Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Vacancies May Blunt Blues' Youth Movement

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

No Vacancies May Blunt Blues' Youth Movement

Article excerpt

Despite all the talk about the "kids" in Blues training camp - how they're pushing veterans for jobs, how their presence will help reduce sky-high payroll - coach/GM Mike Keenan might be hard pressed to find spots for them.

Forwards Jim Campbell, Robert Petrovicky, Konstantin Shafranov and Harry York and defenseman Libor Zabransky have shown some good things in training camp.

But unless the Blues get some help in the waiver draft or can unload a couple of veterans via trades, there will be few spots open for the kids without the Blues b eating contracts. In accord with National Hockey League rules, the Blues can carry 24 players, excluding injured players, on their roster. As of Saturday, they had 24 players under one-way, major-league contracts, including injured defenseman Al MacInnis. Under these contracts, a player sent to the minors earns his major-league salary. Of the remaining 10 players in camp, nine are on two-way contracts and one - Ron Sutter L - is a free agent. Going into the waiver draft Monday, Zabransky, 22, appears to be the only youngster who is a lock to make the team. The strapping, 6-foot-3, 200-pound Czech, whom Keenan says is "built like a Greek God," has played well enough to merit a spot on the team, but MacInnis' elbow infection opens up a spot on defense. With only eight healthy defensemen in camp, either Jamie Rivers or Christer Olsson will be the odd man out once the season starts, unless another veteran is injured. Igor Kravchuk is recovering from offseason knee surgery, and Trent Yawney has nursed a groin injury in the last week. At forward, the situation is far more complex, based on the number of players still around. The Blues have 21 players fighting for 15 spots, and they have 15 forwards under one-way contracts. Campbell, who was exempt from the draft, and Petrovicky are under two-way deals. Petrovicky was protected, and that's a good sign. But some veterans will have to go to make room for them. The Blues left five veteran forwards unprotected for the waiver draft. …

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