T.J. Galiardi will try to resurrect his NHL career as a member of the Blues.
As James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail first reported on Tuesday afternoon, veteran forward T.J. Galiardi will attend training camp with the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout basis. Galiardi, who has 44 goals and 61 assists over 321 games spanning seven seasons for the Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Calgary Flames, and Winnipeg Jets, played last season for the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish Hockey League. Over 29 games, Galiardi had three goals and 12 assists.
The 28-year-old Galiardi stands 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, so his size is somewhat of an asset and may be valued by a Blues team that lost David Backes and Troy Brouwer this offseason. He hasn’t been a major offensive contributor for a long while, but he’s by no means an enforcer, either. Instead, Galiardi relies on speed, energy, and a little bit of physicality to enable his success.
If the Blues can tap deep into Galiardi’s potential–as they’ve previously tried to do unsuccessfully with European league reclamation projects like Joakim Lindstrom and Peter Mueller–maybe they can find the offensive talent that allowed Galiardi to score 15 goals and add 24 assists in 70 games with the Colorado Avalanche back in 2009-10. Galiardi spent lots of time playing with his now-Blues teammate Paul Stastny that season, though it seems unlikely that we’d see them paired together–at least off the bat–considering that Ken Hitchcock plans to play Stastny on the top line with Vladimir Tarasenko this year.
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If the 2015-16 season showed us anything, it’s that Galiardi will be given a serious chance to make the Blues’ roster this fall. Veteran center Scott Gomez attended the Blues’ camp on a PTO last fall, and after agreeing to play for the minimum, he suited up in 21 games and was a fairly major contributor during the early season before requesting and receiving his release after his playing time dwindled in late December.
Winger Scottie Upshall was also in camp as a PTO, and he used the opportunity to completely resurrect his career. The 32-year-old became an indispensable contributor over the season’s second half, finishing with six goals and eight assists over 70 games while adding a goal in Game 6 of the Blues’ victorious first-round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Galiardi will surely face tougher odds since the Blues have an abundance of NHL forwards this season, but if he can play well enough, perhaps he’ll force himself into the team’s plans. At the very least, he’s getting an opportunity to audition for the other 29 clubs and to show that he’s still an NHL-caliber player.