The St. Louis Blues have decided that Steven Santini should stay in the organization, signing the defenseman to a two-year extension. The contract is of the two-way variety, meaning Santini will earn less at the AHL level. Santini was scheduled to become an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent at the end of the season but is now under contract through the 2022-23 campaign. PuckPedia has the full contract details, which include a $750K average annual value at the NHL level.
One thing to note in any contract signed these days is how it will affect the upcoming expansion draft, but Santini doesn’t figure to make much of an impact there. The 26-year-old defenseman will likely not be protected, but also does not fill the exposure requirements for the Blues—he doesn’t have the required games played over the last two seasons to serve as the one signed defenseman the team must expose.
Instead, this contract extension is just making sure a valuable depth piece remains in the organization. Santini found his way to St. Louis after the Nashville Predators bought out his contract last October, signing a one-year two-way deal with the Blues a few days later. He cleared waivers at the beginning of the season, meaning he could play in the minor leagues or serve as an extra body on the taxi squad. This season, he has played just five games at the AHL level and one for the Blues, but obviously showed enough in practice to earn himself a nice new deal.
Unless he manages to secure himself a roster spot at training camp, Santini will need to clear waivers again next season in order to reach the minor leagues.