Jason Arnott

Kesler’s agent on client’s recovery: “He’s not ahead of schedule”


As reported by the Vancouver Province, Canucks GM Mike Gillis went on TEAM 1040 and claimed that Ryan Kesler was “slightly ahead” of schedule after undergoing shoulder surgery in May.

If you heard that and took it as a sign that Kesler might still be ready for the start of the season, you should hear what his agent, Kurt Overhardt had to say.

“It’s not happening,” Overhardt said. “He’s not ahead of schedule and there’s no rushing him back. He’s on course to return in December and he’s not returning until he’s 100 per cent. Don’t expect him until December.”

According to Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman, Kesler also underwent minor wrist surgery.

“He had been experiencing some mild discomfort and had some tendon issues that needed to be cleaned up,” Gilman said.

Although Gillis previously argued that Kesler had “no excuses” for his disappointing 2011-12 campaign, it’s not hard to buy into the idea that these injuries impacted his play.

Perhaps he’ll be capable of putting of putting his rough season behind him when he returns in December, but in the meantime, the Vancouver Canucks are reportedly thinking about signing Jason Arnott.

Report: Canucks in talks with Jason Arnott

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According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Shane Doan isn’t the only veteran forward the Canucks are interested in.

Zeimer reports Vancouver has also been in contact with 37-year-old Jason Arnott as a possible solution for its third-line center spot, and that Arnott’s agent — his brother, Wade — said “there seems to be some mutual interest.”

Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler are firmly entrenched as Vancouver’s top two centers but, with Kesler likely to miss the start of the season after torn labrum surgery, the club may need more depth down the middle — it’s unclear if the Canucks are comfortable with one of Manny Malhotra, Maxim Lapierre, Andrew Ebbett or Jordan Schroeder in the No. 3 spot.

Arnott spent last season in St. Louis and had a productive campaign, scoring 17G-17A-34PTS in 72 regular season games. A knee injury derailed him during the playoffs (he underwent surgery for it in early June) but brother Wade told the Vancouver Sun his client’s fitness level “has never been better.”

It should be noted Ziemer reports that Arnott will only be signed by the Canucks if they’re unable to land Doan.

Chicago’s other missing link: A second line center


When you look up and down the Chicago Blackhawks’ roster, it’s one oozing with talent. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook.

While we’ve talked about how goalie is one weakness for them, another one is hidden in plain view. They need a solid No. 2 center.

Last season they used Kane and Sharp up the middle to try and balance out their highly talented top two lines and while Kane got a shot to stay there, it ultimately ended with a thud. Both Kane and Sharp are clearly more comfortable on the wing.

Dave Bolland is a guy who excels as a center but he’s a third line guy with his defensive ability. When you consider the rumor involving Bolland being dangled to Vancouver for Roberto Luongo, the one thing stopping that from making total sense is the gaping hole in the middle it would leave for the Blackhawks.

When you look at Chicago’s farm system, there’s one guy with the potential to maybe help on the second line in Brandon Pirri, but he still needs more AHL seasoning.

Without much help left in free agency (Daymond Langkow? Jason Arnott?) the Blackhawks might have to swing a deal if they’re going to improve the second line center spot. With how Stan Bowman has played it cool in the past, don’t expect a big shakeup.

Offseason report: St. Louis Blues


From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

49-22-11, 109 points. First in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference.


Jeff Woywitka, Taylor Chorney


Jason Arnott (still unsigned), Carlo Colaiacovo (still unsigned)

2012 Draft

1st round, 25th overall — Jordan Schmaltz (Green Bay, USHL)

Looking back

GM Doug Armstrong failed to land any significant unrestricted free agents on July 1, a fact that had many Blues fans upset. However, Armstrong hasn’t been sitting around doing nothing since his team was swept by the Kings in second round.

So far this summer, the Blues have signed highly touted prospect Vladimir Tarasenko to a three year entry-level deal, re-signed RFAs David Perron and Chris Stewart, as well as re-upped with potential UFAs Barret Jackman, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Scott Nichol.

But save for Tarasenko, unless Armstrong makes a move, next year’s lineup could be extremely similar to last year’s.

Looking forward

Armstrong still has to get TJ Oshie under contract, be it via negotiation or arbitration. The Blues would like to get Oshie locked up long-term.

Suffice to say cap space is no problem for Armstrong. In fact, the Blues have yet to reach the cap floor. That said, they need to mindful of the fact Alex Pietrangelo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart, Patrik Berglund and Matt D’Agostini are set to become RFAs next summer, and the first two especially will be in line for big raises.

If there’s one area that must be addressed sooner or later, it’s the back end. Defensemen Jason Garrison and Matt Carle were reportedly targeted, but both chose to sign elsewhere.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Rangers’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Add the Blues to growing list of Shane Doan suitors


Considering the wide net that Shane Doan and his agent Terry Bross have thrown out during this free agent search, it’s no surprise that his varied interests are becoming something of a meme. Even Doan’s agent said “We have not ruled anyone out,” so it’s probably most informative to note who’s expressing interest in the Phoenix Coyotes captain. Jeremy Rutherford reports that the Blues are one of those teams.

For Doan the Blues make at least some sense. The team is an up-and-coming contender full of young players who could probably use a veteran voice. Ken Hitchcock surely would love having a rugged guy like Doan around, especially if his work ethic rubs off on hit-or-miss big guys such as Chris Stewart.

There’s also the fact that the Blues haven’t locked up the aging veterans they brought in last season. Rumors tended to give Jamie Langenbrunner a better chance to return than Jason Arnott, yet neither addition really made a huge difference for St. Louis last season. What if the Blues were able to add an experienced player with a bit more in the tank?

Still, St. Louis might not be quite the “sexy” choice like a Chicago or Vancouver. While the Blues seem financially stable, they’re also not able to throw around money like free samples, either.

There are some reasons for and against this happening, but where do you stand? Let us know in the comments.

More Doan-related fun

The Boston Bruins aren’t on his wish list.

Vancouver Canucks are in the running.

The New York Rangers are/were in the hunt.

The Chicago Blackhawks are flirting with Doan, too.

Philadelphia Flyers show some interest.

At one point, 11 teams hoped to be in the mix.

Doan Watch.