With the 2014 NHL Draft completed and the NHL Free Agency season offically open, several Jr. Blues Alumni have made moves in the last couple of weeks.
Stastny to St. Louis
Former St. Louis Jr. Blues forward, Paul Stastny has signed a 4-year deal with the St. Louis Blues for $28 million. Stastny played for the Jr. Blues in the 2001-02 season as a 15 year old when he notched over 115 points in the season. In an ESPN story:
Stastny, 28, grew up in the St. Louis area and is the son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny. A two-time Olympian with the United States, Paul Stastny had 25 goals and 60 points for the Avalanche last season and five goals and 10 points in seven playoff games.
Stastny helps the Blues keep pace with the other Western Conference powers after the Ducks acquired center Ryan Kesler in a draft-day trade with the Vancouver Canucks and the Stars added center Jason Spezza in a deal with the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
After their first-round loss to the Blackhawks, one in which they surrendered a 2-0 series lead, the Blues opted to let goalie Ryan Miller walk in free agency and focused on addressing their scoring problems. Adding a center was the priority.
Stastny is a gifted play-maker who had 458 points in 538 career games for the Avalanche, who tried to retain him right until the start of free agency. More importantly, he's registered 18 points in 22 playoff games, production the Blues need in the postseason.
The Blues' Dmitrij Jaskin tweeted that Stastny could have the No. 26 jersey. Stastny replied in a tweet that he was appreciative of the gesture.
Bollig To Calgary
Another Jr. Blues standout, Brandon Bollig, was traded during the NHL Draft. Also in an ESPN article:
Bollig had seven goals, seven assists and was a minus-1 in 82 regular-season games last season. He played on the Blackhawks' fourth line throughout the season.
"It's always tough when you trade a player who has been a regular player for you," Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said. "You have to make tough decisions these days. We're not the only team that will go through that. We wish him the best."
His role was diminished in the playoffs, and Bollig had one assist and was a minus-6 in 15 playoff games. He was a healthy scratch for four playoff games.
The Blackhawks signed Bollig to a three-year contract extension in March. He has a cap hit of $1.25 million for the next three years, according to capgeek.com.
The Blackhawks selected forward Matheson Iacopelli with the No. 83 overall pick.
Vitale to Arizona
Former Jr. Blues forward, Joe Vitale, has signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Coyotes. Vitale spent the last 4 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Vitale signed a deal that will pay him $3.35 million over the next 3 years. According to USA Today:
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes have signed center Joe Vitale to a three-year contract and goalie Devan Dubnyk to a one-year deal.
The Coyotes made their big move before the start of the free-agency period, trading a draft pick to Tampa Bay for center Sam Gagner and right wing B.J. Crombeen on Sunday. Arizona also initiated a buyout of center Mike Ribeiro's contract after last season's top signee didn't pan out.
The Coyotes beefed up their depth at center by picking up Vitale, who spent his first four seasons with Pittsburgh. He has eight goals and 27 assists in 163 career games.
Dubnyk was the starter in Edmonton last season before struggling and being traded to Nashville. He replaces backup goalie Thomas Greiss, who signed with Pittsburgh.
Butler A Free Agent
Former defenseman Chris Butler is a free agent after spending the last three seasons in Calgary. After the Calgary season ended, he commented about the upcoming free agency, "It's something I'll think about, but it's still a few months away. It's kind of hard to think abou right now after just playing (Sunday) and wearing that jersey for the last three years."