(HockeyStL) -- With just five days remaining until the Blues’ regular season opener, the club has become roster compliant, trimming their roster number down to 23 players on Saturday. The final trimming entailed placing forward Chris Porter on waivers to finalize the opening night roster.
According to reports, Porter, 29, was the odd-man out on the Blues’ roster, after being with the club for the entirety of its training camp. Porter was in a battle with several other players for the one remaining roster spot, but his positioning made him expendable. Porter is a left-winger, of which the Blues have an abundance of. It appears as though Porter and forward Adam Cracknell were the two candidates vying for the final spot. Cracknell, who is right-handed, can play the right side, as well as be utilized as a center, which are likely reasons the club chose to keep him over Porter.
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Last season, Porter was with the Blues for 29 of their 48 games. He had eight points (two goals, six assists) in that period of time, in which he found himself a key part of the team’s success. Porter was a part of the line dubbed as the ‘CPR line’ last year. The line consisted of Cracknell, Porter, and Ryan Reaves. It was one of the Blues’ best in the final stretch of the season and was known for its tenacity and explosiveness. But the Blues’ offseason additions forced them to break up the line for this year.
The club brought in free agent forward Maxim Lapierre earlier in the offseason. The addition of Lapierre, whose game meshes with that of the Blues’ bottom-six forwards, indicated that the Blues were looking to change things up within their group of forwards. At the very least, the Blues were setting up a preseason competition for a fourth-line spot. That competition became even tougher last week when the Blues brought in left-winger Brenden Morrow. Morrow was a lock for the team, which meant there was one less spot for the taking in what was an already deep lineup. The Blues felt Porter was the most expendable option.
Porter inked a two-year, one-way deal with the Blues this past April. Because his contract is one-way, Porter will make his $650,000 salary regardless of where he plays. The Blues had to place Porter on waivers before sending him to their American Hockey League affiliate Chicago Wolves because Porter meets the criteria of a waiver-eligible player. Teams now have 24 hours to put in a claim for Porter. If there are no teams interested, Porter and his salary will remain the property of the Blues. Since it takes 24 hours for a player to clear waivers, technically the Blues are not yet at 23 players, but will be by the Monday deadline.
Porter is very familiar with the AHL and the waiver process. Since being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003, Porter has spent the better part of five seasons in the AHL. He has signed four two-way contracts with the Blues since 2007, and has consistently been moved between the NHL and the AHL.
Porter proved last season that he was NHL-ready, assuming he was used in a particular role. The Blues like Porter, but simply had no room for the forward. Porter will certainly entice some teams, but with most teams working to become roster compliant in the next two days, they may pass on claiming Porter.
Porter has had a fairly-limited NHL career. In 127 games, he has 10 goals, 24 points. His longest tenure in the NHL was during the 2011-12 season when Porter spent 47 games with the Blues.
After placing Porter on waivers, the Blues now have 14 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goalies on their NHL roster. Those numbers will be the same when the puck drops on the Blues’ regular season this coming Thursday.