Monday, June 27, 2016

Blues, Brodziak reach agreement on two-year contract

Veteran center instrumental to fourth line, agreed to 
$1.9 million extension, could have become UFA Friday

ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Brodziak initially signed with the Blues because of what he called a "legitimate chance."

That legitimate chance to win is always a player's goal --- the money doesn't hurt either -- but in the case of Brodziak, he came off a contract that paid him $3 million in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild before reaching a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Blues.

It's safe to say money wasn't a determining factor then and it wasn't the case again after the veteran 32-year-old center signed a two-year, $1.9 million extension on Monday afternoon, a $50,000 raise on average annual value per season.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Kyle Brodziak reacts after scoring a shorthanded goal against San Jose in
Game 4 of the conference final. He resigned with the Blues Monday.

Brodziak was a mainstay on the Blues' fourth line and was an instrumental penalty killer; he played 76 regular season games last season and scored seven goals and added four assists, including three shorthanded tallies and four game-winning goals.

Brodziak helped lead the Blues to the Western Conference Final, and in 20 postseason games, he had two goals, including a shorthanded one in Game 4 of the conference final against San Jose. 

"Coming into the year, it was exciting for me because I felt like we had a legitimate chance," Brodziak said recently. "To be a part of it was exciting and it was fun. We obviously fell a little bit short, but the whole playoff run just felt real. It felt like we were going to do it the whole time, and that's what makes it so hard to accept that it's over. But yeah, it was a lot of fun and I'm grateful that 'Army' (Blues general manager Doug Armstrong) gave me the chance to come here and be a part of it."

Which made it pretty easy for Brodziak to commit to the Blues again.

"Yeah, for sure. I've never had a chance to play this late in the year and have an opportunity like that," Brodziak said. "It was a lot of fun."

Brodziak played mainly with guys like Scottie Upshall, who the Blues resigned to a one-year, $900,000 contract recently, Ryan Reaves, Steve Ott and at times, Dmitrij Jaskin.

"I felt like it was a good fit," Brodziak said. "We knew what was kind of expected from me and it was fun. It was fun to be a part of a group that you really believe that when you put all the work in, you get a chance for it all to pay off and be successful. It was fun.

"... It's a good group of guys where everyone gets along, but that's only really part of it, I think. Obviously we have a pretty good, skilled team, goalies, d-men, forwards, just depth throughout the whole lineup. But really when you have a group that poured it all into it and committed, the commitment to do unselfish things and put in the work, too, I think that's a big thing that separated our team. We had a lot of guys that would have to do a lot of extra things to make the group go farther. It's another commitment level you have to get to and everyone was on board. You can see the results, not the end result, but potential end result when everybody's on board together."

A veteran of 11 seasons, Brodziak has 105 goals and 134 assists with the Edmonton Oilers, Wild and Blues.

With Brodziak's signing, the Blues have 18 players under contract and roughly $15.2 million in cap space available. They still have to sign potential restricted free agent Jaden Schwartz and there's still the pending outcomes to potential unrestricted free agents David Backes and Troy Brouwer, among others.

Forward Vladimir Sobotka, who the Blues are assuming will return next season after spending the past two seasons in the KHL, will do so at the cap hit of $2.7 million and would bring the remaining cap space available to $12.5 million.

* NOTES -- The Blues announced they made qualifying offers to pending restricted free agents Schwartz, F Magnus Paajarvi, G Anders Nilsson, F Ty Rattie, G Jordan Binnington, F Jordan Caron, G Pheonix Copley and F Jacob Doty.

By making qualifying offers by the 4 p.m. (CT) deadline, the Blues retain negotiating rights with those players when free agency opens Friday and prevents those players from becoming UFA's.

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