(HockeySTL) -- With a roster composed of just 21 players and a lengthy road trip about to get underway, the Blues filled the voids by calling up forwards Colin Fraser and John McCarthy on Wednesday afternoon.
The two veterans have spent the entire season up to this point in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves. They were on the ice Thursday with the Blues, skating as extras before departing with the team for Anaheim.
“It’s exciting,” said McCarthy. “I’m excited to be here and see what I can do.”
McCarthy has 87 games of previous NHL experience, all with San Jose. He signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Blues this past offseason and describes his style of play as “dependable”.
“I just try to be dependable and play at both ends of the ice, take care of my own end and contribute offensively when I can,” said McCarthy.
The 28-year-old forward has four goals, seven points in 22 games with the Wolves this season.
“I had kind of a slow start, I thought,” McCarthy admitted. “Recently, I kind of got my game going a little bit, so it’s nice to get a call-up and we will see what happens.”
McCarthy’s AHL linemate, Fraser, provided some company on the trip to St. Louis. Fraser, 29, has extensive NHL experience, including 358 games and two Stanley Cup Championships with the L.A. Kings.
“Everyone wants to play in the NHL,” Fraser said. “It’s good to have that opportunity again. The American League has been good but I just play my game and try to play the right way.”
Fraser has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 32 AHL games this year. The Blues have been eager to give him an opportunity in the NHL as he fits their style of play.
“It’s just playing hockey,” Fraser said. “It sounds cliché, I know. Is it always in the back of your mind? Yeah, you always hope for it. At the same time, you can’t play hoping for a call-up, you just play the best you can and hopefully you get rewarded.
“The overall game for me is to play hard and be hard to play against, play physical.”
The call-up announcements came on the heels of a significant injury to forward Chris Porter, who is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks with a lower-body injury. The team wanted to use the injury as an opportunity to further explore their organization’s depth.
“When you lose energy players, this gives us a chance to look at these players,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock. “Whether they play or not, I don’t know. But we need to look at these guys to see.
“Whether we get three or four looks at practice and they have to go back or whether they get a game in and then get a decision, we have to see what we have organizationally. They were brought in as depth players for us.”
Neither McCarthy nor Fraser is guaranteed playing time or an extended stay with the club, especially as the team becomes healthy. Both are aware of that.
“You can’t take it for granted,” said Fraser. “You could be here for one day or one month. You just take it one day at a time.”