Arnott Back in Blue
Jason Arnott isn’t ready to call it quits.
The 38 year-old center still feels he can help an NHL club and the St. Louis Blues are the latest team to give him a shot.
Things came about last week between the two sides and with the Blues heading out to Dallas the timing was there. With the team injury stricken and lacking the veteran presence that helped them win the Central Division last season, the Blues are apparently exploring all options when it comes to shaping their roster.
Whether there’s an actual fit remains to be seen.
The Blues want to see Arnott practice, which he’ll do this week, before officially making a decision. GM Doug Armstrong tells me there are no strings attached. They’ll simply let him skate with the team and take it from there.
Arnott has played over 1,200 career games including 72 last year with the Blues so they have a pretty good idea what he brings to the table. It’s not like he has to set the world on fire in practice this week. With the Blues playing Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday there will be limited practice time available.
He’s currently living in Dallas where he skated with the Stars throughout the lockout. Once the NHL season began he started skating with the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League.
Up until the last week Arnott had been going at it pretty hard and it shouldn’t come as any surprise that he’s kept himself in good physical condition.
The relationship between Arnott and the team became fractured after the Blues shut him down in the playoffs. An ailing knee affected Arnott’s play down the stretch and the Blues felt they had no choice but to sit him.
A decision Arnott disagreed with.
Following the season Arnott came to grips with Ken Hitchcock’s decision and admitted his knee injury prevented him from playing up to NHL standards.
Ken Hitchcock and Arnott have since spoken and it looks like both are back on the same page.
He had the knee scoped last summer by renowned specialist Dr. Anthony Miniaci in Cleveland and Arnott was cleared to play for several months ago.
The fact the Blues are considering bringing Arnott on board tells us the team wants more experience in the dressing room. With the season-ending injury to Jamie Langenbrunner, the team is missing a dynamic that made them so successful a year ago.
At the end of the day the player has to be able to contribute. Having a respected voice in the dressing room only goes so far if the player can’t make an impact on the ice.
The Blues and Arnott have already discussed a potential contract and getting the player signed will be a non issue.
I’m told a decision can be expected by the end of the week and with back to back games over the weekend we could see Arnott as soon as Saturday in San Jose or Sunday in Anaheim.
In Late January Arnott agreed to a 1-year contract with the New York Rangers. The deal would have paid Arnott a pro-rated $1.6 million salary.
The deal was later voided due to Arnott failing his physical but sources say this wasn’t completely injury related. There may have been some miscommunication inside the Rangers organization.
Arnott played well for the Blues last season before injury broke him down. He showed he could still pound the puck and help the team on the power play. He finished the year with 17 goals.
More to come,
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