It’s been a while since the St. Louis Blues have truly been a relevant team in the NHL. While they had a recent playoff run in 2008-09, they were absolutely stomped by the Vancouver Canucks. Before the lockout, the Blues were a perennial playoff team who ached for postseason success; now they might accept such a fate.
Young players such as T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Chris Steward and Alex Pietrangelo lead the Blues, but the squad seems a bit lacking in the area of veteran stability. The Blues took steps to rectify that situation today by signing experienced forwards Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott to one-year contracts. Jeremy Rutherford reports that each player will make $2.5 million, although performance bonuses could drive their salaries up to $2.8 million.
As many have joked on Twitter and elsewhere, it’s a bit odd that both Langenbrunner and Arnott played for the not-so-successful New Jersey Devils last season. That being said, they both enjoyed high moments in the Garden State; Langenbrunner served as the team’s captain while Arnott scored a Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal for NJ.
Of course, each guy is also obviously past his best days. The Devils traded Langenbrunner once it became clear that they would bring in head coach Jacques Lemaire again. (Langenbrunner clashed with Lemaire quite a bit during the 2009-10 season.) Arnott opted for a trade deadline deal when given the choice, helping the Washington Capitals transition a bit but ultimately falling well short of their goal of winning a Cup.
These seem like solid deals, especially since the Blues limited their overall risk by only giving them one-year contracts. How do you feel about these signings … could they be enough to propel St. Louis to a playoff spot in 2011-12?