ST. LOUIS — Besieged by some injuries to key players early this season, the St. Louis Blues announced Tuesday they are bringing in two veteran forwards on professional tryouts.
The Blues will have 10 days to take a look at Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus and decide if either player or both are a good fit.
“The reason being we have 13 players (forwards) here now and three of those players don’t combine for 100 games total in the NHL,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Tuesday night. “I’m comfortable with our group right now. … It’s hoping for the best and planning for the worst. It’s the next wave of injuries that we get that could be worrisome, so we want to make sure we’re expending all of our resources to make sure we have enough depth.”
The Blues got rookie Robby Fabbri back from a concussion for Tuesday’s game after he missed six games, but they will be without Patrik Berglund (right shoulder), Jaden Schwartz (right ankle) and Paul Stastny (right foot) for a while.
“On short-term injuries you’re very comfortable with your depth in your American League system and your own organization, but having Schwartz and Berglund out until likely the All-Star Game or later and then having Stastny not back until December, it made it something like it was low-risk, high-return,” Armstrong said. “We’ve been looking at a few different players and these are the two guys we focused in on.”
Havlat, 34, played in 40 games for the New Jersey Devils last season, when he recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists). He has 14 NHL seasons on his resume and has amassed 593 points (241 goals, 352 assists) in 788 career regular season games.
The 6-foot-2, 209-pound forward went to training camp with the Florida Panthers on a professional tryout but was not offered a contract.
“Marty’s a player that came into the league as a top offensive player and really hasn’t played to that level the last couple of years but he does have the skating ability, the size,” Armstrong said. “He’s a guy that can play in your top nine and in your top six on a lot of nights. He went to Florida — I talked to the people at Florida — he had a really good training camp there. They were close to trying to talk to him about signing. He brings the ability to play in that group of six or nine.”
Zubrus, 37, played in 74 games with the Devils last season, accumulating 10 points (four goals, six assists), and has played in 18 NHL seasons. A 6-5, 225-pounder, he has 584 points (225 goals, 359 assists) in 1,243 career regular season games.
“Zubrus is a big body, obviously, he can play center or left wing, can help us on the back end of our group if necessary too,” Armstrong said.
The two veterans give the Blues some options to potentially add to a forward group that currently includes Dmitrij Jaskin (82 career NHL games before Tuesday), Ty Rattie (14 games) and Fabbri (two games).
“So we’ve got two different style of players and we’ll just decide which one fits best or if both fit best,” Armstrong said.