Blues cut 23, leaving 38 in camp

By Chris Irvine
Like most teams, the Blues carry a roster of 14 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goaltenders. From the 38 players left in camp after yesterdays cuts, there are 15 cuts left with the exception of the two defensemen who will be replacing the injured Marc Bergevin and Todd Reirden.

There is all but one forward spot locked up as thirteen players on the current roster would have to clear waivers if they were to be sent down to
the minors. The Blues can’t afford losing any of these players for nothing and trades could open more spots but for the time being, there is one remaining forward spot. This spot may be filled by one of, Derek Bekar, Reed Low, Ladislav Nagy, Chris Murray, Andrei Podkonicky, Jame Pollock or Reid Simpson. Because of the need of toughness up
front and lack there of on the current roster, it will likely be one of Simpson, Murray or Low. All three players have two-way contracts, and well, these three will likely go down to the wire.

On Defense, the battle got even more interesting for the young prospects with the news of Reirden and Bergevin being out for extended periods. It is
almost guaranteed that Dale Clarke and Darren Rumble will soon be assigned to Worcester, leaving Vladimir Chebaturkin, Alex Khavanov, Jaroslav Obsut, Bryce Salvador, and Mike Van Ryn to fight over the final three spots. A recent addition to that list is 1999 1st round pick, Barret Jackman, who began skating with the team yesterday. His finger has healed sooner than expected and although he is a week behind the rest, he
could very easily give them a run for their money. The only thing with Jackman is that if the Blues decided to keep him, he cannot be assigned to
Worcester at any point because he is still of junior eligibility and may be returned to Regina of the WHL based on that reason.

It will also be interesting to see who will win the backup job behind Roman Turek. Dwayne Roloson has been decent, but really proved that at his best he is a decent backup goalie. Meanwhile, Brent Johnson has impressed many with his ability to handle and clear the puck throughout training camp. Cody Rudkowsky had another rough camp, and it may be a make or break year for Cody as he has to prove himself in the minors before he can ever think about making the big leagues. The Blues have added Curtis Sanford to give Cody a little extra competition
to try to push Rudkowsky into playing his game. Stephen Wagner was also assigned to Worcester. Reinhard Divis was expected to stay in North America, but his wife is ill and he will be returning to the Swedish Elite League for atleast one more season.

One big surprise is that three Blues prospects who could play in the CHL this upcoming season, David Morisset, Matt Walker, and Lauri Kinos, have all been assigned to Worcester. It has been confirmed that Kinos would like to make the jump to the pro level sooner rather than later and he should be playing with the Rivermen in Peoria. As for Morisset and Walker, only time will tell where they end up as it is believe they are amongst the Blues best young prospects.

In closing, I guess Van Ryn is the real deal, and well Jackman has progressed more then expected as well. It looks like the Blues will have one hell of a blueline for many years to come. Also, a rumour that most people are hearing is that Craig Conroy’s days are numbered as he has worked himself out of a spot. He has been flying out there like he is a kid again and
unless he can make the transition to the wing, the Blues may have to deal him in order to make room for a dynamic player by the name of Ladislav Nagy.