New Blue - Derek Armstrong
The Blues made news yesterday announcing the signing of center Derek Armstrong. The 36-year-old spent the last six seasons in Los Angeles and comes over to St. Louis as a free agent, signing a two-way contract.
Drafted in 1992 in the sixth round (128th overall) by the New York Islanders, Armstrong struggled to get his game going early in his career at the NHL level. Between the 1993-94 and 1996-97 season, Armstrong skated in 70 games with the Islanders, recording just seven goals and 10 assists over that time.
The following season, in 1997-98, saw Armstrong move to join Ottawa where he saw limited action. He skated in nine contests at the NHL level and produced two goals. His tenure as a Senator was a brief one, as when the season concluded he joined the New York Rangers and skated with them between 1998-99 and 2000-01. His action on the ice here was limited even more, as he skated in just seven games at the NHL level in three seasons, failing to produce a single point.
Next stop: Los Angeles. Armstrong finally found a home he could see some ice-time in, landing in Los Angeles to join the Kings in 2002-03. In his first season as a King he scored 12 times and ended the season with 38 points. He continued to improve scoring 35, 41, 44 and 35 points the next following seasons. Finally, last year he recorded 9 points through 56 games played.
While he hasn't found tremendous NHL success in his career, Armstrong did have a few standout seasons in the AHL that unfortunately have yet to carry over to the highest level of the game. In the 1998-99 season, he spent 59 games in the AHL and posted an impressive 80 points for the Hartford Wolf Pack. He bested himself the following season, skating in 77 games recording 82 points. Finally, in his final year with the Hartford Wolf Pack, he put up a whopping 101 points in 77 games. Sadly, these skills haven't appeared at the NHL level, and likely won't due to Armstrong's age (36).
So what can we expect from Derek this season? Odds are, he is destined for some time in Peoria but he might see time as a fourth line center, and could be a nice replacement in case the Blues suffer any injuries. Put simply, this is yet another depth chart move by the Blues, who have already added to their ranks several times this off season.