Arnott Recovering from Knee Surgery
Forward Jason Arnott is recovering nicely after having knee surgery about two weeks ago. The veteran forward played through knee and shoulder injuries during the season which led to him being shut down in the playoffs. At the time Arnott and head Coach Ken Hitchcock differed on whether injury was limiting his play on the ice. I’m told Arnott has done some reflecting and accepted he was unable to play at the level the team needed at the time.
Most proud athletes assume they can still get the job done even at 75-80% and Arnott is no different. He’s had a long, successful career and takes tremendous care of himself off the ice. The esteemed Dr. Tony Miniaci performed the scope and Arnott is expected to be 100% in about a month.
Arnott has every intention of playing his 19th NHL season next year and his first preference is to remain with the Blues. St. Louis has several decisions to make and whether to bring Arnott back is one of them. He scored 17 goals last season and looked fresh the first several months of the year. He also battled a shoulder injury that Dr. Miniaci evaluated before determining surgery wasn’t necessary. Arnott can still score goals and his shot isn’t going anywhere. For a team needing veteran, winning experience and a threat on the power play Arnott is certainly an option for a number of clubs.
Barret Jackman- The grass isn’t always greener even if there’s more green being offered. In other words Jackman seems more interested in quality of life and remaining with the only organization he knows rather than looking for the highest offer.
No matter what Jackman decides to do he’ll be paid well. At only 31 years of age he’s probably in position to fetch a three-year contract in the $3-$3.5 range. This is the price range for an experienced player like Jackman who also brings something to the table in the dressing room. He might have a better chance of getting a fourth year in free agency.
There’s something to be said for a player who plays hard and loves the city he plays in. You’re going to get an honest effort every single night. The Blues know they might have a hard time replacing him in free agency given the thin marketplace. It’s probably going to cost more to replace him than it would be to keep him.
I’ll be surprised if a deal isn’t reached.
The Blues haven’t completely shut the door on Colaiacovo but they will allow him to get to July first and test the waters. He’s coming off a two –year extension with St. Louis and is probably eyeing a contract similar to the $3.5 million Johnny Oduya was recently paid. Look for Colaiacovo to keep the communication open between he and the Blues even after July 1st.
There’s interest on both sides to return to the Blues for a second year. With Langenbrunner’s son enrolled to play youth hockey in St. Louis next season it appears he’ll re-sign. There will need to be clarity on his role and he’ll obviously need to accept it. Looking at the 2012-2013 roster Langenbruner probably fits in as a fourth line player who can move up if necessary. Word is Langenbrunner would accept a fourth line role should that be what the team needs. He feels St. Louis has a chance to continue to build towards something special and wants to be a part of it. It’s possible a deal gets done as early as next week.
I fully expect Nichol to return. Here’s a guy you just want on your team. He loves hockey, wants to win and plays for all the right reasons. You only wish he came along earlier in his career.
Sometimes overhauling your roster is the last thing you should do. You need continuity to build chemistry and too many changes can often work against you. We all know the LA Kings were much better than an eight seed and people forget they made the playoffs the last few years before this recent run. It takes time and there’s a learning process along the way.
You also need veteran players to get you through the highs and the lows during the season and this is why it’s important to bring some of these guys back. Nichol set his market value a long time ago and it doesn’t change much from year to year. Look for another one-year deal in the $700,000 range.
Chris Porter will be testing free agency after spending the last five years with the Blues. Many are interested to see what he’s capable of doing if presented a real opportunity. He spent the entire season in the NHL last year but saw just 47 games. He played two AHL games during the NHL all star break. He’s a guy still finding his way as a pro but has the speed and work ethic to play a quality energy role. He’s a worker off the ice and is hoping there’s a team willing to throw a one-way offer his direction. He'd like nothing more than to settle into a role with an NHL club.
I’ll get into the RFA’s soon.
Good luck to Blues assistant medical trainer Mike Hannegan who has taken the same position with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Blues will be sending a nice sized traveling party to Las Vegas for the NHL awards show. Ken Hitchcock is the favorite for the Jack Adams award while Doug Armstrong (Exec of the Year) and captain David Backes (Selke) are also finalists for awards.
New Owner Tom Stillman will be attending his first Board of Governors meeting since taking over the franchise.
Schultz to Narrow List….
University of Wisconsin D-man Justin Schultz will remain on the Anaheim Ducks reserve list until June 25th. I mentioned the other day of some Canadian based teams who will likely express serious interest. The reality is virtually all 30 teams have expressed at least some level of interest. Once no longer property of Anaheim Schultz will narrow his list to just a handful of teams. Many believe the right shot D-man can run a NHL power play next season and has the physical tools plus the hockey sense to step right into the NHL.
More to come,
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