Chris Butler

Shattenkirk ready? Blues send Butler to AHL

In a move that may signal the return of Kevin Shattenkirk, the St. Louis Blues announced today that they’ve assigned defenseman Chris Butler to AHL Chicago.

Shattenkirk has been on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He’s only played three games this season; his last was on Oct. 13 versus Calgary.

Last week, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Shattenkirk was close to returning.

“He’s days away; he’s not weeks away,” Hitchcock said, per NHL.com.

The Blues’ next game is Saturday in Nashville.

With Shattenkirk, the Blues would have seven healthy defenseman.

Blues send down four; keep young d-men Edmundson and Parayko

The St. Louis Blues have assigned two forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie, and two defensemen, Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, to AHL Chicago.

The moves mean that the Blues will have two young d-men, Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, on the opening-day roster, after both impressed in camp.

From the Post-Dispatch:

Lindbohm and Butler looked to be the sixth and seventh defensemen, in that order, at the start of camp, but the play of Edmundson and Parayko won them spots. Parayko had six assists in the preseason, putting him among the NHL leaders. 

Forward Robby Fabbri will also be on the opening-day roster. The 19-year-old is not eligible for the AHL; he can only be returned to junior.

Earlier today, the Blues announced the signing of forward Scottie Upshall.

Major roster decisions looming in St. Louis

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The Blues have 29 players on their active roster heading into the final preseason stretch, meaning there’s just six cuts left before finalizing the 23-man roster.

Those final six decision don’t expect to be easy.

On defense, rookies Joel Edmundson and Colton Parayko, both 22, have played their way into consideration for spots on an already strong blueline. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said their emergence was the preseason’s “biggest story,” while assistant coach Brad Shaw acknowledged what the ramification would be.

“We’re going to have to send down someone who’s a real good hockey player,” Shaw said, per the Post-Dispatch. “That’s great for our depth, tough for the guy that’s not playing here. Whoever is going down has a chance to play a ton of minutes down there and I’m sure they’ll be back there anyway.”

The big three of Alex Pierangelo, Jay Bouwmeester and Kevin Shattenkirk are locked in for the start of the year. Injuries to Carl Gunnarsson and Robert Bortuzzo paved the way for Edmundson and Parayko to make their marks. Finnish blueliner Petteri Lindbohm is still fully in the mix and veteran Chris Butler cleared waivers today, meaning he’s still an option.

At forward, big decisions also loom.

Two of the club’s prized young prospects, Ty Rattie and Robby Fabbri, are pushing for roster spot, while veterans Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez  continue to stick around on their PTOs (“they’ve earned the right to go right to the end,” Hitchcock said recently.)

This week, more developments — on TSN’s Insider Trading panel, Darren Dreger suggested the Blues were in the market for a top-nine forward.

It wouldn’t be entirely surprising if GM Doug Armstrong had one shakeup — or perhaps a couple shakeups — left in store. He already made some major alternations following April’s playoff disappointment; Barret Jackman was allowed to walk in free agency, T.J. Oshie was traded to Washington, Vladimir Tarasenko was given a massive contract extension and, with it, signaled a changing of the guard.

Armstrong called the Russian sniper a “great building block” that could “help lead us now,” suggesting the Blues might be ready to embrace youth more than they have in the past.

Butler, Paajarvi, Hishon among notables on waivers

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There was another flurry of players put on waivers Wednesday, as teams continue to trim down to their 23-man roster limits.

We already touched on the Flyers putting veteran forwards Chris Porter and Colin McDonald on waivers; now, it appears the Blues have followed suit by exposing two of their more experienced players — defenseman Chris Butler, and winger Magnus Paajarvi.

Butler, 28, is a veteran of nearly 400 NHL contests and had a pretty solid ’13-14 campaign in Calgary, scoring 16 points while appearing in all 82 games. He found it more difficult being a regular on a loaded St. Louis blueline, however, and made just 33 appearances last season.

Paajarvi, the 10th overall pick in 2009, has never really secured a consistent role under head coach Ken Hitchcock. This marks the second time he’s been waived in the last 10 months; in ’14-15 he played just 10 games for the Blues, spending the majority of his season in AHL Chicago.

Elsewhere, the Avs raised some eyebrows by waiving former first-round pick Joey Hishon.

Hishon, 23, was the 17th overall pick in 2010 but had the start of his pro career derailed by concussion issues. He eventually debuted with Colorado in the ’14 playoffs, then appeared in 13 games last year.

For the rest of today’s waivers, click here.