Monday, July 8, 2019

Sanford avoids arbitration, signs two-year contract

One of four players who was arbitration-eligible will make $1.5 million annually

ST. LOUIS -- Chop another restricted free agent off Blues general manager Doug Armstrong's to-sign list this summer.

Zach Sanford
And in the process of signing restricted free agent Zach Sanford to a two-year, one-way contract worth $1.5 million per season, the Blues also eliminate 25 percent of their remaining players that filed for arbitration.

Sanford became the second RFA to sign after Sammy Blais signed a one-year, one-way contract for $850,000 on July 1.

Sanford, who is coming off a three-year entry-level contract that paid him $875,000 annually, was eligible for arbitration and filed by last Friday's 4 p.m. (CT) deadline along with Jordan Binnington, Joel Edmundson and Oskar Sundqvist.

Sanford scored his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal in Game 7 of the Cup Final against the Boston Bruins and was a huge piece to the series when he entered it in Game 3 after Sundqvist's suspension.

The 24-year-old Salem, Mass. native played in 60 regular-season games last season and had 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) and was a plus-8; he also played the first four playoff games against the Winnipeg Jets in the first round before returning in Game 3 against the Bruins. Sanford finished the playoffs with a goal and three assists and was a plus-4.

With Sanford's signing, that leaves arbitration-eligible Binnington, Edmundson and Sundqvist along with forwards Robby Fabbri and Ivan Barbashev, who were not arbitration-eligible, of the RFA's remaining to sign.

The Blues are listed on to have roughly $12.4 in cap space available to sign those players, but that's including Jordan Schmaltz, Derrick Pouliot and Mackenzie MacEachern's salaries on the main roster that will likely eliminate and add $2.15 million onto the remaining $12.4 million to sign those players.

And there's still unrestricted free agent forward Pat Maroon, who remains unsigned and has not been ruled out for a return to the Blues, who have very little wiggle room to get all these players signed and figuring out a way to get Maroon back in the fold will be tough if not impossible.

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