While fans continue to show their consternation over the looming free agency of Alex Pietrangelo in light of the St. Louis Blues’ recent acquisition and extension of Justin Faulk, there is another important roster player scheduled to hit the market in the summer of 2020. Brayden Schenn is on the last season of the four-year, $20.5MM deal signed with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2016, and is in line for a substantial raise if he can rebound from a disappointing 54-point season.
The Blues aren’t waiting around to find out if he can according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, who writes in his latest 31 Thoughts column that the team is “taking a big run” at a Schenn extension. Before his 17-goal 2018-19 campaign Schenn had recorded three straight years of at least 25 goals, even reaching a career-high in points with 70 in his first season with St. Louis. Add in the fact that he was a key part of the team’s Stanley Cup run and is a versatile piece that can play center or wing and you can understand why GM Doug Armstrong wants to lock him up. Schenn only turned 28 last month.
- Another interesting nugget from Friedman’s piece is regarding the New Jersey Devils, and how they have shown interest in Florida Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk. The Panthers have multi-year commitments to Aaron Ekblad (six years), Keith Yandle (four), Anton Stralman (three) and Mike Matheson (seven), making it perhaps a little difficult to retain Pysyk in the future. The 27-year old is in the final year of his current deal and will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but is still a valuable piece on the back end that many teams could use.
- The Vancouver Canucks signed Finnish prospect Petrus Palmu to a three-year entry-level contract in 2018, but ended up loaning him back to TPS in Liiga for a good chunk of last season. That appears to be a possibility again, as Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet reports that Palmu is close to signing in Finland once again. It has been evident for some time that the young forward wouldn’t be playing for the Utica Comets this season, but it was not clear where he’d end up. Palmu had 18 points in 29 games for TPS last season and has proven to be a capable player at that level, but standing just 5’6″ he’ll have a tough time contributing in the NHL.
Wondering why Matheson got such a generous “prospector” deal for eight (seven left), when he and Pysyk are only separated in age by about two years? They both have annoying 2-ish to 1 Giveaway-to-Takeway ratios last season, with Matheson getting a little more TOI. Stralman is more stay-at-home with a much more palatable 1:1 Giveaway-to-Takeway ratio. Yandle and Ekblad aren’t going anywhere, as each of their values are pretty solid. Sounds like a conflict for the 2nd-pairing (or 3rd), where one of the two is odd-man-out, meaning Pysyk’s contract situation is the determining factor. Or, is it the dreaded “projected upside” ? Maybe Dale Tallon could chime in on this one for us.