Thursday, April 16, 2020

Blues, Scandella agree to terms on four-year, $13.1 million contract

Defenseman will average $3.275 million per season, was 
acquired in February from Canadiens for pair of draft picks

ST. LOUIS -- Marco Scandella's small sample size was enough for the Blues to make the defenseman a part of their immediate future.

The 30-year-old agreed to a four-year, $13.1 million contract on Thursday, with an average annual value of $3.275 million.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Defenseman Marco Scandella (right) will remain in St. Louis for the next
four seasons after agreeing to terms on a $13.1 million contract Thursday. 

The Blues acquired Scandella from the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 18 for a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2021 fourth-round pick that now goes to the Canadiens because one of the two stipulations was that Montreal gets the conditional pick if A) the Blues resigned Scandella before Oct. 7, 2020 or B) if the Blues win two playoff rounds and he played in at least half of them. Without the signing, the second scenario would be up in the air now that the league has been paused since March 12 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Scandella was acquired when the Blues lost defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a cardiac episode Feb. 11 at Anaheim, an incident that shut the veteran's season down and in all likelihood, his NHL career.

Scandella had played in 11 games with the Blues and had one assist and was a plus-4. He has become a perfect partner to pair up in Bouwmeeser's slot alongside Colton Parayko.

"He played very well with Colton Parayko, but above and beyond that, he's the style of player that we've had success with in the past," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said of Scandella. "He's a rangy player, he's got a really good stick down low, can kill plays, strong skater, good first-pass player, good complement to our younger players like [Scott] Perunovich and [Vince] Dunn, a different style of player, so your group of six has to have different elements and he brings an element that we see being helpful for us moving forward.

"We've followed him closely over the last couple years and our pro scouting staff, led by Robby DiMaio, did a good job of staying on top of him. ... Our team is relatively easy to play for as a left shot when you've got [Alex] Pietrangelo, Parayko and [Justin] Faulk or [Robert] Bortuzzo. He's going to get a good matchup and he just found a home here with Parayko quickly."

Parayko has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 11 games since playing alongside the more defensive-minded Scandella; he had 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 53 games prior to Scandella arriving.

"I think Colton's game defines itself," Armstrong said. "He's a dynamic skater and the points were coming as they did in different times during the year. Our desire for those guys is to be a shutdown pair. They play against other teams' best players and that's their role, but the 15 points he put up in his last 18 games is something we believe he can do. I think he'll continue to do that in his career."

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound played in 51 games for the Canadiens (20) and Buffalo Sabres (31) this season and had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) and was a plus-10; he was traded by the Sabres to Montreal on Jan. 2 for a 2020 fourth-round pick. 

Scandella's cap hit on his contract this season, the last of a five-year, $20 million contract signed Nov. 29, 2014 with the Minnesota Wild, is for $4 million, and the Canadiens retained half of it when the trade to the Blues was completed.

Signing Scandella means he basically replaces Bouwmeester's salary of $3.25 million and gives the Blues a veteran replacement for the 17-year veteran, who hasn't made his plans beyond this season known but with a near-death experience on the Blues' bench on that frightening night in Anaheim, it's extremely unlikely Bouwmeester will be able to continue his career.

The Blues also have to address the contracts of restricted free agents, defenseman Vince Dunn and forwards Mackenzie MacEachern and Jacob de la Rose, as well as the big kahuna, captain Alex Pietrangelo, who is slated to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Signing Scandella doesn't signal that the Blues will move on from Pietrangelo. He merely is a replacement for a player who likely won't be back in Bouwmeester.

"They're different aspects," Armstrong said of Scandella's signing in regards to Pietrangelo. "We need to have a good, strong team and we need to have different components. To have that, with Bouwmeester going out, that type of player was needed among our group immediately and we felt it was going to be needed moving forward.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Marco Scandella (6) celebrates a 4-3 shootout win over Dallas on Feb. 29 
with with Jake Allen (middle) and Brayden Schenn (10). 

"I haven't talked to [Bouwmeester] in a while. As he said in his press conference, he was not going to play the rest of this year and I've left it at that and he and I will talk once we get back up and running here, but that won't be for a while."

Scandella was originally drafted by the Wild in the second round of the 2008 NHL Draft; he's played in 580 regular-season games in 10 seasons and has 137 points (42 goals, 95 assists). He's played in 39 postseason games and had nine points (six goals, three assists).

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