6. Scooter Vaughan
Vaughan, a former member of the St. Louis Bandits junior team, gets the invite to Blues training camp this fall after playing in 68 games with their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, last season. Vaughan is almost certainly ticketed for Chicago again this year, but before heading there he’ll get a shot to show the NHL front office what he’s got. The Blues will have between 12-14 defensemen already under contract and playing professionally in either the ECHL, AHL, or NHL this year, so Vaughan has a steep hill to climb, but it’s good for him to make an impression nonetheless.
The other thing that makes Vaughan extremely valuable–and that may one day earn him a job in a salary cap-stretched NHL–is that he’s capable of playing both right wing and defense. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder isn’t going to provide elite scoring ability or shutdown defensive skill, but the fact that he’s quick, plays with energy, and can plug virtually any hole in the lineup could make him an attractive player at some point. While Hitchcock has been political and said that every tryout player has a chance to make the NHL team, Vaughan is likely just trying to get a two-way contract or position himself as an option if the Blues suffer a tremendous rash of injuries on the blueline this year.
Next: Yan Stastny