B.J. Crombeen signs a two-year, $2 million contract extension
Another one of those restricted free-agents has officially been retained by the Blues.
B.J. Crombeen, 25, avoided free-agency by re-signing with the Blues before July 1. The contract will reportedly pay him $950,000 next season and $1.05 million the following season.
Crombeen contributed seven goals, seven assists and 154 penalty minutes in 80 games for the Blues last season. Crombeen has been with St. Louis for the better part of his career, playing in 225 games in a Blues jersey. He has played in 248 total NHL games.
Crombeen was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the second round (54th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The Denver, Colorado native played with the Iowa Stars of the AHL and then the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL before getting his first crack at the Stars’ lineup. After playing in just 23 total games spanning over two seasons, the Stars placed Crombeen on waivers on November 18, 2008. The Blues picked him up and the rest is history.
“B.J. has been a true professional for the Blues organization on and off the ice,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said after the signing. “His gritty play and leadership qualities fit in well with our mix of players.”
The memory is still fresh in our minds of the Boston Bruins skating around Rogers Arena with the Stanley Cup as hooligans in Vancouver tried to burn the city. But now our sights are set in the city where madness is welcomed; Las Vegas.
The 2010-11 NHL season definitely had its share of bright spots and this is why the NHL holds its annual awards show. But who will win? We won’t know how the NHL Players Association and Writers’ Association voted until Wednesday night. I can tell you who deserves to win, though.
Here are my 2010-11 NHL award winners:
While fan-favorite T.J. Oshie remains unsigned, Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong is still getting down to business.
Armstrong has retained the rights to Vladimir Sobotka, Chris Porter, Nikita Nikitin and T.J. Hensick.
Vladimir Sobotka signs a three-year, $3.9 million contract extension
Deal will reportedly pay Sobotka $1.2 million next season, then $1.3 million, then $1.4 million.
Sobotka’s contract may be considered a steal for St. Louis. In his first season as a Blue, Sobotka set career-highs in goals (7), assists (22) and points (29). Sobotka, who was acquired from Boston last summer for prospect defenseman David Warsofsky, truly exceeded expectations in 2010-11. Mainly expected to be a fourth-line grinder who could put a few pucks in the net, Sobotka saw a lot of time on the top two scoring lines due to numerous injuries to top-forwards. It is obvious that Armstrong is impressed with Sobotka and will expect him to reach career-highs again sometime in the near future.
Chris Porter signs a one-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal is believed to be in the $550K - $800K range.
Porter, 27 and a native of Toronto, Ontario, played in 45 games for the Blues last season. Playing primarily on the fourth line, Porter contributed three goals and four assists to the club. As a member of the Peoria Rivermen, Porter’s best AHL season came in 2009-10 when he amassed 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points in 80 games played. Porter is expected to challenge for a permanent spot on the Blues’ checking line, as he seems to be in good graces with Armstrong.
“I'd like to publicly say it, the person who took the greatest advantage of his opportunity was [Chris] Porter,” Armstrong told Blues beat-writer Lou Korac at the end of the season. “He came in and he really stepped up. In his role, he was the most effective of the call-up players in my opinion. He was the one guy that came in and really said that he wants to position himself to be on the cups of being an everyday NHL player. [Ryan] Reaves came up and played well, too, but no one was more consistent at that than Porter. So I want to give that accolade to him.”
Nikita Nikitin signs a one-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal is believed to be in the $700K - $1.1 million range.
There is not one Blue that took better advantage of his opportunities last season than Nikita Nikitin. The native of Omsk, Russia bounced between the Rivermen and Blues early last season but became a mainstay after his January 23 call-up. After that, Nikitin settled down defensively and even scored his first NHL goal. Nikitin finished his rookie season with 1 goal and 8 assists and posted a plus-1.
T.J. Hensick signs a two-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
The deal is believed to be in the $600K - $1 million range.
Hensick is a fast skater that can find the back of the net or an open teammate more often than not. Last season, Hensick led the Rivermen in points with 69 (21G, 48A). He has a good shot that will fear any goalie… in the AHL. Hensick has found himself hitting the wall when he gets the call-up to the NHL. Hensick averaged 2.76 shots-per-game when playing with the Rivermen, but only averaged 1.08 shots-per-game in his 13 games played in St. Louis. His ice-time obviously plays a huge factor in that statistic but Hensick has to be more effective if he plans on playing on the NHL club. More likely than not, Hensick will dazzle Peoria fans most of the season and be one of the first call-ups when an injury happens to the Blues’ forwards.
Blues News and Notes: The Blues also announced that they have signed forward Sebastian Wannstrom, their second-round draft selection from 2010. The Blues picked Wannstrom 44th overall… Jeremy Rutherford reports that the Blues are likely letting UFAs Cam Janssen and Ty Conklin walk come July 1. They will want to promote from within, as Ben Bishop and Ryan Reaves are hopeful to step in and take their spots.
The Blues still have seven players under contract who are slated to be free-agents on July 1.
Forwards: T.J. Oshie (RFA), B.J. Crombeen (RFA), Cam Janssen (UFA), Matt D’Agostini (RFA), Dave Scatchard (UFA)
Defensemen: Tyson Strachan (RFA)
Goalies: Ty Conklin (UFA)
The recent action taken on Aaron Rome and his hit on Nathan Horton in the Stanley Cup Finals is just another reminder that the NHL disciplinary system is simply not working.
Rome, who lined Horton up and nailed him with a shoulder in his head, received a four-game suspension from the league. Horton will miss the remainder of the playoffs with a concussion.
"Two factors were considered in reaching this decision," said Mike Murphy, the NHL senior vice president of hockey operations. "The hit by Rome was clearly beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck and it caused a significant injury."
The suspension means that Rome will not be able to participate in the remainder of the series.
Rome was punished and will not be able to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup on the rink, if the Canucks can pull off a victory. That is a pretty big punishment for someone who has battled all season for that chance. But why do I still laugh at this penalty?
Let’s take a look at recent history of suspensions and fines.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong had an easy decision to make at season’s end.
The list of players becoming free-agents seems to be a mile long, but three players had to be a top-priority. Forwards Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka and defenseman Roman Polak were all key re-signings heading into the off-season. Armstrong wasted no time mulling over the three players’ futures with the organization.
On Tuesday morning, Armstrong announced that he had reached a deal with center Patrik Berglund that would keep him in St. Louis for another two years. The deal, reportedly, will pay the Swede $2.25 million in each of the next two seasons.
Armstrong was not finished there. Announced Thursday morning, the Blues reached an agreement with 25-year old defenseman Roman Polak, which will pay him $2.75 million in each of the next five seasons.
In addition, reports say that the Blues have reached an agreement with Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka, which will pay him $1.30 annually over the next three seasons. Reports say that the deal has reached a verbal agreement, but Sobotka is yet to sign the contract.