The Blues have signed their Ryan Reaves replacement.
As TSN’s Aaron Ward first reported and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Rutherford confirmed shortly after the start of NHL free agency on Saturday, the St. Louis Blues have signed veteran forward Chris Thorburn to a two-year deal worth $1.8 million ($900,000 AAV).
The 34-year-old Thorburn is one of the few remaining former Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL, having been with the Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise from 2007-17 after beginning his career with brief stints in Buffalo and Pittsburgh. He’s considered more of a grinder and intimidator (if you need evidence, see the photo above) at this stage in his career, but the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder was an above-average offensive contributor at an earlier stage in his career and is probably the best possible replacement for Ryan Reaves that could’ve been acquired on the free agent market.
Thorburn topped out at nine goals and 10 assists for the Thrashers in 2010-11 and had double-digit points in three consecutive seasons before 2016-17, when he had just three goals and one assist over 64 games.
Thorburn, who was selected by the the Vegas Golden Knights in last month’s expansion draft but obviously chose not to sign with the new club, will likely be a part-time player for the Blues, getting in the lineup when the Blues face heavier, more physical teams like the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings. Otherwise, he may yield the fourth-line right wing position to a more finesse player such as Dmitrij Jaskin or Zach Sanford.