The St. Louis Blues are adding depth all over their roster.
The Blues announced the signing of forward Jeremy Welsh to a one-year two-way contract. Welsh spent last season with the Vancouver Canucks. In 19 games with the Canucks he had one goal and six penalty minutes. He spent most of the season in the AHL with the Utica Comets.
St. Louis has also reportedly added defenseman Nate Prosser on a one-year two-way deal as well as Chad Graff at the St. Paul Pioneer Press shared. Last season with the Minnesota Wild, he had two goals and eight points in 53 games. He also played in 10 playoff games.
Adding Prosser gives the Blues a lot of depth on the blue line. They also added St. Louis native Chris Butler this summer on a similar one-year two-way deal. At least they’ll have NHL-ready bodies ready to put in place when/if injuries arise during the season.
Winless in their last five — including Tuesday’s lamentable 3-2 shootout loss to Florida — and struggling badly to score goals, the Vancouver Canucks had some new forward lines yesterday at practice.
Chris Higgins – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
Daniel Sedin – Mike Santorelli – Ryan Kesler
Alex Burrows – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Jeremy Welsh – Tom Sestito – Dale Weise
(Extras: David Booth and Zac Dalpe)
But there wasn’t a ton of thought given to the latest combinations, according to head coach John Tortorella. With just six goals scored in the last five games, the Canucks are just hoping something — anything — will work.
“We’re throwing it against the wall here a little bit and see what sticks,” said Tortorella, per The Province. “I’m being honest with you. I don’t like splitting up, and one thing I know that works is Santorelli and Higgins. But again, we haven’t scored and I’m not sure where it goes or how long it goes and we’ll see if we can find our way.”
Vancouver hasn’t played poorly the entire five-game winless stretch. The Canucks probably deserved a better fate in games versus San Jose and Dallas, but the Florida effort was different, with Tortorella calling it “easily our worst game of the year.”
Tonight, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets paying a visit to Rogers Arena. Tomorrow, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks are already six points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They need to start winning some games.
“In the past, we didn’t look at the standings because we didn’t have to,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “Now, it’s so tough.”
Related: Booth needs to ‘make the same sort of effort everyone else is making,’ says Canucks GM
It won’t go down as a blockbuster, but the Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks made a deal.
Carolina sends forwards Zac Dalpe and Jeremy Welsh to Vancouver in exchange for forward Kellen Tochkin and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft.
The deal works out to be a way for Carolina to clear some salary. According to CapGeek.com, the Hurricanes had less than $450,000 in cap space. Moving Welsh ($850,000) helps clear his money and Dalpe’s $550,000 hit is a virtual wash with Tochkin’s ($544,722).
For Vancouver, they add more skilled depth at forward if not with the big club then certainly with their AHL squad in Utica.
The impending lockout is going to make a lot of AHL teams very happy with their sudden influx of talent. For instance, the Carolina Hurricanes affiliate in Charlotte.
The Canes sent down 28 players to their farm team and chief amongst them was 2011 Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner. Joining Skinner in Charlotte will be breakout young defenseman Justin Faulk as well as last year’s college signing Jeremy Welsh.
Skinner getting sent down comes off looking startling considering his rapid success in the league, but the kid is just 20 years-old and coming off a season that saw him miss 28 games to injury. Even after missing that many games he still scored 20 goals and added 24 assists.
Faulk was the Hurricanes’ leader in average time on ice and doing that as a rookie is stunning. In 66 games he scored eight goals from the blue line and instantly became a top player.
Seeing those two along with Welsh in the AHL should help make Charlotte an instantly fun team to keep an eye on during the lockout.
2012 continues to be a good year for Jeremy Welsh.
The former NCAA standout — who, in April, signed an entry-level deal less than 48 hours after playing in the Frozen Four — has re-upped with the Carolina Hurricanes on a two-year contract.
“Jeremy is a player we think very highly of,” ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford said. “He is a big man that can play center or left wing, and has really good hockey sense.”
The deal will pay Welsh $700,000 this year and $1 million in 2013-14. It’s a nice chunk of change for the ex-Union College scoring sensation — the 6-foot-3 forward lit the lamp 27 times in 2011-12, finishing fourth in the country in goals.
Welsh, 24, made his NHL debut in Carolina’s final regular season game last year, playing 16:32 in a 4-1 loss to the Panthers.
He’s expected to make a push for a roster spot with the Hurricanes this season.