Veteran center was the No. 8 overall pick by the Coyotes in the 2006 NHL Draft.
After three seasons as backup goaltender, he has a contract extension and owns the starting job.
Chris Zimmerman first met owner Tom Stillman playing pick-up hockey in New York in the 1980s.
Dan O'Neill writes that the value of Blues' role player was overestimated.
His $2,725,000 salary will carry over to the season in which he returns to the NHL.
The St. Louis Blues and Doug Armstrong were big fat winners during Tuesday's opening of the free agency feeding frenzy kickoff by signing former Colorodo Rockies center Paul Stastny and KHL center Jori Lehtera.
Armstrong said he was going to make significant changes, and that's what he did after inking Stastny to a four year, $28 million deal, and Lehtera at two years, $5.5 million.
Stastny reportedly had contract offers for more money and more years, but turned those down to sign with his hometown city. In an interview with NHL Network, Stastny noted that he is engaged and will be married in the offseason and will be starting a family, and doing that in St. Louis, a town he himself grew up in, appealed to him and played a role in him signing with the Blues.
Lehtera, an offensively talented centerman, was the Blues 2008 3rd rd. draft pick and he had been playing in the KHL the past few seasons. Armstrong wanted Lehtera to come over and join the Blues organization last season, but Lehtera didn't feel he was ready and opted to stay in Russia another year. However, his confidence was boosted after playing very well in the Olympics and the World Juniors against tougher competition, so he used $1 million of his own money to help buyout his KHL contract, leaving him free to sign with St. Louis. Lehtera said that staying in the KHL another year was probably a mistake.
This is big news for the Note for a couple reasons.
REASON #1: This is the first time ever...EVER, that the Blues have signed a top notch unrestricted free agent in their prime.
Don't believe me?
Kariya? He was well past his prime when we signed him.
Shanahan? He was about to enter his prime, but he was an restricted free agent (big difference).
Stevens? He was a restricted free agent.
The Blues have signed big name RFA's and traded for big names, but have never signed a big name unrestricted free agent in their prime.
Signing a restricted free agent to an offer sheet that the other team fails to match (they have 7 days to do so), means you have to give compensation in the form of draft picks back to the signed players former team. The number of picks and what round they are in is determined by the salary that player received from his former team. The higher the salary, the higher picks and more of them go back the other way.
All of that obviously means that by signing RFA's, while sometimes necessary, can hurt your future by costing you picks. And of course, trading for big names usually means losing some talent off of your roster, in the minors and/or draft picks.
That wasn't the case here with signing unrestricted free agents.
REASON #2: The Blues biggest need...by far...not even close, was to improve the power play and offense in clutch situations. It is the biggest reason why the Blues couldn't get past Chicago in the playoffs. Stastny should help resolve that issue. And Lehtera gives us great depth at center with more playmaking ability, so long as his game translates nicely to the NHL...which is, of course, still a question mark.
By adding elite level talent to the roster by way of unrestricted free agency, in which there is zero compensation to pay...other than money, means nothing is subtracted from the roster, nothing was depleted from the minors, we still have Rattie, Hakanpaa, Jaskin, etc...which makes these signings all the better for now and in the future.
The Central Division is going to be a beast next year. Drastically upgrading up the middle doesn't guarantee the Blues anything. The Central was already a monster division last year, but this offseason has seen Dallas add Jason Spezza, Colorado add Iginla, and Chicago add Brad Richards (which was a knee jerk reaction to the Blues, Stars and Avs upgrading their rosters...Richards isn't the player he used to be, but on an offensively gifted team like Chicago, Richards might see a slight bump in his numbers).
Next season would seemingly be a great season to spring for the NHL Center Ice package, if only to watch the central division teams play each other.
The NHL salary cap for the 2014-15 season, will be $69 million.
This is up from $64.3 million in the 2013-14 season.
What will this mean for the Blues? It is doubtful that we flirt with the cap ceiling again, but this is good news in terms of players like Spezza that the Blues may be targeting in a trade.
IF, the Blues trade for Spezza, his cap hit for next season is $7 million, but his actual salary is only $4 million.
In short, we'll have enough cap room for Spezza or Stastny for that matter, should the Blues decide to acquire either...or *shudder*...both. Especially considering that Ottawa wants a top 6 forward in the package for Spezza, so that is some salary coming off the books that would be going the other way.
Eddie Lack recorded 30 saves and Mike Santorelli scored the game-winning goal to give the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Arena Friday night. It was Vancouver’s first victory in six games.
"We tried to stay aggressive and we found a way to win,” head coach John Tortorella said. “Lack was really good tonight. He made key saves."
Lack started the eighth time in nine games for regular No. 1 goaltender Roberto Luongo, who has battled separate injuries in the past month. Lack’s record improved to 8-3-3 in his first NHL season.
The Canucks were riding an 0-2-3 stretch while being outscored 18-13 in that span. The team’s last victory came on Dec. 29 when they defeated the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, 2-0.
On the other hand, the loss snapped the Blues’ seven-game winning streak, which was the longest active streak in the NHL and was the franchise’s best stretch since a nine-game run from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, 2002. The team’s last loss came on Dec. 23 to the Flames in a 4-3 shootout decision.
The final goal came at 5:56 of the third period after a quick rush into the Blues’ zone. After the puck popped into the high slot, defenseman Jason Garrison rifled a shot that was deflected by Santorelli, who was scoreless in five previous contests, in front of goalie Brian Elliott for the forward’s 10th tally and his third game-winning goal of the season.
On the last edition of the current format, hosts Jeff Ponder and Justin Wilson fill you in on the Brenden Morrow signing. Discussion also includes the Tim Thomas situation in Florida and the brawl North of the border. We also say our goodbyes and welcome in the new format for Lets Go Blues Radio.
On this episode of Lets Go Blues Radio, we preview the Central Division with friend of the show, Jason Martine, and we’ll talk about the first four preseason games that the Blues have played. We’ll also discuss the 2015 Winter Classic and tell you about an Edmonton Oiler who received an extension. We also get to your feedback and have much much more on this edition.