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St. Louis Blues v Edmonton Oilers

Blues center Patrik Berglund (right) gloves an airborne puck while being pressured by Edmonton defenseman Ryan Whitney in first period action during a game between the St. Louis Blues and the Edmonton Oilers on  March 26, 2013. (Photo by Chris Lee, clee@post-dispatch.com)

The Blues announced Saturday that they have invited free-agent defenseman Ryan Whitney to training camp on a professional tryout (PTO).

Whitney, 30, has spent the past three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. In 34 games last season, he had four goals, 13 points and plus-minus rating of minus-7.

Whitney completed a six-year, $24 million contract with Edmonton and became an unrestricted free agent. He is one of several veteran defenseman who have not found a home. The list includes Hal Gill, who on Saturday agreed to attend the Philadelphia Flyers' camp on a PTO.

The Blues have been rumored to have some interest in Whitney in the past. But the main reason he is being brought into camp this preseason is the expected absence of Alex Pietrangelo, who will likely hold out if he remains without a new contract Wednesday when the players report for physicals.

Whitney can't fill Pietrangelo's shoes, but he is serviceable. Drafted No. 5 overall by Pittsburgh in 2002, the lefhanded shooting defenseman has played 474 NHL games, amassing 50 goals and 259 points. He has played with Pittsburgh, Anaheim and Edmonton.

It's not out of the question that the Blues could sign Whitney even if an agreement is worked out between the club and Pietrangelo. If Whitney's options are limited, and it appears they are, a chance exists that he could accept a two-way contract and give the Blues depth in the American Hockey League. 

Whitney's addition gives the Blues 51 players scheduled to be in training camp. The list features 16 defensemen: Jay Bouwmeester, Taylor Chorney, Ian Cole, Joel Edmundson, Cade Fairchild, Jani Hakanpaa, Barret Jackman, Jordan Leopold, Evan Oberg, Roman Polak, Brett Ponich, Brent Regner, Kevin Shattenkirk, Dave Shields, Nicholas Walters and Whitney.

Jeremy Rutherford is the lead Blues beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.