By Brian Stubits
The St. Louis Blues have spent the majority of their offseason trying to re-sign their own free agents. On Wednesday, however, they dipped into the free-agent market as they announced the signing of center Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner to one-year deals. They have matching contracts of $2.5 million, plus $300,000 in bonuses.
The Blues have a young core all around, and they did their best to keep it intact over the past few weeks. Now, they add a pair of veterans to the mix and put the pieces in place to build solid depth. Most importantly, though, the veterans will serve as mentors to their growing teammates.
Arnott ended last season with the Capitals after starting in New Jersey. His stints with the two teams yielded 17 goals and 14 assists. It was his lowest goal total since 1997-98. It's pretty safe to say he's on the back-end of his career, but the Blues are banking on a little production (of course, they'd take more) and a lot of leading.
Langenbrunner's story is much of the same. Last season with Dallas, the former captain of Team USA scored nine goals with 23 assists, his lowest number of goals since he played 12 games as a rookie in 1995-96.
There isn't a whole lot of risk in either move for the Blues, and they could instead prove invaluable to the growth of the team.