Saturday, July 1, 2017

Blues sign trio of forwards early in free agency period

Thorburn expected to fill role vacated by Reaves gets two-year, $1.8 million, 
Bennett restricted free agent Sundqvist each get one-year, $650,000 contracts

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues weren't expected to make any big splashes once the free agency period opened up on Saturday but they did fill some depth needs on opening day.

In an effort to replace Ryan Reaves, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins last week at the NHL Draft, the Blues went out and signed veteran Chris Thorburn to of the Winnipeg Jets -- who was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft -- to a two-year contract worth $1.8 million ($900,000 AAV) along with forward Beau Bennett, formerly of the New Jersey Devils, to a one-year, $650,000 contract and restricted free agent Oskar Sundqvist, acquired in the Reaves trade, to a one-year, $650,000 contract.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Chris Thorburn (left), Beau Bennett (center) and Oskar Sundqvist (right)
all signed contracts with the Blues on Saturday.

Thorburn is 34, or four years younger than Reaves, is listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and has spent 10 of his 12 seasons with the Jets franchise, including four with the Atlanta Thrashers before they relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.

Thorburn played in 64 games for the Jets last season and had three goals and one assist. For his career spanning 750 games, Thorburn has 52 goals and 75 assists, including and 908 penalty minutes.

It's been an injury-riddled career for the 25-year-old Bennett, who did play in a career-high 65 games last season for the Devils and had eight goals and 11 assists, which were career-highs in goals, assists and points.

A former first-round pick with the Penguins, Bennett is expected to compete for a bottom-six role and likely signals the end of Scottie Upshall's time in St. Louis. 

Bennett, the 20th pick in 2010, is 6-2 ad 195 pounds who was part of the Penguins' Stanley Cup-winning team in 2016; he has 24 goals and 40 assists in 194 career games.

The 23-year-old Sundqvist played in 63 games for the Penguins' American Hockey League squad, Scranton Wilkes-Barre and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Sundqvist will compete for a role with the Blues this season.

Earlier in the week, the Blues signed restricted free agent Magnus Paajarvi, who scored the series-clinching overtime goal in the first round against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5, to a one-year, $800,000 contract.

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