Edmundson, Parayko make opening night roster;
Butler, Lindbohm, Paajarvi, Rattie assigned to AHL
By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- The Blues made their difficult roster decisions, trimmed it down to the necessary 23 players with a day to spare.
And the biggest surprises out of camp are included on the roster that will open the season Thursday against the Edmonton Oilers.
The Blues signed veteran left wing Scottie Upshall, who was in camp on a professional tryout, to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000 NHL/$200,000 AHL and assigned four players to the Chicago Wolves.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Robby Fabbri, the Blues' 2014 first-round pick, will begin the season on
the opening night roster.
The Blues assigned forwards Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie along with defensemen Chris Butler and Petteri Lindbohm to the Wolves, which means 2014 first-round pick Robby Fabbri and defensemen Joel Edmundson (2011 second-round pick) and Colton Parayko (2012 third-round pick) made the opening night roster.
Veteran Scott Gomez is still with the team and hasn't signed a contract yet but chances are good he signs a contract and becomes the 14th forward.
Fabbri will at least get a nine-game trial, and the Blues will decide then whether to keep the 19-year-old or send him back to the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. Should the Blues play him a 10th game, one year of eligibility is washed off the three-year entry-level contract he signed.
"It's just another opportunity for me to prove myself," Fabbri said. "I'm going to treat those games the same way I've been treating training camp."
There was talk of Fabbri, who had an excellent camp last season before injuring his shoulder in the second-to-last preseason game, would have a shot at at least earning nine games to begin this season, but the biggest surprises -- and pleasant ones at that -- were the ascensions of both Edmundson and Parayko.
Both were expected to compete and leave good impressions before being sent to the Wolves for more seasoning. It was believed that Lindbohm and Robert Bortuzzo would make up the Blues' third defensive pairing. The veteran Butler was expected to be the seventh defenseman.
But both players came in, seized an opportunity and ran with it.
"Right now, I’m speechless," Edmundson said. "All camp, it was nerves, excited. I didn’t really know what to expect so I just came into camp looking to steal a job. I thought I had a pretty solid camp. I know Colton and Robby had fantastic camps, too. It worked out well for us.
"I knew they had a bunch of defensemen trying to make the team and I had no control over that, so I just came in, did what I had to do and focused on one day at a time. After the (back) injury I had, I thought I had a good summer and came in here with a good mindset."
Added Parayko, who was among NHL leaders in assists this preaeason with six:
"It's pretty crazy," said Parayko, who spent last season playing college hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks before ending with the Wolves: "As you can tell, I don't really have anything to say. It's hard to put into words, that's the best way I can put it."
Both Edmundson and Parayko got the news from general manager Doug Armstrong after the final practice in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Monday.
"After practice walking to the bus, Doug pulled me aside and I had a million things racing through my mind of what he was going to say," Edmundson said. "When he told me I was going to start the season here, I had the biggest smile on my face. Right after that, I called my parents and they were really thrilled for me."
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (48) was the surprise player assigned to
the Chicago Wolves on Tuesday.
The 30-year-old Upshall came into camp looking for a job after spending the past four seasons with the Florida Panthers.
"I'm extremely excited," said Upshall, who has 115 goals and 234 points in 553 NHL games, including eight goals and seven assists with the Panthers last season. "It's a great opportunity here to play with such great players who I believe over the last couple of years have been able to bring this team to such a high level of play.
"The organization, the history, it speaks for itself, and I'm proud to be able to wear this jersey starting this season off. I've had a long career and played in some great organizations. This right now is definitely a highlight of my career, making this team. Skating on the ice every day, the team is a well-put-together group. The prospects are deep; it's just a good quality group and I'm excited to be here."