The St. Louis Blues won’t have to go through a messy arbitration hearing with Zach Sanford, instead re-signing the restricted free agent to a two-year deal. The contract will pay Sanford an average of $1.5MM.
Sanford, 24, came to the Blues several years ago in the deal that saw Kevin Shattenkirk join the Washington Capitals, but only really made an impact this season. Playing in 60 games during the regular season the 6’4″ power forward registered 20 points, and ended up making quite the impression during the Stanley Cup Final. Scoring four points in five games against the Boston Bruins including a goal in the deciding game seven, Sanford’s future looks bright as a bottom-six contributor.
In fact, Sanford’s presence may be exactly why the Blues don’t have a ton of interest in bringing back Pat Maroon on a new deal. Sanford can likely fill the same role as a big-bodied forward with some scoring upside, and is considerably younger. A $1.5MM cap hit doesn’t represent a very lucrative deal, but does give the young forward some sense of security in his NHL role moving forward. Sanford will actually be a restricted free agent when the deal ends.
The Blues now have just three restricted free agents scheduled for arbitration in Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson and Oskar Sundqvist. Those three may also end up signing deals before their respective hearings, something that happens with the vast majority of players who file for arbitration. Ivan Barbashev and Robby Fabbri, the team’s other two NHL RFAs, were not eligible to file this year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images