Veteran defenseman signed one-year, two-way contract
despite crowded defensive unit, hopes to win job in St. Louis
HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Nate Prosser understands the cabin is crowded.
The Elk River, Minn. native realizes the cards are stacked against him.
Despite the odds against Prosser, the 28-year-old defenseman didn't shy away from signing with the St. Louis Blues this summer.
Prosser, who inked a one-year, two-way contract ($700,000 NHL/$250,000 AHL), sees eight formidable defenseman (Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Carl Gunnarsson, Barret Jackman, Jordan Leopold, Ian Cole and Chris Butler) that are also vying for those top six or seven spots. There are names here that are certain locks, but that didn't push Prosser, who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Wild out of Colorado College in 2009, in a different direction.
"I see the guys that are here," said Prosser, who arrived this week and began skating Monday with fellow Blues teammates at informal skates. "It's a good d-core. They've proven that and they've shown that the last few years. I look up to a lot of those guys. I just want to do what I can to be a part of that. Whatever ways I can help this team win and have success, that's what I want to do."
The 6-foot-2, 203-pound Prosser has played his entire 126-game career with the Wild, covering five seasons. He played in his only 10 Stanley Cup playoff games this past season. Prosser has three goals and 21 points in those 126 regular season games, including two goals and eight points in 53 regular season games this past season.
The Wild chose not to offer Prosser a contract and the veteran defenseman wasn't able to attract any one-way contract offers.
So in opting for a two-way contract, Prosser understands the deck is stacked and the only way to gain entry onto a 23-man roster is to play himself onto one. The alternative option is the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
"I think I did try to wait a little while," Prosser said, referring to the free agency period. "I'm not too worried about it. It's the nature of the business and kind of the way it went for me this summer. It's not about a one-way or a two-way right now. It's about coming in and showing what I got, being ready to go when camp starts and preseason games, I've got to be able to bring my 'A' game to show them.
"I'm trying not to focus on that aspect of it. I'm just trying to be ready. If I can come in and play my 'A' game, play with that chip on my shoulder, things will work out alright."
Nate Prosser (39) has played his entire career with the Minnesota
Wild. He's hoping to land a spot on the Blues' roster this season.
Prosser said he attracted offers from other teams but the Blues were the most intriguing. He feels like he offers a physical edge to his game that can complement the way the Blues play.
"I like the style," Prosser said of the Blues. "I know every time we came and played them the last couple years, they're gritty, hard-working, a disciplined team. I think I can bring that edge and be a little spark to the backend.
"We knew when we came into St. Louis, we knew we were up for a battle. We knew as defensemen, we were going to get hit. Guys were going to be coming in our faces, be chirping, all that kind of stuff. That's the kind of game I bring. I think it'll be a good fit. I'm excited to show all that to them at camp here."