Jason Arnott says he expected to be traded

Arnott2.jpgI highly doubt the Nashville Predators trading away Jason Arnott was a
big surprise to some, although him being dealt back to New Jersey
certainly caught most of us off guard.

Lost in all of the furor
over the trade yesterday was the fact that Arnott did have a no-trade
clause in his contract and needed to agree to be traded before Nashville
could deal him. It turns out it wasn’t that tough of a decision, as
Arnott says that he and the team came to a mutual decision that the
Predators needed to get younger and he wasn’t a part of those future

Mike Organ of the Tennessean:

“They kind of
explained what the situation was and it just didn’t seem
like I was in their (plans) for long term,” Arnott said. “So I decided
I’d rather move my family now and we both kind of came to the agreement
that it was time for the young guys to step in and do their thing, and
for me to move on. So it was kind of a mutual thing.”

David Poile says that while this was certainly a bold move it wasn’t
necessarily a temporary step back as the team looks to “rebuild”. The
team also has not had discussions about which player will replace Arnott
as team captain, although many expect for Shea Weber to have the “C” on
his chest next season.

For Arnott, hopefully this is a chance for
him to enjoy one last good season as he returns to New Jersey. His
leadership was constantly called into question over the past year in
Nashville, as it seemed that he wore the “C” for no other reason than he
was basically the only option, aside from perhaps Dan Hamhuis. With
Barry Trotz calling out Arnott at times at the end of the season, it
certainly seemed his time on the team was limited.

This is a great
move all around for both Arnott and the Predators, as the team looks to
move in a new direction this summer. With the trades sending Hamhuis
and Arnott to other teams, the Predators are in position to make major
changes this offseason.

Then again, in this interview, Poile says he doesn’t anticipate many more changes for the Predators. So perhaps this is just the Predators making moves to alter the direction of the team by moving on without Arnott and Hamhuis.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”