Chris Porter to Attend St. Louis Blues Training Camp on Professional Tryout Contract


Chris Porter will return to the Blues for training camp on a professional tryout agreement.

As NHL training camps get underway in the coming weeks, the St. Louis Blues continue to assemble depth that will promote spirited competition in the preseason. Their latest move came on Monday with the news that veteran forward Chris Porter will wear a Blues uniform again. According to reports from Andy Strickland and Michael Russo, Porter will attend Blues training camp on a professional tryout agreement.

The 32-year-old Porter, most famous for his role on the “CPR” line with Adam Cracknell and Ryan Reaves down the stretch in 2013, was a part of the Blues organization from the time he became a pro in 2007 until he decided to depart in free agency last summer. Porter originally signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, hoping to play for his college coach Dave Hakstol, but the Flyers attempted to send him to the AHL at the end of the preseason, and he was claimed by his hometown Minnesota Wild.

Porter saw the most extensive NHL action of his career last season with the Wild, skating in 61 games while notching four goals and three assists. In 173 games with the Blues from 2008-15, Porter had 11 goals and 16 assists.

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While a few of the guys have already been announced as professional tryout participants–such as Yan Stastny, Mike Weber, and Eric Nystrom–seem to be attending camp more for the purpose of impressing someone, somewhere rather than the Blues in particular, Porter could be a guy who will be in contention for at least an AHL deal if he has a solid camp with the Blues.
Especially if Vladimir Sobotka ultimately fails to return, Porter should have a solid shot because he’s a versatile, quick forward who is willing to come in and out of the lineup without issue. He’s also been an impactful playoff performer; despite being a guy who’s generally typecast as a fourth-line “energy” player, Porter has three goals and two assists in 21 NHL playoff contests.

He’ll have to compete with guys who already have one-way contracts–Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie–and T.J. Galiardi, another solid NHL contributor who will be attending camp on a PTO. If Porter’s performance is really off the charts, though, we’ve already seen that Doug Armstrong and Ken Hitchcock will kick finances to the curb in order to assemble their best 23-man NHL roster, just as they did when they sent Paajarvi to the AHL last season and kept Scottie Upshall and Scott Gomez instead.

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While it doesn’t often happen this way, it’s always possible that Porter could stick around even if he doesn’t make the NHL club out of camp. The Blues aren’t going to have too much room on their AHL club, as they’ll need space for guys like Ivan Barbashev and Conner Bleackley to develop and already have a host of minor-leaguers signed to contracts, but perhaps if Porter shows enough in camp, he’ll earn a two-way deal and serve as a depth option at Chicago this season.