(HockeySTL)-- The Blues had deviated from their original plan to make another batch of roster cuts on Thursday and weren’t planning on making another trim prior to their final preseason game on Saturday. But the squad’s roster still became one person lighter on Thursday.
Defenseman Nate Prosser, who was placed on waivers by the Blues Wednesday morning, was claimed off the wire by his former team, the Minnesota Wild, before he could clear.
The Blues had signed Prosser to a one-year, two-way deal this offseason to provide depth along the blue line and had liked what they had seen from the 28-year-old in training camp. But with seven players penciled into NHL spots and the surprising play of Petteri Lindbohm, the plan was to send Prosser to the American Hockey League.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost him, said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock. “It stung a little for us. He had had a heck of a camp.”
Despite being on a two-way deal, Prosser still fit the criteria of a waiver-eligible player, meaning that before the Blues could send him to their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves, Prosser had to pass through waivers.
Minnesota, the team Prosser has played with for the past five seasons, was the only team to put in a claim for the blue-liner. He was pulled off the ice, where he was participating in the Blues’ practice, at around 11 a.m. Thursday and given the news.
“What a day here,” Prosser told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “I was just on the ice, expecting to go through a morning skate. It’s a pretty funny business. You don’t know what’s going on.”
The Wild were in St. Louis on Thursday for their preseason game against the Blues, so Prosser remained at the rink and flew to Minnesota with his Wild teammates later that evening.
Minnesota tried to re-sign Prosser this past offseason, but the defenseman was looking for a one-way deal, which the Wild weren’t willing to offer.
By claiming the defenseman, the Wild can keep Prosser in the NHL on his current deal, which is two-way agreement. However, if the Wild choose to send Prosser to the AHL, he will once again have to clear waivers. Should the Blues happen to put a claim in on him at that time, they can automatically send him to the Wolves.
With Prosser out of the equation, the Blues now have ten defensemen left on their training camp roster: Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Carl Gunnarsson, Barret Jackman, Ian Cole, Jordan Leopold, Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Butler, Ryan Whitney and Lindbohm.
Butler has already cleared waiver, so he can be sent to Chicago at any point; Whitney is on a tryout, and isn’t expected to earn a contract with the team unless he accepts a two-way deal. And Lindbohm, despite his surprising play, is expected to be returned to Europe to continue his development.
The Blues’ camp roster is down to 32 players in all. Hitchcock said more cuts would follow Saturday’s game.