Blues release Bickel from PTO, reassign Schmaltz, Vannelli

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The St. Louis Blues weren’t shy about inviting veterans to join their training camp on a tryout basis, but naturally most of them weren’t going to end up making their opening game roster. Stu Bickel is among those that have fallen short, per the team’s website.

The 28-year-old defenseman is a veteran of 76 NHL games, including nine with the Minnesota Wild last season. Along the way he has accumulated 10 assists and been charged with 203 penalty minutes.

Forwards Evan Trupp, Eriah Hayes, Spencer Asuchak, and Zach O’Brien were also released from their tryouts. Between them, only Hayes has any NHL experience.

In addition to shedding some PTO players, St. Louis also reassigned 14 players to AHL Chicago. Although there were no surprises among them, defenseman Jordan Schmaltz stands out on the list given that he’s a former first rounder (25th overall, 2012). Schmaltz, 21, is beginning his pro career after spending three seasons with the University of North Dakota.

Defenseman Tommy Vannelli and goaltender Jordan Binnington are two other prospects on that list that are seen as having the potential to become good players. Vannelli, who was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft, had 35 points and 52 penalty minutes in 44 contests with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers in 2014-15. Binnington, 22, posted a 2.35 GAA and .916 save percentage in 45 AHL games last season.

St. Louis has 33 players remaining on its camp roster.

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