The St. Louis Blues have extended forward Ryan Reaves, the club announced prior to Friday night’s game against Vancouver. His new deal will kick in following the 2013-14 campaign.
"We are happy to have Ryan in the fold for the next four years,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong in a statement accompanying the announcement.” He has grown into a well-rounded player and will continue to play an important role for our team moving forward."
The extension agreed upon is four years in length and will pay the forward $4.5 million ($1.125 annually). Reaves, 26, is in the homestretch of a two-year contract that is worth $1.2 million. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“It feels really good, especially for a guy in my role,” Reaves told KMOX’s Chris Kerber in an interview posted on the Blues website.” It’s been a long road and I couldn’t be happier to be on this team.”
Armstrong only just rejoined the team a few days ago after fulfilling his duties as an assistant general manager of Team Canada. Canada’s Olympic team announced its roster earlier in the week and Armstrong had to divvy his focus between the Blues and the Olympic squad. Reaves said that the deal came together quickly after Armstrong reached out to him following the general manager’s return.
“It was pretty quick, in the last couple of days,” Reaves told Kerber.
Reaves has played in 26 games with the Blues this season and has tallied two goals, five points. The winger has been a consistent player in the Blues’ lineup for the past three seasons. Since the 2011-12 campaign, Reaves has dressed in 129 games with the club.
Since his debut in the 2010-11 season, Reaves has appeared in 157 National Hockey League games and has 19 points (11 goals, eight assists).
The always-energetic forward recently made his return to the Blues’ lineup after sustaining a broken hand during a fight with Dallas’ Brendan Dillon on Nov. 23. The injury, which required surgery to repair, sidelined Reaves for a little over five weeks and forced him to miss 17 games.
After his return, Reaves regained to his fourth-line role and has tallied one assist while averaging over ten minutes of ice time per game.
Reaves has taken on a bigger role this season and sits just one point shy of his career high (6), which he set last season. This year, Reaves has been playing on a line with Maxim Lapierre and most recently Brenden Morrow. Reaves has benefited from the acquisition of those two players this past offseason and has upped his game, proving to the team that he is a valuable asset.
“He can read teams’ exits, he’s able to pick off passes, and he’s able to anticipate plays now,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock just before Reaves’ injury in November. “He’s not just trying to get hits now and energize the team. We don’t need that type of energy. We need good play and he is giving it to us quite a bit now.”
With Reaves taken care of, the Blues now have six players on their roster that are set to become unrestricted free agents in the upcoming offseason.