(HockeyStL) -- A day after announcing defenseman Jordan Leopold would be sidelined for at least two months with a hand injury, the Blues announced that they had reached an agreement with defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on a one-year contract.
The contract between the Blues and Colaiacovo is not entirely done as it is pending a physical. However, that is rarely more than a formality.
Colaiacovo is a familiar face in St. Louis. He spent the better part of four seasons with the Blues between 2008 and 2012. The Blues opted to not re-sign Colaiacovo after the 2011-12 season, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. Colaiacovo was picked up by the Detroit Red Wings, who signed the defenseman to a two-year, $5 million contract. The Red Wings, much like the Blues, lacked defensive depth after the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom.
Colaiacovo has battled injuries throughout his 10-year National Hockey League career, and did so again last year with Detroit. Colaiacovo missed 47 games, including five playoff games last season after suffering a sprained shoulder in the Red Wings’ second game of the regular season.
After the Red Wings bowed out to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Detroit elected to use one of their two compliance buyouts on Colaiacovo. With the second year of his two-year contract bought out, Colaiacovo once again became an unrestricted free agent. He remained unsigned until Tuesday when the Blues picked him up.
The Blues will remember Colaiacovo’s bad luck when it comes to injuries. Colaiacovo never played a full season with the Blues, failing to reach the 70-game mark in any of his three full seasons with the team. Colaiacovo suffered from a variety of injuries with the Blues, but his bouts with concussions were the most worrisome.
Colaiacovo was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2001 NHL draft. The 30-year old defenseman was traded to the Blues along with Alexander Steen in the 2008-09 season. In his first three seasons with the Blues, Colaiacovo tallied more than 25 points in each.
The Blues are essentially bringing Colaiacovo back out of concern for their lack of defensive depth. With Leopold sidelined for at least eight weeks, the team’s defensive depth as far as NHL-ready defensemen are concerned is fairly limited. Ian Cole is expected to slide into the lineup in place of Leopold, but after Cole the Blues are unsure of the strength of their remaining depth.
David Shields and Taylor Chorney of the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves were two of the Blues’ options for call-up, but the Blues felt more comfortable with the more-experienced Colaiacovo. At this point, it doesn’t seem too likely that Colaiacovo will be playing every day for the team, but it’s not ruled out to this point.