The St. Louis Blues have signed a number of free agents, inking Beau Bennett to a one-year $650K contract, Chris Thorburn to a two-year, $1.8MM deal and restricted free agent Oskar Sundqvist to a one-year, $650K contract.
Bennett wasn’t issued a qualifying offer from the New Jersey Devils this week, making him a free agent at just 25 years old. The 20th-overall selection in 2010, Bennett has performed admirably as a bottom-six player and has some offensive upside to his game. He’ll fit in nicely as a big body to replace some of the outgoing size of Ryan Reaves for the Blues.
Thorburn, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights from the Winnipeg Jets at the expansion draft, is more of a 13th forward at this point in his career but locked up a two-year deal regardless. The 34-year old is willing to drop the gloves for a teammate, and has logged 750 games in his career as a fourth-line energy player.
Sundqvist was part of the deal that saw Reaves head to Pittsburgh, and will see if he can break through into the NHL in St. Louis. In 28 games so far in his career he has just four points, but found his scoring touch in the minor leagues. With 20 goals and 46 points, many believe he could develop into a legitimate power winger in the NHL one day, at least able to contribute double-digit goals.
It will be interesting to see where he plays this year, as the Blues are operating without a primary AHL affiliate. They will supply players to the Chicago Wolves who are now affiliated with Vegas, but also send certain players throughout the minor leagues. If Sundqvist is playing in Chicago, he’ll be under the tutelage of the Golden Knights’ coaching staff.