Currently the St. Louis Blues entire second line is listed on Injured Reserve. With no time table for return, Vladimir Tarasenko and Andy McDonald are expected to be out of the St. Louis Blues lineup for at least the next few weeks. Alex Steen, meanwhile, is battling a shoulder injury and was a late placement on IR, most likely due to the strong play of Adam Cracknell and Chris Porter. Add to that fact that Jamie Langenbrunner is out for the rest of the season, and the Blues could use another forward to fill the gaps while they wait for their core players to return.
Mar 27, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Jason Arnott (44) takes a shot against the Nashville Predators during the third period at the Scottrade Center. The Blues defeated the Predators 3-0 and set a franchise record for home wins in a season at 30 wins. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Enter Jason Arnott. At the end of last season the St. Louis Blues chose to part ways with the aging veteran, Arnott due to differences of opinion between Coach Ken Hitchcock and the former All-Star. Arnott was forced to sit during games three and four of the Western Conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Kings which did not sit well with the former Stanley Cup Champion.
This season, the St. Louis Blues looked like a team that had more than enough depth to manage through the year, but losing an entire line at once will make you question that, and after signing a contract and being unable to pass the physical due to a shoulder issue, Arnott is still campaigning to join a team.
According to reports, Hitchcock and Arnott met on Saturday night to discuss where Arnott could fit into the Blues lineup and what his role would be. Now 38, Arnott skated on Sunday morning with the St. Louis Blues at the American Airlines Center and is said to be continuing with the team joining in practices until the Blues decide whether they think they have the room for Arnott and can rationalize the signing.
St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong commented to the press about Arnott joining the team for practice,
I talked to Jason’s representative (late last week) and he said he still has that burning desire to play. It made me start to think, if you’ve accomplished everything he has, and you’re into March and you still want to play, you have the passion for the game. He’s going to join us this week on the road trip, make sure his body is with his mind and that he is ready to play. He did have some off-season surgery. We have information from the doctors that he is ready to go.
With just 27 games left in the regular season, the St. Louis Blues do not have long to decide if they will want to take the veteran on and add his experience of 417 goals and 521 assists in 1,244 NHL games. While things did not end well last season between the Blues and Arnott, there is still a chance he could come back and prove that he is willing to smooth things over.
The question would be where does Arnott fit into the Blues lineup. At 38, Arnott probably does not have much gas left in the tank and could become a fixture on the fourth line. Last season Arnott was helpful on the powerplay, but this year it seems the Blues have found success with the booming shot of big old number 44.
November 27, 2011; Columbus, OH, USA; St. Louis Blues center Jason Arnott (44) passes the puck as Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Derek Dorsett (15) defends during the third period at Nationwide Arena. St. Louis beat Columbus 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Still, the Blues are without their second line and have been forced to move guys into positions they are not naturally suited for. While Vladimir Sobotka seems to be a jack of all trades, he is naturally a winger and his play seems to be benefit from playing on the wings. It could benefit the Blues to add another big body down the middle if they cannot enhance the team through a trade.
Only time will tell if the Blues are willing to take a chance on Arnott, but Andy Strickland did tweet that the entire second line of the Blues will be re-evaluated this week.
Stay tuned for more updates as we have them.
LET’S GO BLUES!