Defenseman's one-year, $3 million contract represents 3x the salary, gives
cap-strapped team relief in hopes of landing long-term contract in future
ST. LOUIS -- Joel Edmundson's one-year contract worth $3 million was just what the doctor ordered for the cap-strapped Blues.
It could turn out to be a blessing for the 25-year-old Edmundson as well.
The Blues locked up one of the remaining two restricted free agents on Tuesday morning when they signed the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Edmundson on the eve of his scheduled arbitration hearing.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Joel Edmundson's one-year, $3 million contract will give Blues immediate
relief from their cap situation. D-man hopes to get an extension in the future.
It's typically never a good thing to have to go through an arbitration hearing and having a judge decide the outcome as two sides present their respective cases, and as the Blues were able to get something done on a longer-termed basis with Colton Parayko last summer with more cap space at their disposal (five years, $27.5 million), Edmundson, who played in 69 games last season, his third in the NHL and achieved career highs in goals (seven) and points (17), is comfortable giving the team some relief now and banking on his future as early as next summer when he could become a restricted free agent again and perhaps cash in on a long-term extension by then.
According to capfriendly.com, the Blues sit with $284,845 cap space remaining with 24 players signed.
"It's been on my mind the past few months, but it's nice to finally get it over with," Edmundson said Thursday. "I'm really excited to be back in St. Louis for another year. Looking at our team right now, I think everyone's excited to get back going.
"The second half of the year and the start of summer, I was thinking long-term, but then I saw the trade they made and guys we signed and then my agent said it could be one year and it could work out better for me, so I had no problem signing for one year. We just had to agree on terms on that. It almost went to arbitration. I flew down to Toronto, I was in the hotel, but we came to an agreement started so it was nice, get it over with.
"Arbitration is a last resort. There's very few people that have to go through with it. It's not the funnest process. The way arbitration is, it probably would have been negative. I was just glad to get it over with before I had to go into the meeting."
Edmundson more than tripled his salary in terms of dollars per season after finishing up a two-year, $2.1 million contract, and giving the team some relief now to bank on his future is not diminished in the least.
"Of course. I'm pretty confident in my abilities," Edmundson said. "It gives me another year to be with this team and show management what I can do. It's another year off my restricted years. I think it could help me in the long run, but right now, I'm just looking to get the season started. I like the looks of our team, so I just want to come in there and play my game and whatever happens, happens. I just want to keep the foot on the gas.
"This off-season, I've been doing a lot of stick-handling and edge work. I think that's going to help me out this year and I'm looking forward to it. I definitely think I have more offensive upside to me. It started off well last year but kind of dozed off. I'm hoping to do it for a full season this year."
Edmundson averaged a career-high 20 minutes, 44 seconds last season out of not just necessity because of injuries but because the Blues liked the way he was developing and entrusted him in multiple situations; he will be a key cog moving forward
"I set goals for myself every year, but with the injuries we had, we had 'Bouw' [Jay Bouwmeester] go down, we had 'Gunny' [Carl Gunnarsson] go down, it opened up opportunities and I just ran with it. I was pretty happy with my season. It was unfortunate with some of those injuries, but someone's got to step up. Playing with 'Petro' [Alex Pietrangelo], I looked up to him so I think that's going to help me in the long run.
"A lot of it has to do with confidence and this was my third year in the league. I'm comfortable with all the guys in the dressing room, I'm comfortable with other teams. I'm one of the bigger guys out there. I'm not one of the young guys. I've got to go out there and prove my point every night. I'm in the league for a reason and I just want to keep this going."
The additions of Ryan O'Reilly, David Perron, Patrick Maroon and Tyler Bozak up front has given the Blues plenty of optimism but general manager Doug Armstrong left the defense, which was sixth in the NHL last season in goals-against (222), in tact.
"Us six, seven defensemen, we have a great bond," Edmundson said. "We know each other real well, we're all good friends. I agree with what 'Army' did. I don't think we had to switch anything on the back end. We've been pretty solid the past couple years. Adding these forwards, I think our whole team's good up and down the lineup.
"Last week, I was at Shatty's wedding (former teammate Kevin Shattenkirk) and there were a bunch of the boys there and you could tell everyone's excited to get it going. Those four guys we got, they go to the net pretty hard. From a defensive point of view, we have to get shots on net because we have big bodies that can take care of (the puck). That's what we've been missing the past couple years and it's nice to get these guys. They're all great guys in the dressing room. I knew O'Reilly from World Championships, Patty Maroon has been around St. Louis, everyone knows him, we know Perron already. I haven't really met Bozak yet but I've heard he's a great guy. It's going to help us on the ice and in the dressing room."
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Joel Edmundson set career high's in goals (six) and
points (17) last season, his third in the NHL.
Edmundson's season last year was capped off by a selection to represent Canada at the IIHF World Championship and he had four points (one goal, three assists) in nine games.
A second round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Edmundson has played in 205 regular season games with the Blues and has 41 points (11 goals, 30 assists) along with seven points (four goals, three assists) and in 27 Stanley Cup playoff games and understands why there is optimism in St. Louis today.
"We think we're top five in the NHL right now," Edmundson said. "We want to come into camp and from camp on, we want to be one of the top teams in the league. We were middle of the pack last season, but with the team we have and the confidence we have, we're excited to come to camp with a new team, new look. It's going to be a good year. We're excited and we're looking forward to it."