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Blues Sign Anthony Nigro

By Jeff Ponder

The Blues just can't keep him down any longer.

Pronounced NIGH-groh, the 20 year-old forward has been in the Blues' sights since he was drafted in the sixth round (155th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Being drafted that low does not seem too appealing, but his play since has shown why Jarmo Kekalainen and co. felt that he needed to be drafted in the first place.

Nigro has spent his time in the Ontario Hockey League with both the Guelph Storm and the Ottawa 67's. After being acquired by the 67's via trade in the 2009-10 season, Nigro played in 61 games and led the 67's with 46 assists. He also added 16 goals and 49 penalty minutes to his totals. But his soft hands and smooth passes seemed to really show his talent in the playoffs. Making 12 appearances, the 6'0”, 187 lb. left-winger was more than a point-per-game player. His six goals and seven assists tied him for the team lead in points and assists. Nigro displayed what he can do when his season is on the line.

Nigro participated in the Blues' Pro Orientation Camp in July 2009, and seemed to take the try-out seriously. This may be a good sign for the Blues, who may be looking at a future winger.

“Every year, you come here trying to make the team,” Nigro told St. Louis Gametime, “You don't come here just for the scenery, to have a good time and hang with the boys. You want to come here and give it your all, leave a good impression on the ice, and make it hard for them to send you home for another year.”

Nigro may not be the answer to the Blues' scoring woes, but his offensive prowess could be key in a few years for balanced scoring from all four lines. If Nigro can keep producing in the pros as he has in the junior level, this may be a late-draft steal that Kekalainen will deserve credit for.

Thought to Ponder:

With Jaroslav Halak playing his heart out for a contract and leading the way for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL playoff MVP, back-up Canadien goalie Cary Price is likely looking for other work come next season. Chris Mason's contract will be finished on July 1 and Ben Bishop is faltering in Peoria, so the Blues will be on the lookout for a new NHL goalie to either back-up Ty Conklin or be the new starting goaltender. So the question becomes is it worth it to lose a third round pick to sign the 22-year old goaltender? Posting a 13-20-5 record, .912 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against-average in 2009-10 on a sub-par regular season team, this man says yes...

Stay tuned in with Jeff Ponder's BluesNetMix blog by checking in every Tuesday at bluesnetmix.com.

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