The St. Louis Blues are taking care of business. After extending Sammy Blais yesterday, the team has announced another new contract, this time for Marco Scandella. The veteran defenseman has signed a four-year extension that will carry an average annual value of $3.275MM. Scandella was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens earlier this year.
Because of the extension, the Canadiens will receive an additional draft pick—the Blues’ 2021 fourth-round selection—from the trade to go with the original 2020 second-round pick St. Louis gave up. That deal came just a few weeks after sending a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres for Scandella, making this flip quite the impressive transaction for Montreal GM Marc Bergevin.
Scandella, 30, is coming off a five-year, $20MM deal he signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2014. At that point he was considered a rock-solid defensive partner that could play in a lot of situations, but his stock fell considerably over the last few years in Buffalo. In St. Louis, that kind of stay-at-home presence is exactly what will be asked of him after he spent most of his short stint alongside young star Colton Parayko. At a $3.275MM cap hit he essentially replaces Jay Bouwmeester, who is still contemplating his playing future after his cardiac episode but is scheduled for unrestricted free agency.
Any extension for a defenseman in St. Louis will come with other questions though, as free agency also looms for captain Alex Pietrangelo. The team now has five NHL defensemen locked up through next season, for a total of more than $18MM. Pietrangelo would increase that total quite substantially, something that might not be possible given the expected salary cap stagnation coming from the current pause.