Chris Stewart will be remaining a Blue for at least the next two years. The Blues announced on Friday that they had reached an agreement on a two-year extension with the power forward. The agreement means that the club avoids an arbitration hearing with Stewart, which was the preferred outcome.
Stewart was a restricted free agent, and had been negotiating with the Blues for several weeks, trying to reach a deal to remain in St. Louis. This past week, Stewart filed for arbitration in case he and the Blues were unable to reach a deal without outside help. Stewart’s arbitration hearing was scheduled for Monday, but both sides reached a deal in time to avoid the process.
Stewart announced the new deal via Twitter. For the 25-year old forward, it is turning out to be quite the weekend.
“On the eve of my wedding I’m proud to announce that I will be spending the next two years in STL,” he tweeted.
When Stewart’s contract expires, he will become an unrestricted free agent, and be able to test the free agency market. His two-year deal sets him up rather nicely to cash in when he is due another contract.
Stewart's new contract is reportedly worth $8.3 million over the next two seasons. Stewart will be paid $4.1 million for the 2013-14 season, and $4.2 million for the 2014-15 campaign.
Stewart has been a member of the Blues since being acquired by the Blues in a trade during the 2010-11 season. During his time with St. Louis, Stewart has 48 goals, 89 points in 153 games.
In his most recent campaign, Stewart led all Blues players in points (36) and goals (18). The 6-foot-2, 231-pound forward signed a one-year contract with the Blues last offseason, with the intent being to prove he was worthy of a larger deal. Stewart made dramatic changes, coming into last season in the best shape of his career. He has already begun the same offseason workout in preparation for the upcoming season.
The re-signing of Chris Stewart was preceded last week by the trading of forward David Perron. Perron went to Edmonton in exchange for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 second-round draft pick. The move saved the Blues $3.5 million this season, giving the Blues more cap space to re-sign both defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Stewart.
Nothing appears to be imminent with Pietrangelo, but that can change rather quickly. It could also drag on for quite a whilel. Besides Pietrangelo, the Blues are attempting to reach deals with goaltender Jake Allen, and recently-acquired forward Paajarvi.
According to Capgeek.com, the Blues currently have approximately $8.24 million remaining in cap space. The club believes it can work under the cap and still reach deals with their three remaining restricted free agents.