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.
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