James Neal, Michael Frolik get tryout contracts with Blues
With NHL training camps just around the corner we have reached the point in the offseason where the remaining veteran free agents start resorting to professional tryout contracts.
The St. Louis Blues added a couple of intriguing names on Friday by announcing that James Neal and Michael Frolik will be joining their training camp on tryout deals.
Neal, 34, is probably the more intriguing of the two names given the success he has had throughout his career. Whether or not he can rediscover any of that form remains to be seen.
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During his peak he was good for 25-35 goals every year with Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Vegas and was a weapon on the power play given his shot and finishing ability. He signed a lucrative long-term deal with Calgary in free agency before the 2018-19 season but it never worked out. He struggled through the worst offensive season of his career and was traded to Edmonton the following season. Outside of a brief 15-game stretch to start the 2019-20 season he has been in a steady decline for the past three seasons.
He scored five goals to go with five assists in 29 games this past season before his contract was bought out.
Frolik, meanwhile, has spent the past two seasons bouncing between Calgary, Buffalo, and Montreal. He appeared in just eight regular season games for the Canadiens this past season, recording zero points.
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The Blues have already had some turnover among their forward ranks this offseason. Jaden Schwartz left in free agency to join the expansion Seattle Kraken, while they acquired Pavel Bucnhnevich in a trade from the New York Rangers and signed Brandon Saad in free agency.
There is also still the Vladimir Tarasenko situation looming over everything. He requested a trade during the offseason, was left exposed in the expansion draft, but remains on the team with his remaining contract eating salary cap space.