Friday, September 6, 2013

Blues Bits: Hull expected to rejoin Blues; Traverse City update; Ryan Whitney a possible Blues camp attendee

By Andrew Allsman| Posted: September 6, 2013| Contact  |

Away from the Blues for 15 seasons, Brett Hull is expected to rejoin the organization in a front office role. The expected addition to the Blues, which was first reported by St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Jeremy Rutherford, could be announced as soon as next week according to reports.

While the deal is not yet finalized, reports indicate that Hull, 49, will indeed be rejoining the club as a vice president for the organization. 

The last time Hull was a member of the Blues' organization was during the 1997-98 season as a player. Hull became an unrestricted free agent following that season, and signed with the Dallas Stars that offseason after spending the previous 11 seasons in St. Louis. Hull had five consecutive 50-goal seasons while with the Blues, as well as four 100-plus point campaigns. In all, Hull scored 527 goals as a member of the Blues.

Hull has been rumored, on multiple occasions, to be interested in returning to St. Louis in a front office role. In 2011, Hull was listed as a potential member of Tom Stillman's ownership group that was, at the time, pursuing the purchase of the Blues. The arrangements fell through, and though Stillman has since bought the team, Hull was not a member of the ownership group.

Since his retirement from hockey in 2005, Hull has held a number of front office jobs with the Dallas Stars, including: interim co-general manager, adviser to the team, and executive vice president and alternative governor. 

On Wednesday, the Blues announced title changes for general manager Doug Armstrong and Bruce Affleck, who was previously the team's chief operating officer, to President of Business Operations. Both were named Alternative Governors for the team as well. It is believed that the changes were a prelude to the addition of Hull.

According to Rutherford, Hull is expected to be introduced by the team Monday evening. 


Blues prospects drop first game of Traverse City Tournament

Blues prospects competed in the first of their three Traverse City Tournament games Thursday evening. The Blues faced off against the Dallas Stars prospects, but proved to be inferior, falling by a score of 5-2.

Goal scorers for the Blues were newly-drafted forwards William Carrier and Zach Pochiro. Jordan Binnington was in net for the Blues and stopped 23 of 28 Stars' shots. 

Along with the Blues, Minnesota fell to 0-1 in the tournament. Both Detroit and Dallas are currently 1-0.

The Blues will face Minnesota tonight at 7 p.m. CT.


Ryan Whitney could join the Blues for training camp

With the Blues and Alex Pietrangelo still in talks regarding a new contract and camp looming just six days away, the club has begun exploring alternative options.

One of those options appears to be unrestricted free agent defenseman Ryan Whitney, who is still on the free agent market.

Whitney, 30, is coming off of a 13-point season with the Edmonton Oilers. Whitney has spent the last four seasons in Edmonton, but wasn't re-signed this past offseason when his six-year, $24 million contract expired. 

The Blues, according to reports have shown some interest in allowing Whitney to come to camp on a professional tryout basis. Whitney would provide the Blues with some backup in the event that Pietrangelo does not re-sign by next week. The addition would be made in order to make sure the Blues have enough players to properly run drills in practice, play in preseason games, etc.

“I’ve talked to the coaches about some of the what ifs of the situation," said Armstrong on Wednesday. "We do have to have the proper number of players here to run practices and making sure we get what we want out of those practice games. Our focus right now is on Alex, but there are players out there that do want to get into training camps, and I share their view that being on the ice puts you at the forefront of other teams’ view. We might have an opportunity to do that with someone, if we so desire.”

For Whitney, the opportunity would allow him a chance to earn a contract, either with the Blues, who are lacking defensive depth, or with another team.

Whitney is a veteran of eight National Hockey League seasons. To this point, reports indicate that the Blues have expressed nothing more than interest at this point, but expect a decision to be made in the very near future if a deal cannot be worked out between the team and Pietrangelo relatively quickly.


Training Camp dates announced

The Blues announced the dates for their upcoming training camp on Thursday. The club will begin camp next Thursday, Sept. 12 at Scottrade Center. Practice will be open to the public and doors will open a half-hour before the on-ice activity begins. 

As they have done in past years, the Blues will divide the 50 players attending camp into two groups (A and B). Group A will be practicing at noon on Thursday, followed by Group B's practice at 2 p.m.

Camp is scheduled for Sept. 12-27. The camp attendees will be on the ice every day during that stretch, though times and locations vary. 

For the full schedule, complete with locations and times, visit the Blues' website.