The St. Louis Blues have been on the fast track to increasing their rosters depth lately. They’ve already re-signed forwards T.J. Oshie and Matt D’Agostini before the free agency period started. In the last week they’ve bolstered their attack with veteran and faceoff specialist Scott NIchol, and brought likewise veteran talent to their defence with Kent Huskins.
On Wednesday they bolstered their offense more, with key signings in veteran forwards Jamie Lagenbrunner and Jason Arnott.
Each players deal is worth $2.5 million, plus $300,000 in bonuses. Blues general manager also stated specifically that both players were not on a rental basis saying, “I just think they wanted to make sure they were going into a situation that they thought was best for them, not only this year but both players want to play multiple years.” On the matter of Langenbrunner and Arnott sticking around past their one year deals he stated, “If we have success as a team and as a group, I don’t see why these relationships can’t continue.”
The 36-year old Arnott, coming off an off year split between New Jersey and Washington, had 17 goals and 14 assists during the 2010-2011 season. Many critics have stated that Arnott is past his prime years, like when he netted 76 points for the Dallas Stars in the 2005-2006 season. This is simply not true. There should be no question that being dealt at the deadline had a major effect on his game, and if he was to stay in New Jersey during the late season run they had, they probably would have slipped into the post season. Playing with former teammates in a new city, from the first puck drop of the year, will show NHL fans who and what Jason Arnott really is.
The 35-year old Lagenbrunner is coming off a disappointing season of his own, in which he netted just nine goals and 23 assists in 70 games for the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils. While I’m not the person who usually accepts excuses for not performing, many of the players in Dallas have been playing under a regime of problems with the ownership issues in Dallas. Langenbrunner’s best season came in his 2009-10 campaign where he accrued 70 points wearing Devil red.
It’s safe to say that the Blues haven’t been one of the busiest teams in the free agency market, but they at least on the surface, seem to be building a team that could possible be the one to bring the franchise back to the playoffs, where they haven’t been since 2009. General manager Doug Armstrong commented, “We feel we’ve really improved our team since July 1st. I think we’re very comfortable with the group that we have.”
Personally, I agree with the man. The Blues aren’t a building a division leading team, but they certainly look to be crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s and if they can stay healthy, the re-uniting of Langenbrunner and Arnott could prove to be blissful success in St. Louis.