As August gets underway, the Blues, under the direction of general manager Doug Armstrong, have nearly finished their task of re-signing players. When the day began on Friday, the club had just two remaining restricted free agents, now they have one. The Blues announced on Friday afternoon that they had agreed to terms on a new contract with recently-acquired forward Magnus Paajarvi.
Paajarvi, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in July, is fresh off of his three-year entry level contract. When the Blues acquired Paajarvi from Edmonton, along with a second-round draft pick, in exchange for forward David Perron, Paajarvi's contract was already up. Now, less than a month later, Paajarvi and the Blues have agreed on a two-year deal.
Paajarvi's new contract is worth $2.4 million over two seasons; he will be earning $1.2 million per year. The 22-year old forward is set to enter his fourth National Hockey League season.
Paajarvi, who was the Oilers' first-round draft pick (10th overall) in the 2009 NHL draft, has yet to reach the peak of his career. Paajarvi's best season thus far was the 2010-11 campaign, where Paajarvi posted 34 points in 80 games with the Oilers.
"We think (Paajarvi) is just starting to enter the really good part of his career, said Armstrong after the Blues acquired Paajarvi. "We think he brings an element to our team that we don’t have."
When the Blues made the deal for Paajarvi, they saved significant money over the next three seasons. By moving Perron, the Blues shed $12.25 million as well. Paajarvi's cost next season is $2.3 million less than what Perron's would have been for St. Louis. With that being said, the Blues liked Paajarvi's skill set as well and did not make the trade just for cap purposes.
Paajarvi fits in nicely with the Blues, which Armstrong pointed out when the club acquired him. The team expects him to be an asset in the upcoming season, playing as a top-nine forward for the club. If Paajarvi lives up to what his potential is believed to be, he can certainly help St. Louis.
“We view him coming in and competing in our group of nine," said Armstrong when Paajarvi was acquired. "We have been more of a group of nine more than your prototypical one, two three, four line team. We have had a group of nine that was pretty interchangeable and ‘Hitch’ has used them as interchangeable parts. How Ken (Hitchcock) decides to use him will basically be up to the player.”
In his 163-game NHL career, Paajarvi has 26 goals, 58 points. Armstrong was able to negotiate a deal with the young forward that is fair, yet safe for the club.
The Norrkoping, Sweden native is coming off a 16-point season with the Oilers. The Blues are hoping he finds his offensive touch this year.
The Blues now have just defenseman Alex Pietrangelo left to re-sign. Armstrong has guaranteed that Pietrangelo will be back with the Blues this season, but negotiations continue to linger on. The club has approximately $7.6 million remaining in cap space to sign Pietrangelo.