Free agent center Jason Arnott will travel with the St. Louis Blues on their upcoming Western road trip and could sign with the team following next Sunday’s game in Anaheim, according to GM Doug Armstrong.
Armstrong acknowledged the club’s interest in the 37-year-old veteran after a rash of injuries sidelined forwards Vladimir Tarasenko (concussion), Alex Steen (shoulder) and Andy McDonald (knee).
“[Arnott’s] going to join us this week on the road trip, make sure his body is with his mind and that he is ready to play,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He did have some offseason surgery. We have information from the doctors that he is ready to go.”
Arnott spent the 2011-12 season with St. Louis and performed well during the regular season — racking up 17G-17A-34PTS — but his time with the Blues didn’t end well.
He was a healthy scratch in the final two games of the Kings series and, as the Dispatch’s Dan O’Neill notes, “made no bones about” voicing his displeasure with the decision.
That said, Arnott did speak with head coach Ken Hitchcock about returning in a limited role this year, and clearly has a desire to keep playing. He signed a one-year deal with the Rangers in late January, only to see the Rangers nix the deal after Arnott was unable to receive medical clearance.
Armstrong said they won’t rush any decision about Arnott, acknowledging potential health concerns.
“One of the intriguing parts is, with older players, as the season wears on they tend to wear down,” he explained. “But our season is down to almost 20 games, not very long. So hopefully, if it works they way we hope and the way Jason hopes, he’ll just be sort of getting into his own with seven or eight games left.”