Blues Preseason about to begin

By Chris Irvine
Yesterday, nine players were sent packing by the blues, these players were junior returnees, european players or released tryouts. These type of players were released based on the fact that they are nowhere close to the NHL level yet and it is better for them to start their respective years off on the right foot.

The Blues had a chance to get a serious look at all 70 players in camp with the exception of Barret Jackman who has yet to play because of finger surgery that he had this summer. Also Todd Reirden and Marc Bergevin will both be out well into the season, meaning that there are two more spots open for defensemen. Jackman is likely returning for one last season with Regina as his junior team will be hosting this year’s Memorial Cup and should also lead the Canadian world junior team.

There are battles for spots at mostly D and the backup goalie position behind Turek. In terms of the goalie position, Johnson and Rolson will battle throughout the preseason for the rights to that position. Stephen Wagner was assigned to Worcester and Reinhard Divis should return to the Swedish Elite league. That leaves Rudkowsky and tryout Curtis Sanford. Rudkowsky will likely play in Worcester again this season and Sanford could sign a contract, as he has been impressive in both the rookie tourney and the camp tourney as well.
On D, well that job is wide open as three spots are available as the number 6 and 7 D. As of right now, Pronger, MacInnis, Hill, Finley will be the top four and then you have to think that Mike Van Ryn will make the team which leaves two spots for Obsut, Smrek, Chebaturkin, Khavanov and Horacek to fight for.

This evening’s matchup will be split by Johnson and Divis in goal with Prong and Mac leading four newcomers on D to the ice. These D include Matt Walker, Jaroslav Obsut, Vlad Chebaturkin and Mike Van Ryn. Up Front, NHLers: Demitra, Turgeon, Young, Conroy, Nash, Mayers will be joined by Andrej Podkonicky, Ladislav Nagy, Daniel Corso, Reid Simpson, Jame Pollock and Derek Bekar.

Derek Bekar is in camp without a contract and will become an UFA if the blues choose not to sign him. They had high hopes on Bekar and well he has improved but not enough to be ready for the NHL level. Jame Pollock has officially been moved up front for this game which will likely guarantee him a spot with Worcester at Right Wing.