In order to finalize the 2023-24 St. Louis Blues opening night roster, the team, and general manager Doug Armstrong had to make some difficult roster decisions based on the play during the preseason.
The season for the Blues does not get underway until Thursday, but St. Louis has already captured a big win to start the year. On Sunday, Calle Rosen, Mackenzie MacEachern, Malcolm Subban, and Nathan Walker were all placed on waivers to be sent to AHL Springfield.
On Monday, none of the Blues players that were sent down were claimed by any team, meaning that they will remain in the Blues’ organization and are available as reinforcements should St. Louis need them this summer.
MacEachern resigned with the Blues as a free agent after a quick stint with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. The 29-year-old signed a two-year deal this offseason after not appearing in any regular season games for Carolina but recording two points in the playoffs in eight games.
He won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019, and he knows the system that head coach Craig Berube likes to operate and will be a valuable depth piece for St. Louis heading into the season.
Walker has been a perplexing player for the Blues over the last four years. He has just 111 NHL games under his belt in six NHL seasons with the Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers, and Blues.
He has 12 career goals and 13 assists with St. Louis, and all of his production seems to come immediately after being recalled from the AHL. It’s no surprise that we saw Walker go unclaimed, and his physical nature hints that he will be one of the first forwards recalled in 2023-24.
Subban was brought in over the offseason as an insurance policy for backup goalie Joel Hofer. Subban has bounced around quite a bit over his NHL career. He is entering his eighth season as a professional goalie, and the Blues will be his fifth different franchise.
In seasons with the Vegas Golden Knights, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Buffalo Sabres, Subban had a 36-33-9 record with a .898 save percentage while allowing 3.10 goals per game.
The 29-year-old was solid in training camp for the St. Louis Blues, and it would not have been surprising to see him picked up by an injury-plagued team like the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Blues, however, will be glad to see him anchoring the AHL net.
That brings us to Rosen, who was the most likely candidate to be claimed on the open market by another team. Rosen had a breakout season with the Blues in 2022-23, recording eight goals and 18 points in just 49 games played.
In a year where the Blues’ defense was mediocre at best, Rosen took advantage of available play time and was featured in many of Blues’ lineups.
St. Louis would have likely not seen him go through waivers if not for the contract situation of Scott Perunovich, who beat out Rosen for a spot on the team’s opening-night roster.
Rosen won’t light the world on fire, but with the Blue’s seemingly constant injuries to their defensemen, it’s a good thing that Rosen will remain in the organization.