Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Blais agrees to contract extension

Forward gets two-year, $3 million contract through the 2022 
season; could have been restricted free agent at season's end

ST. LOUIS -- Sammy Blais is getting a raise ... again.

The 23-year-old Montmagny, Quebec native has agreed to terms on a new two-year, $3 million extension ($1.5 million average annual value) on Wednesday.
Sammy Blais

Blais could have been a restricted free agent at the end of this season, which has been paused since March 12 because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, after signing a one-year, $850,000 contract on July 1, 2019. It'll be his third NHL contract after initially playing out a three-year, $2.175 million entry-level contract signed on Nov. 13, 2015.

"He's coming as a sixth-round pick and getting to the NHL as quickly as he did is a feather in his cap," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said of Blais. "We see a complete player. He's got a physical edge to him, but he also has good hands in tight and he can make plays. He's a guy that we believe can continue to take a bigger role as we move forward in all aspects of his game." 

Blais, a sixth-round pick (No. 176) in the 2014 NHL Draft, he has 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 83 games over three seasons and three points (one goal, two assists) in 15 playoff games last season to help the Blues win their first Stanley Cup.

Blais has played in just 40 games this season (six goals, seven assists) due to a wrist injust that held him out Nov. 20-Jan. 27. 

He made his playoff debut with the Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference second round against the Dallas Stars and scored in a 4-1 win to help the Blues stave off elimination. He also had a big hit on Boston's Noel Acciari in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final that started the sequence and led to the opening goal scored by Ryan O'Reilly in the clinching 4-1 win.

"That's obviously what he wants and would be great for us," Armstrong said of Blais being a top nine forward. "What allows a player to do that and in young players as they mature, it's consistency, what you see in a player like [David] Perron, [Ryan] O'Reilly, [Brayden] Schenn and [Jaden] Schwartz, [Vladimir] Tarasenko. Their game doesn't vary from night to night much and I think young players have to find that consistency and I think [Zach] Sanford and Blais are working, they're getting better and better. Hopefully in the next year or two, they'll become consistent players where the peaks and valleys are very close to each other." 

With Blais under contract, that leaves the Blues with a trio of restricted free agents, including defenseman Vince Dunn and forwards Mackenzie MacEachern and Jacob de la Rose. Captain Alex Pietrangelo can be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, as well as veteran forward Troy Brouwer and veteran defensemen Marco Scandella and Jay Bouwmeester, but Bouwmeester's career is in all likelihood over after suffering a cardiac episode Feb. 11 in Anaheim. 

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