Blues GM: Havlat, Zubrus PTOs are ‘planning for the worst’

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There was a fair bit of surprise Tuesday when St. Louis announced it’d signed veteran forwards Martin Havlat and Danius Zubrus to professional tryouts.

On Wednesday, Blues GM Doug Armstrong explained the rationale behind the moves.

“We have 13 forwards here now and three of those don’t combine for 100 games total in the NHL,” Armstrong said, per the Post-Dispatch. “I’m comfortable with our group right now, (but) it’s planning for the best and hoping there are no more injuries.

“But hoping for the best and planning for the worst, it’s the next wave of injuries that we get that could be worrisome.”

The Blues currently have three key forwards out injured: Paul Stastny (broken foot), Jaden Schwartz (fractured ankle) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery).

Dmitrij Jaskin, Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri are the three youngsters with less than 100 games combined.

So, enter the 34-year-old Havlat and the 37-year-old Zubrus. The veterans, who combined have over 2,000 games of NHL experience, now get 10-day looks from the Blues before their PTO expires.

Once the tryouts are up, both players will either be signed to a contract or released, though they can remain with the club at their own expense. That’s what Scott Gomez did with the Devils for the first few months of last season, before he ultimately scored a contract and went on to a fairly productive season (34 points in 58 games).

Probably not coincidentally, Gomez is now with the Blues, having arrived in training camp on a PTO before securing a one-year deal.

Gomez scored his first goal of the season in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Tampa Bay.