This is the next in a series of stories ranking the 24 most important players on the 2011-12 St. Louis Blues.
No. 17 Jason Arnott
During the 2008-09 season Jason Arnott scored 33 goals. In the two seasons since he's scored a combined 36 goals. He turns 37 the second week of the season. These two combined facts worry me.
Arnott has a great reputation. The Oilers drafted him seventh overall in 1993 and played him immediately in the NHL. He scored 68 points and was the runner up in Calder Cup voting for rookie of the year to Martin Brodeur. He's been traded for NHL stars at the time Bill Guerin and later Jamie Langenbrunner. He scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in double overtime for the New Jersey Devils in 2000. He has exactly 400 career goals and 904 points in 1,172 regular season games. But all of that on his bio and on the back of his hockey cards doesn't slow down Father Time.
Now what age can't take away from him is his size at 6 feet, 5 inches and the reach that goes along with it. At this point, his instincts can carry him and lead him to the right places on the ice with the puck and with his now slower feet. He's been able to stay relatively healthy most of his career (he did miss 20 games last year) and hopefully that will continue.
That reputation got him traded during the season last year to the Washington Capitals. In 11 games he had seven points. In nine playoff games last year he had one goal and five assists. But what's surprising looking at his playoff numbers is how few times his teams have gone far. In the 2000 and 2001 playoff games he played 23 each postseason. His teams have been eliminated in the first round seven times. That seems like a lot. Granted, that includes some Stars and Predators teams that probably won't be remembered as world beaters.
He's scored 25 goals or more eight times in his career. If he can score 25 this year, the Blues will coast into the playoffs. At least that's what we think. That's not exactly a universally-held opinion as Japers' Rink wrote this summer.
Finally, in case you missed it, now-officially-former Cap Jason Arnott has signed a one-year deal with the Blues... meaning he could be available at the trade deadline, for those of you mourning his departure.
Brutal. But honest based on a few of the last seasons. Arnott was one of two players the Blues tried to make a splash with in free agency in July. Both are near the end of their careers. Can Arnott contribute and be that veteran influence that may have been missing on this team? Will he hold up physically? What kind of situations will Davis Payne put him in on the ice? If Arnott is lucky, he'll be one of the top 10 players on this team. The last two seasons make that a risky bet.
Already have lunch? Caught up with your reading? More coming.