As the St. Louis Blues players cleaned out their lockers and scattered for the summer on Wednesday, there was predictably a very little amount of newsworthy material. One interesting situation, however, is the case of defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, which NHL.com’s Lou Korac tweeted about:
Carlo Colaiacovo said he’d like to come back to STL but also wants a chance to play. Didn’t like having to sit out the playoffs. #stlblues
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) April 30, 2014
While he’s obviously going to cater to the St. Louis media and say he has interest in returning, those words would seem to signify that Colaiacovo will not be back next year. The Blues have seven established NHL defensemen under contract for 2014-15, all of whom were ahead of Colaiacovo in the pecking order by the end of the recently-ended season. Even if the club was able to successfully move Ian Cole, who is not being afforded a fair opportunity and could probably use a fresh start, Colaiacovo at best would be competing for the sixth defenseman spot with fellow veteran Jordan Leopold.
At this stage, it would be better for the Blues to go with their top six defensemen from last season plus either Cole or another veteran defenseman who is willing to play the role of the seventh d-man and fill in when necessary. If they should need another defenseman later on due to injury, the Blues could call on a young player such as Jani Hakanpaa or Joel Edmundson, both of whom have now spent a full year honing their skills in the AHL.
While Colaiacovo had a solid season, picking up a goal and three assists while registering a minus-three rating over 25 games, he has a history of being injury-prone and is not a skilled enough player to be demanding playoff minutes. He filled in well in a pinch when players like Leopold and Roman Polak went down with injuries, but at this point in his career Colaiacovo is not a top-six-worthy defenseman for a competitive NHL team. It’s telling that no team even invited Colaiacovo to training camp, with the Blues signing him in mid-November largely because of his familiarity with the team. If he has such high standards for being interested in an NHL job, it’s possible that he could have to wait until after the season starts once again next year.