Former first-round pick Conner Bleackley finally signs — with the Blues

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It’s been a long time coming for Conner Bleackley.

He was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, but never signed. His rights were eventually traded to the Arizona Coyotes, but again he wasn’t offered a contract and ended up re-entering this year’s draft.

Talk about a difficult start his Bleackley’s pro career, as outlined by ProHockeyTalk last month:

Upon getting drafted, Bleackley’s Red Deer coach, Brent Sutter, said the kid wasn’t ready for NHL hockey. Bleackley then arrived at his first Avs camp out of shape, and was sent packing early. Colorado balked on signing him, and shipped him to Arizona.

Bleackley learned of the trade while recovering from a broken kneecap.

Two weeks after returning, he suffered the aforementioned wrist tendon laceration.

In the fifth round, 144th overall, the Blues finally took Bleackley, the WHL center for the Red Deer Rebels.

On Saturday, the 20-year-old Bleackley was one of nine players signed by the Blues, as he inked an entry-level contract.

Related: Avs’ first-rounder Bleackley says lack of contract is ‘in the back of my mind a lot’