After seeing his team record one of the best records in franchise history, recently re-signed GM Doug Armstrong has brought nearly the same band back together. With just a few minor changes, the Blues will look to go further than the second round of the playoffs in the shortened 2012-13 season.
Forwards: Vladimir Tarasenko, Andrew Murray.
Defensemen: Wade Redden, Taylor Chorney, Jeff Woywitka.
Goaltenders: Mike McKenna.
On the outs
Forwards: B.J. Crombeen (TBL).
Defensemen: Carlo Colaiacovo (DET).
Give General Manager Doug Armstrong some credit. When he identifies a need he isn't afraid to pull the trigger on a move.
The latest example of fearlessness came Friday as the St. Louis Blues agreed in principal to a 1 year, $800,000 deal with defenseman Wade Redden.
The 35 year old Lloydminster, Saskatchewan native has been the subject of much debate in the hockey world over the last few years.
After departing the Ottawa Senators in 2008 offseason by agreeing to a six-year, $39 million contract with the New York Rangers Redden's play declined in comparison to the deal. So much so that the Blueshirts shipped the veteran to their AHL affiliate in Hartford in 2010. A transaction whose sole purpose was to extricate the gaudy cap hit from their books. The tactic of "burying" an established player with a large contract, in terms of length and value, in the minors was seen by some in the media and around the league as cap circumvention. Redden's contract is one many have pointed to as why stricter rules and regulations regarding free agency are needed to reign in front offices with the capacity to overspend and inflate prices on the open market with reduced consequences.
In his two seasons with the Hartford Wolf Pack/Connecticut Whale, Redden has racked up 12 goals and 62 points in 119 games. He also served as team captain in the 2011-12 campaign. Redden has 994 career NHL appearances spread out over 13 seasons. Amassing 106 goals, 450 points, and a Plus-162 rating in total.
Even if Redden no longer the 10 goal, 40+ point a season producer he once was, he should bring a steady veteran presence to the Blues lineup. An important factor to note considering the departures of Jason Arnott, and specifically on the backend, Carlo Colaiacovo. In terms of what the 2nd overall pick from the 1995 draft brings on the ice, think a stereotypical "two-way" defender. One not all that dissimilar to former Blues captain, Eric Brewer. That said, the low risk nature of the contract should keep the jeers to a minimum compared to "the one Pronger was traded for".
Assuming a the mandatory physical on Sunday uncovers no hidden health issues the Blues' newest defenseman should be available for Monday's game against division rival Nashville.
In a shortened 48-game schedule, every game becomes an important one. That one loss in late January could be the difference between making the playoffs and hitting the golf course in May.
That is not to say that there aren’t plenty of noteworthy games strung throughout the season. Here are the highlights of the Blues’ 2012-13 NHL season:
•Saturday, January 19: The Blues open the season at home against the Detroit Red Wings.
•Saturday, January 19 – Thursday, January 24: After the season opener, the Blues will travel to Nashville to play the Predators on January 21, then to Chicago to play the Blackhawks on January 22 (Chicago’s home opener), and then the Predators in St. Louis on January 24. These are three of the four rivals in the Central Division.
•Sunday, January 27: The Blues will host the team that signed superstar UFAs Zach Parise and Ryan Suter over the summer, the Minnesota Wild. This is also scheduled to be the Blues’ first game of the season to be shown on NBC Sports Network.
•Monday, February 11: The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings will play the Blues at Scottrade Center for the first time since the Western Semifinals in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This article was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.
One would think that a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame would be easy for someone of Chris Pronger’s caliber. He has won a Stanley Cup and two Olympic Gold Medals, while also adding a James Norris Memorial Trophy and a Hart Trophy to his resume. Yet, despite likely played in his last game on November 19, 2011, Pronger may not be enshrined in Toronto until 2020 at the ripe age of 46.
This is due to the structure of the Type 35-Plus section of the recently expired Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is best summed up by CapGeek:
Players who sign multi-year contracts when they are age 35 or older (calculated on June 30 of the season the contract begins) count toward the cap under all circumstances, regardless of where (or if) the player is playing. The only cap relief is $100,000 from the player's cap hit if he is assigned to the minors after the first year of the contract (NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, 2005, Section 50.5 d-i-B-5, p. 203).
This means that a player that has signed a contract after turning 35 can retire, but the team will still face that player’s cap-hit for each of the remaining years of his contract.
When Pronger was traded to the Flyers from Anaheim in June 2009, he signed a 7-year, $34.45 million contract extension days later at 34 years old. Because Pronger still had one year remaining on his contract he signed with Anaheim, his extension did not kick in until the following season, making him 35 when the contract went into effect. Thus, Pronger falls into the aforementioned section of the CBA.
This post was originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com.
After a season that saw the Blues climb to second place in the Western Conference standings, the players had to pack up and head in different directions across the world. Some skaters headed to Germany, some to Sweden and some even stayed in the regional area.
Thanks to modern technology, it has become very simple to see how well each player is doing in their respective new league. Here are where locked out Blues players are currently playing, as well as their up-to-date point totals: