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Thursday, October 24
Updated: October 27, 12:33 AM ET
Blues also reach agreement with Rucinsky

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Left wing Martin Rucinsky and goaltender Tom Barrasso finally may have a place to call home.

The St. Louis Blues on Thursday announced they have reached tentative contract agreements with the 31-year-old Rucinsky, who spent time with three teams last season, and the 37-year-old Barrasso, who split the 2001-02 campaign with Carolina and Toronto.

While a formal announcement has not yet been made, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting Rucinsky and the Blues agreed on a one-year contract worth $1.7 million with a club option for $2.5 million.

The deal is contingent on Rucinsky, an unrestricted free agent, passing a physical.

After being selected 20th overall in the 1991 draft by Edmonton, Rucinsky played only two games with the Oilers before being dealt to Quebec, where he spent parts of five seasons. He played 22 games of the team's inaugural season in Colorado before landing in Montreal as part of the 1995 trade that sent future Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy to the Avalanche.

Rucinsky began the 2001-02 campaign with the Canadiens before being traded to Dallas, where he played 42 games before finishing the season with the New York Rangers.

In 674 career games, the Czech native has recorded 178 goals and 433 points while amassing just 567 penalty minutes. Rucinsky enjoyed his best season in 1995-96, when he posted career highs of 29 goals and 75 points with Colorado and Montreal.

After receiving a plethora of injuries to their goaltenders, the Blues agreed to a one-year contract with Barrasso worth $900,000 with incentives for games played and victories, according to Canada's TSN.

Starting goalie Brent Johnson suffered a sprained ankle in training camp and is out indefinitely. Backup Fred Brathwaite went down in St. Louis' second game of the regular season with a groin strain, and third-stringer Reinhard Divis suffered the same injury two games later.

Curtis Sanford made his NHL debut in relief of Divis on October 17 and earned his first career victory one game later, but sustained a high ankle sprain -- the same injury that fell Johnson -- on Thursday and left the game. Fifth on the Blues' depth chart, Cody Rudkowsky relieved Sanford, stopping all 10 shots he faced to notch his first NHL win.

It was reported Friday that Sanford will be out two to three weeks with a strained Achilles' tendon in his left foot, forcing the Blues to go with their fifth goalie in just six games.

"I've never seen anything like this at one time, in such a short period of time,'' Blues general manager Larry Pleau said Friday. "But I think the team's working hard. I think (the injuries) are just part of the business. You just work your way through it.''

Barrasso, who entered the league straight out of high school in 1983, has captured a number of NHL awards during his 18-year career. After winning the Calder and Vezina Trophies in his rookie season with Buffalo, the Boston native helped lead Pittsburgh to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships from 1990-92.

After splitting the 1999-2000 season with Pittsburgh and Ottawa, Barrasso sat out the following campaign before signing with the Hurricanes in July 2001. Dealt to the Maple Leafs in March, he faced retirement after exploring the free agent market this past summer.

In 771 career games, Barrasso has a 268-273-86 record with 37 shutouts and a 3.24 goals-against average.

Much like Rucinsky's deal, a formal announcement on Barrasso's signing is expected to be made with the next few days.

"I'd be surprised if he's not in practice on Monday,'' Pleau said.

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