The St. Louis Blues have locked up a young forward for another year, inking Magnus Paajarvi to a one-year deal worth $800K. Paajarvi was a restricted free agent, but will now hit the open market in a year as a UFA.
At 26, Paajarvi has yet to really pay off the 10th-overall selection that was used to select him. Edmonton, the team who drafted him, traded him along with a second-round pick for David Perron in 2013, and since then he’s been a part-time player in St. Louis. Last year, in 32 games with the Blues he scored 13 points and showed flashes of the potential they’d hoped for. In 26 games with the Chicago Wolves on the AHL, he registered 18 points.
Committing just $800K to him is a small risk for the Blues, but does take another little chunk out of what they have left under the cap. As we said yesterday when the team announced Patrik Berglund would miss the first chunk of the season, a Colton Parayko contract looks poised to take up a majority of their remaining cap space. With just over $10MM left, the team will likely have to clear out some room if they want to be players in free agency.
For Paajarvi, this is a chance to really impress and enter next summer as a sought-after free agent. With the pedigree down, if he can find a way to become the fast, power winger with 20+ goal upside, you could imagine a lineup for his services next year. That said, even a full-time role in a bottom-six would look nice right now, as the last time he played in 80 games he scored 34 points as a 19-year old. That’s what the Blues are hoping for, and what would make next summer very interesting.