Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blues, Berglund agree to a new three-year contract

 By Andrew Allsman| Posted: June 26, 2014| Contact  |

Seemingly out of nowhere, the Blues and one of their restricted free agents, Patrik Berglund, agree to a new contract.

The Blues announced on Thursday afternoon that they had agreed upon a new three-year deal with Berglund that expires after the 2016-17 season. The deal, confirmed by the team, is worth $11.1 million, or $3.7 million annually.

Berglund, 26, made $3.25 million in a “bridge-contract”, which he signed last offseason. His new three-year deal is the longest of the forward’s six-year career. However, the signing could indicate that something bigger is on the horizon.

The timing of the deal is strange, to say the least. Just over a week ago, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong indicated that he wasn’t close to re-signing any of the club’s free agents. With the Blues holding Berglund’s rights, a deal did not have to be rushed. And history has shown that Armstrong hardly ever rushes the re-signing of his players.

To make matters more interesting, Berglund has been at the center of speculation regarding potential trades. Currently, the Blues are engaged in talks with the Ottawa Senators for star center Jason Spezza, and it is rumored that Berglund would likely be a part of any return to Ottawa.

Berglund recently wrapped up his sixth NHL season, totaling 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists)in 78 games. A significant shoulder injury kept the forward from competing in the first two games of the Blues’ first round playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues would go on to lose the series, marking their second-consecutive first-round exit.

“I don’t think Patrik was over the moon with his season,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Post Dispatch this offseason. “Moving from centering to wing, he never really solidified his spot anywhere on our team. We need more from him and he probably needs more from us.”

The speculation behind the timing of Berglund signing is that it could turn into a sign-and-trade situation. However, speculation is all it is at this point. But with the 2014 NHL draft being held on Friday evening in Philadelphia, a trade, if it is going to happen, would likely occur within the next 24 hours. 

Since being drafted by the Blues in 2006, Berglund has netted 106 goals, 220 points in 436 games, never fully living up to the hype that was thrust upon him when he was taken 25th overall in 2006 by St. Louis. Yet, the young forward remains highly regarded around the league due to his youth and possible upside.

With Berglund inked to a new deal, the Blues have just two remaining restricted free agents, Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz. Both are expected to be re-signed by the club.