Friday, January 18, 2013

Blues have deal in place with defenseman Wade Redden

Veteran will get pro-rated one-year,
$800,000 deal after buyout from Rangers

ST. LOUIS -- Wade Redden's been waiting for an opportunity for two years. He's going to get one with the Blues.

At long last.

A day after clearing waivers and completing a compliance buyout from the New York Rangers, Redden has reached a deal in principal to sign a pro-rated one-year, $800,000 contract with the Blues.

Redden, 35, will arrive in St. Louis at some point this weekend and take his physical Sunday. Upon passing his physical, it would make Redden's contract official, so he won't be available for the season-opener Saturday vs. Detroit.

"Wade is a solid two-way defenseman," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement. "We believe his experience will complement and add stability to our defensive core."
Wade Redden - St. Louis Blues v New York Rangers
(Getty Images)
Wade Redden (left) and the Blues' Andy McDonald faced one another
when Redden was with the Rangers in 2010. They are now teammates.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Redden is a 13-year NHL veteran. He was the 2nd overall pick by the New York Islanders in 1995 that's played in 994 games, posting 106 goals and 450 points.

Redden spent 11 years with the Ottawa Senators, but in 2008, he signed a six-year, $39 million free-agent contract with the Rangers but failed to live up to the deal, posting just two goals and 14 points in 75 games in 2009-10. He's been out of the league since.

Redden's been buried in the Rangers' minor league system with the American Hockey League's Hartford/Connecticut Whale, where he made $6.5 million in each of the last two seasons, compiling 12 goals and 50 assists in 119 games.

But after his buyout, making Redden an unrestricted free agent, a handful of teams reportedly lined up for his services. The Blues got a guy they feel can help them in the immediate future.

"He's obviously missed the NHL the last couple of years," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who coached Redden for Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics and at the 2005 World Championships. "We'll see where he gets up to speed-wise, but I know where he's been skating, I know the drills he's been doing, I know how hard he's been working. He's in great shape.

"He's like a lot of (players) here ... you see how quick he can get up to speed. You don't know whether a guy is going to be a good player or struggle until you get to see him play a few games. But I know on smarts alone, stick-positioning, ability to make little plays, he's a good player."

Blues players were getting news of Redden's signing as they were coming off the ice following Friday's practice and warmed up to the idea.

"Obviously a guy who's been in the league for a while, a lot of respect around the league," said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, a potential partner when Redden is available to play. "He's been able to accomplish a lot of things.

"Any time you can make the team better, it's always a good thing. Army's done a great job bringing different guys in over the years and this is no different."

Veteran Jamie Langenbrunner knows Redden from his playing days when he was with the New Jersey Devils.

"He's good in his own end, but can get around the ice, too," Langenbrunner said. "He knows how to move the puck up. He knows how to join when he should and he shouldn't. He's a smart, veteran guy that's obviously been through some battles and been through some big games in some key situations and knows how to perform in those spots.

"For whatever reason, New York didn't seem to work out for him. But I think he's still a very strong defenseman. I'm sure he's going to come in here with a bit of a chip on his shoulder the way the last few years have gone in his career. I think we're pretty fortunate to add him to our group. From what I know of him, good team guy who should fit in well with us."

Winger David Perron feels like the Blues made a worthy investment.

"I think someone thought he was that high quality of a player to be given the salary that he was making," Perron said of Redden. "I think it's a real good investment that we're making and hopefully, I think he's going to get up for that challenge and he'll have a chip on his shoulders to prove people wrong. I think it's going to be really good."

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