(HockeyStL) -- A day after announcing seven training camp roster cuts, the Blues are subtracting another name from their National Hockey League roster. The Blues elected to release defenseman Ryan Whitney from the training camp roster on Friday, a move that, a couple of weeks ago, seemed unlikely.
Whitney, who was with the club as a professional tryout, was hoping he and the Blues could come together and agree on a deal to keep him with the team. At one point, the Blues were definitely interested, but they chose to go a different route.
Whitney has been on the Blues’ training camp roster since early Sept. An unrestricted free agent, Whitney is still searching for a contract, but has received very little interest from teams other than the Blues.
The 34-year old defenseman is once again on the market, hoping he proved enough during his short tenure with the Blues in camp to draw interest from other teams.
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Several factors likely played into the Blues’ decision to move forward without Whitney. The club is very limited when it comes to defensive depth, which is a major reason as to why they decided to give Whitney a look in the first place. However, the Blues do have younger defenseman Ian Cole on the NHL roster and he will likely be the team’s seventh defenseman with Whitney now out of the equation.
Last week, when the Blues agreed to a one-year deal with forward Brenden Morrow, it looked as though the team may have an alternative plan in mind on defense. Morrow’s contract ate up $1.5 million from the Blues’ remaining cap space, and with the team so close to the cap ceiling, it was obvious that it would be hard to reach a deal with Whitney. The club does still have nearly $850,000 remaining in cap space, which may have been enough to sign Whitney, but it would have been a stretch. Not to mention, the Blues prefer to leave a little wiggle room when it comes to the finances.
Whitney is coming off of a 13-point 2013 campaign. He has 259 points (50 goals, 209 assists) in 474 NHL games. As he has aged, Whitney has not been as mobile as he once was, and is no longer drawing significant interest from teams, as he would have a few seasons ago. However, the Blues liked Whitney’s performance in camp, and the situation could have turned out very differently. With the subtraction of Whitney, the Blues have 24 players remaining on roster. The team will have to subtract one more player, almost certainly a forward, before Sept. 30. Currently, the team has 15 forwards, seven defensemen, and two goaltenders on roster.