New Blue Derek Roy will spend training camp studying his teammates

ST. LOUIS — Derek Roy is already busy.

As soon as his
skates hit the ice for a series of voluntary practices that recently
wrapped up, the St. Louis Blues center was watching, learning. The
process will continue as training camp starts this week.

Roy is
at his best when he complements everyone around him. To do that on a new
team, he must get an idea of what everyone around him can do.

“I got to meet the boys, skate around and get some good workouts,” Roy said Friday. “I’m trying to figure out their tendencies.”

“The
way they bring pucks out,” he explained. “Or the way they makes passes,
the way forwards make plays. You try to read off of what everyone else
is doing. So when the exhibition games come and the regular season
comes, you know what to expect.”

Shortly after the Blues acquired
the veteran from Vancouver this off-season, coach Ken Hitchcock
explained why he was so giddy about the acquisition. Usually a fan of
size — Roy is only 5 feet 9, 149 pounds — Hitchcock trumpeted Roy as a
facilitator who can conduct an offense like a maestro.

“That’s
his strength,” Hitchcock said. “When he was getting big numbers in
Buffalo, he was that type of guy that had patience, bought time and made
plays other guys can’t make.”

Before he played for two teams
last year (Dallas, then Vancouver), Roy spent eight seasons with
Buffalo. In four of those seasons (2006-2010) he passed out more than 40
assists.

After just a few practices, Blues center T.J. Oshie says he can see how those numbers happened.

“He
brings a lot of players to him,” Oshie said Friday. “A lot of guys that
just skate into the corner aren’t really doing anything. He sucks one
guy, sucks two guys into him, then dishes it to someone who is wide
open.”

Roy points out that his skills as a distributor lack impact without players who can take advantage.

“You
just have to work hard for each other,” he said. “That’s the main
thing. When you feed off each other and work hard, you are going to get
scoring chances.”

How often those chances come will be directly
linked to the practices that take place prior to the season. The faster
Roy can get a feel for his new teammates, the better. Because
expectations are high.

“He’s one of the more skilled players I
think I’ve played with, in terms of creating room for himself and his
teammates, passing it off and giving guys an opportunity to score,”
Oshie said. “Great player. Hopefully, he brings more of the same once
the season starts.”

Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com.