The St. Louis Blues’ training camp roster is now up to 67 players.
After announcing the addition of two professional tryout players to their training camp roster on Tuesday morning, the St. Louis Blues followed up with two more additions on Tuesday afternoon, inviting forward Brett Sterling and defenseman Kevin Tansey to camp. With the additions of Sterling and Tansey, the Blues will now have 10 professional tryout players when camp begins later this week.
Along with fellow forwards Yan Stastny and Chris Porter, Sterling will be one of three former Blues competing as a PTO player this year. The diminutive 32-year-old played in four games for the Blues during the 2011-12 season, during which he had no points. Sterling played most of that season for the Blues’ then-AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen. He’s played in a total of 30 NHL games for the Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Blues over four seasons.
Sterling hasn’t played in North America since the 2012-13 season, as he’s played in Sweden and Austria ever since. Like Stastny is admittedly doing, Sterling likely is coming to camp to see what he has left, performing an evaluation not only for the team but for himself to determine if he’s good enough to play for a minor-league team in North America this year. Otherwise, after 10 seasons of professional hockey, perhaps Sterling will decide to move on rather than returning to Europe again.
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Tansey, a 6-foot-4, 217-pound 23-year-old, is a member of the Blues’ new ECHL affiliate, the Missouri Mavericks. In his first professional season last year, Tansey played in 11 games for the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, collecting nine penalty minutes and no points. Beyond the need for extra defensive depth with Colton Parayko, Alex Pietrangelo, and Jay Bouwmeester playing in the World Cup of Hockey, the invitation of Tansey to camp seems to be a move to help the Mavericks’ players get some exposure.
The unusually high amount of tryout players is likely due to the World Cup of Hockey, which could delay the arrival of as many as eight Blues players. While Jori Lehtera, Dmitrij Jaskin, and Vladimir Sobotka look likely to be eliminated from the tournament at the end of round robin play on Thursday, the coaching staff will likely take it easy on those players for the first few days.
The tryout guys provide extra practice bodies, and they could help fill out the split-squad rosters for Sunday’s preseason opener, which will require 36 skaters and four goalies.