The defending Stanley Cup champs are holding on to a pair of their fringe contributors. The St. Louis Blues announced a new contract for veteran impending UFA Jordan Nolan, followed by another announcement of a new deal for young RFA Nolan Stevens minutes later. Both forwards have signed one-year, two-way extensions that carry the minimum $700K cap hit at the NHL level.
Nolan now has an extra reason to celebrate today, as it is also his 30th birthday. The big, defensive forward has spent the past eight years in the NHL, the first six of which as a bottom-six starter for the Los Angeles Kings. Nolan was expected to play a regular role with St. Louis as well when he signed with the team last summer, but instead became a key mentor in the minor leagues with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. Nolan only played in 14 NHL games last season, a career low, but his importance moving forward now lies in his ability to groom the Blues’ young forwards in the ways of two-way play while also remaining an experienced depth option.
Stevens, a fifth-round pick in 2016, is coming off of his first pro season after a successful four years at Northeastern University. The 22-year-old only recorded 18 points for San Antonio last season (compared to Nolan’s 35 for example), but still played a top-nine role for the Rampage and showed good two-way ability. He should see his game grow even more going forward. Stevens may not possess the skill necessary to be a top-nine forward in the NHL, but is the exact type of player that St. Louis hopes Nolan can groom into an effective fourth-line contributor.