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St. Louis Blues sign former Avs winger Marek Svatos to one-year deal


James O’Brien

Late this summer, I wondered why it seemed like there wasn’t a single NHL team (not even the Colorado Avalanche or a cap space-poor contender) who was interested in adding Marek Svatos to the fold. Sure, he isn’t a defensive dynamo and there are people out there who are better at what he does best, but players with puck skills are always at a premium, right?

Instead, Svatos signed with ex-NHLer magnet/KHL team Avangard Omsk, a team for which he scored three goals and five assists for eight points in 19 games. It seemed like he was fading into Russian elite league obscurity this season, but word is that the injury-depleted St. Louis Blues signed Svatos to a one-year contract today.

Now, there is some speculation that Svatos might have to clear waivers to join the Blues (much like Evgeni Nabokov might need to if an NHL team tries to acquire him).

We’ll keep you informed if another hockey club decides to snatch Svatos, especially since the financial terms of the single season salary have not been revealed. As you may know, signing a player who must clear waivers to a cheap deal encourages another team to snatch said athletes at a bargain price.

Assuming that he does end up with the Blues, the team reports that he’ll wear number 40 (the same digits he wore with the Avalanche). What kind of player are the Blues (potentially) getting? Well, he had a rough year in 2009-10 (seven goals and four assists for 11 points and a -13 rating), but he does have one 32-goal, 50-point season to go along with three other 30-point campaigns in which he never played more than 69 games.

So he’s injury-prone and won’t exactly be an elite two-way forward, but the Blues added a guy who can score his fair share of goals. If - and this keeps with the team’s other forwards, apparently - he can stay healthy, of course.