After losing Alex Pietrangelo to free agency a couple of offseasons ago, having David Perron and Ville Husso leave the same way this offseason, and observing this summer’s Calgary Flames from afar, the St. Louis Blues made it a priority this offseason to sign young stars Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou long-term. The organization accomplished that feat on Tuesday by signing Kyrou to an eight-year, $65MM contract which will kick in during the 2023-24 season – two months to the day after Thomas signed an identical deal. Although St. Louis has several key UFAs at season’s end, including Ryan O’Reilly an Vladimir Tarasenko, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on today’s 32 Thoughts podcast that the Blues’ priority was to get their two pending RFAs signed long-term.
Despite their clear focus, Friedman believes St. Louis will take a run at re-signing O’Reilly too, seeing term as the likely sticking point for both sides, O’Reilly turning 32 in February. A comparable contract could be Nazem Kadri, as Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek suggests, given his age and style of play, but as Friedman says, “I don’t know if I can see St. Louis doing that” (Kadri signed for seven years and $49MM). Of course, with their two biggest building blocks signed long-term through their prime years, the Blues have put themselves in a good position, however it’s still worth noting the departure of two key pieces from this year’s team (Perron and Husso) and further departures of O’Reilly or Tarasenko, or both, could put a further dent in the team’s plans for it’s current build.
- Earlier this week, we discussed Jason Robertson’s contract negotiations, which were said to be speeding up with an open dialogue. Friedman also discussed the potential contract on today’s podcast, opining that a possible eight-year, $64MM contract might not be enough to sign the young forward long-term anymore. Friedman cites to the recent extensions of Kyrou and Tim Stutzle, both for eight-years at $65MM and $66.8MM, respectively, as examples of why Robertson could reasonably reject a long-term offer at an AAV of $8MM. Complicating the matter even more is that, right now, Dallas wouldn’t be able to afford an $8MM cap hit on Robertson anyways, having just over $6.3MM in available salary cap space. In that case, the more likely scenario would be a bridge deal for both sides that would carry Robertson to, or at least closer to, UFA status. If Dallas is intent on signing their RFA long-term, one option to clear cap space, which was suggested a few weeks ago by Dallas Stars Senior Staff Writer Mike Heike, would be to trade goaltender Anton Khudobin, who carries a $3.33MM cap hit.
- A final note from Friedman today, the Los Angeles Kings may have been interested in trying to sign defenseman Mikey Anderson to a long-term contract extension. As he elaborates, Friedman believes the team had talked to him about what it would take to get a long-term deal done, but just didn’t have the ability to fit it in. The Kings and Anderson will be able to sign another extension beginning on January 1st of next year, and though Friedman didn’t say a long-term signing is going to be announced then and there, he does believe Los Angeles was able to get a sense of what that deal might have to look like and can better handle it in the future. Rumors that the Kings could try to sign Anderson long-term are interesting considering the defenseman signed just a one-year, $1MM contract a few days ago, causing some to wonder that if that was the price on a one-year pact, it couldn’t have been all that much more for four or more years. Though that might be the case, the recent signings of Anderson an fellow defenseman Sean Durzi leave the team with just under $500K in cap room, which would be a tight squeeze if Anderson’s number came in just under $1.5MM per season, but on a long-term deal for a promising young defenseman, that number may well have been higher.