Blues acquire Buffalo defenseman Jordan Leopold

2013-03-30T14:17:00Z 2013-04-12T20:50:09Z Blues acquire Buffalo defenseman Jordan LeopoldBy Jeremy Rutherford 314-444-7135

The Blues acquired defenseman Jordan Leopold in a trade with Buffalo Saturday afternoon, sending a second-round draft pick and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2013.

Leopold, 32, is a left-handed shooting defenseman who has two goals and eight points and a minus-6 rating in 24 games this season.

"He provides us with stability and experience back there," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He's touched every aspect of Buffalo's game. He's second on their team in ice time per game and I think he's third in penalty-killing for defense and second in power play for defense. He's a guy that's going to come in here and just give us good, steady (play) on our backend."

Armstrong said that Leopold, who was averaging 21:08 of ice time per game with the Sabres, could be paired with either Alex Pietrangelo or Kevin Shattenkirk

"The one thing this season has shown us is (Barret Jackman) has good chemistry with Alex or with Shattenkirk, or Roman (Polak) for that matter," Armstrong said. "Recently I really like the pair of (Kris) Russell and Roman, and I think the coaches like that also. So I think Jordan is going to get an opportunity to play with one of those other two guys off the start. It gives us a little bit of flexibility and we'll find out where the proper chemistry is."

The Blues are currently carrying seven defensemen, and with the addition of Leopold Armstrong said the team intends to carry eight the remainder of the season.

"I think our goal is, first and foremost, we have to get into the playoffs," Armstrong said. "We've put ourselves in a position now where we're going to have to work hard to maintain our position and improve it. But when you get in there, and you want to potentially have a long playoff run, you have to have eight or nine quality defensemen. So I think our depth on defense is much stronger than it was before."

The Blues may be done looking for help on defense after Saturday's trade, but there are still four days left before the trading deadline.

"I think you're always looking," Armstrong said. "The phones aren't going to stop ringing until Wednesday at 2 o'clock central time. So we're always going to be listening, but we feel a lot stronger as of 3 o'clock today than it was at 3 o'clock yesterday."

Leopold is in the final year of a three-year, $9 million contract. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Blues may have interest in re-signing him after they have a chance to evaluate him on their team.

"I think the beauty of it, we're going to get a good look at him, and he's going to get a good look at us and see if there's a fit," Armstrong said. "We're hoping that he comes in and plays real well, finds chemistry. He's a 1980 birth date, so he certainly got some miles left on the tires. So if it's a good fit, it's something that we can certainly look at it."



Also on Saturday, the Blues assigned goaltender Jake Allen to Peoria.

The club needed to make room for Leopold on the 23-man roster, but Armstrong indicated that when netminder Brian Elliott returns from Peoria Sunday, the club is likely to move forward with the tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Elliott.

"We've assigned Jake back down," Armstrong said. "Jake has done very well in his time up here, but we have a 23-man roster now and this is it. Jake was told to go down there and continue to play well. Jaro is going to get the start on Monday.

"I think (Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock) is better equipped to answer that question than I am. But right now, I see Jaro and 'Ells' as our two goalies."

In the first game of his two-game conditioning stint in Peoria, Elliott allowed three goals on 29 shots in a 4-2 loss to Oklahoma Friday night. He will start again tonight for the Rivermen before returning to St. Louis.



Blues right winger T.J. Oshie sustained a bruised left foot in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Los Angeles and did not practice Saturday morning.

Oshie is considered questionable for Monday's game against Minnesota.

The injury appeared to happen when Oshie blocked a shot by the Kings' Jake Muzzin with 5 minutes, 42 seconds left in the second period. He finished with 17:43 of ice time.

"Oshie has a lower-body bruise, he's day to day," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I would say he would be questionable for Monday. So up in the air right now."

At Saturday's practice, Jaden Schwartz skated in Oshie's spot on a line with Andy McDonald and David Backes. Another combination consisted of Alexander Steen, Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart.

"We don't want to sit and wait and hope (Oshie) shows up," Hitchcock said. "We'll move on without him for that one game and then if he comes in, he comes in."




Jeremy is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @jprutherford.

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