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Results of early preseason hockey games are meaningless by almost any standard. Half the players on the ice are targeted for juniors or the minors and are years away from being NHL ready. Team…
A legend in the Montreal Canadiens' organization, he will be a sounding board for Hitchcock and also work with the club's minor-league affiliate.
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.
Blues forward will wear No. 17 to honor his late sister Mandi.
While fan-favorite T.J. Oshie remains unsigned, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong is still getting down to business.
Armstrong has retained the rights to Vladimir Sobotka, Chris Porter, Nikita Nikitin and T.J. Hensick.
Vladimir Sobotka signs a three-year, $3.9 million contract extension
Deal will reportedly pay Sobotka $1.2 million next season, then $1.3 million, then $1.4 million.
Sobotka’s contract may be considered a steal for St. Louis. In his first season as a Blue, Sobotka set career-highs in goals (7), assists (22) and points (29). Sobotka, who was acquired from Boston last summer for prospect defenseman David Warsofsky, truly exceeded expectations in 2010-11. Mainly expected to be a fourth-line grinder who could put a few pucks in the net, Sobotka saw a lot of time on the top two scoring lines due to numerous injuries to top-forwards. It is obvious that Armstrong is impressed with Sobotka and will expect him to reach career-highs again sometime in the near future.
Chris Porter signs a one-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal is believed to be in the $550K - $800K range.
Porter, 27 and a native of Toronto, Ontario, played in 45 games for the Blues last season. Playing primarily on the fourth line, Porter contributed three goals and four assists to the club. As a member of the Peoria Rivermen, Porter’s best AHL season came in 2009-10 when he amassed 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in 80 games played. Porter is expected to challenge for a permanent spot on the Blues’ checking line, as he seems to be in good graces with Armstrong.
“I'd like to publicly say it, the person who took the greatest advantage of his opportunity was [Chris] Porter,” Armstrong told Blues beat-writer Lou Korac at the end of the season. “He came in and he really stepped up. In his role, he was the most effective of the call-up players in my opinion. He was the one guy that came in and really said that he wants to position himself to be on the cups of being an everyday NHL player. [Ryan] Reaves came up and played well, too, but no one was more consistent at that than Porter. So I want to give that accolade to him.”
Nikita Nikitin signs a one-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal is believed to be in the $700K - $1.1 million range.
There is not one Blue that took better advantage of his opportunities last season than Nikita Nikitin. The native of Omsk, Russia bounced between the Rivermen and Blues early last season but became a mainstay after his January 23 call-up. After that, Nikitin settled down defensively and even scored his first NHL goal. Nikitin finished his rookie season with 1 goal and 8 assists and posted a plus-1.
T.J. Hensick signs a two-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal is believed to be in the $600K - $1 million range.
Hensick is a fast skater that can find the back of the net or an open teammate more often than not. Last season, Hensick led the Rivermen in points with 69 (21G, 48A). He has a good shot that will fear any goalie… in the AHL. Hensick has found himself hitting the wall when he gets the call-up to the NHL. Hensick averaged 2.76 shots-per-game when playing with the Rivermen, but only averaged 1.08 shots-per-game in his 13 games played in St. Louis. His ice-time obviously plays a huge factor in that statistic but Hensick has to be more effective if he plans on playing on the NHL club. More likely than not, Hensick will dazzle Peoria fans most of the season and be one of the first call-ups when an injury happens to the Blues’ forwards.
Blues News and Notes: The Blues also announced that they have signed forward Sebastian Wannstrom, their second-round draft selection from 2010. The Blues picked Wannstrom 44th overall… Jeremy Rutherford reports that the Blues are likely letting UFAs Cam Janssen and Ty Conklin walk come July 1. They will want to promote from within, as Ben Bishop and Ryan Reaves are hopeful to step in and take their spots.
The Blues still have seven players under contract who are slated to be free-agents on July 1.
Forwards: T.J. Oshie (RFA), B.J. Crombeen (RFA), Cam Janssen (UFA), Matt D’Agostini (RFA), Dave Scatchard (UFA)
Defensemen: Tyson Strachan (RFA)
Goalies: Ty Conklin (UFA)
The recent action taken on Aaron Rome and his hit on Nathan Horton in the Stanley Cup Finals is just another reminder that the NHL disciplinary system is simply not working.
Rome, who lined Horton up and nailed him with a shoulder in his head, received a four-game suspension from the league. Horton will miss the remainder of the playoffs with a concussion.
"Two factors were considered in reaching this decision," said Mike Murphy, the NHL senior vice president of hockey operations. "The hit by Rome was clearly beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck and it caused a significant injury."
The suspension means that Rome will not be able to participate in the remainder of the series.
Rome was punished and will not be able to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup on the rink, if the Canucks can pull off a victory. That is a pretty big punishment for someone who has battled all season for that chance. But why do I still laugh at this penalty?
Let’s take a look at recent history of suspensions and fines.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong had an easy decision to make at season’s end.
The list of players becoming free-agents seems to be a mile long, but three players had to be a top-priority. Forwards Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka and defenseman Roman Polak were all key re-signings heading into the off-season. Armstrong wasted no time mulling over the three players’ futures with the organization.
On Tuesday morning, Armstrong announced that he had reached a deal with center Patrik Berglund that would keep him in St. Louis for another two years. The deal, reportedly, will pay the Swede $2.25 million in each of the next two seasons.
Armstrong was not finished there. Announced Thursday morning, the Blues reached an agreement with 25-year old defenseman Roman Polak, which will pay him $2.75 million in each of the next five seasons.
In addition, reports say that the Blues have reached an agreement with Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka, which will pay him $1.30 annually over the next three seasons. Reports say that the deal has reached a verbal agreement, but Sobotka is yet to sign the contract.
"Hello, dear fans ... I made a decision to stay with Sibir next year… I will try to bring you joy with my game. Thanks to all who supported me."
These are the words of Blues Russian prospect Vladimir Tarasenko, spoken sometime earlier this week. HC Sibir, Tarasenko’s current team in the KHL, posted a video on the front page of their website that featured Tarasenko telling his fans that he would return for the 2011-12 season. The video was posted in Russian and was translated by Yahoo hockey reporter Dmitry Chesnokov.
What does this spell for Blues fans? No Tarasenko for at least one more season.
Fire and brimstone, right? Time to raid Russia and take what is rightfully ours. Tarasenko is a liar to the St. Louis people!
Don’t jump to those conclusions yet. Tarasenko, the Blues’ 16th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is still under contract for the coming season. He has every right to stay in Russia and play out his contract.
A recent discussion on the LetsGoBlues.com forums made me want to do a little investigating into recent Blues’ history. It’s quite staggering the information that I have received.
We all know of the recent trade that sent Eric Brewer to Tampa Bay. Brewer has gone on to be quite the success thus far in Tampa, scoring one goal and five assists and getting top-defenseman minutes throughout the playoffs. There is a reason for this; Brewer is just the latest successor in Blues’ transaction history involving the one and only Scott Stevens.
It’s true; Brewer is tied in with the Hall-of-Fame defenseman. Take a look at the line that Brewer has followed: