Hockey fans, St. Louis Blues fans in particular, can be a funny bunch. Apparently there has been a little uproar over the amount of players invited on pro tryout contracts.
Ah, St. Louis Blues fans. You are such an interesting lot. Such odd and trivial things are picked out as things to make a big deal of.
Usually it’s picking on a player or players who are only trying their best and labeling them in rather nasty ways. Now, the ire has shifted to the professional tryout contract.
While most simply see it as a way to flesh out a roster or just give a look to a player trying to hang on or bust through, others are taking exception. Though it’s commonly done in baseball, it seems some fans don’t like it in hockey.
The Blues already had a list of players invited to camp for a tryout. T.J. Galiardi, Mike Weber, Eric Nystrom and Yan Stastny were already listed.
Porter played parts of six seasons with the Blues before playing in Minnesota last year. He’s not going to make any big impact on the team, if he is given a full contract, but he knows the team and can be a valuable piece if injuries mount.
Vaughn played his junior hockey in St. Louis with the Bandits of the NAHL. I had the privilege of calling his games.
He was a quick defender with some good moves and passing ability. He played four seasons with the University of Michigan and several years in the minors. He’s been with the Chicago Wolves, the Blues minor league affiliate. Now, he is just trying to get a deal with the Blues, even if it only means he’ll stay in the AHL.
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There is no reason to be upset at the inclusion of any of these names. They aren’t going to take anyone’s spot on the roster. They aren’t going to take time away.
I understand there are fans that don’t care for Ken Hitchcock. They are worried he’ll rely on veterans again. However, he has seen how well the youth can play and they’ve all earned their spots.
Bringing in players on pro tryouts is nothing more than adding insurance. If the player fits, they stay and sit in the press box or in the minors.
The players can use it to latch on with other teams as well. It can simply be a way to reward a player for past service.
Also, anyone worried about these players getting significant time when the Blues did not sign any free agents need to get some reality. The Blues don’t have any cap room.
The team is going under the assumption that Vladimir Sobotka is playing this season. His contract is not currently figured into any of the online cap space figures.
So, the Blues only have a few hundred thousand dollars to maybe $1 million. That’s enough to give a two-way deal to one or two of these guys.
It is not enough to have signed someone during the summer. It’s not enough to have taken in much salary in a big trade.
We all need to take a breath and realize the situation. The Blues are what they are right now.
Nobody arriving on a tryout contract is going to be a significant contributor unless something goes wrong with a current roster player.
That does not mean they can’t provide value. The Blues have a lot of injury history lately and having guys ready to step in is a good thing.