The Blues announced that they have signed defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to a three-year contract extension. The deal is for $8.7 million, and shores up the left hand side of the Blues defense with a fairly serviceable player.
Some fans are somewhere between "meh" and "displeased" with this deal; Gunnarsson began the season with a rough start but has evened out as of late.The contract is also a pay cut, according to NHLNumbers.com. Gunnarsson is getting paid $3.45 million this season; for the next three he'll be getting $2.9.
Granted, the Blues are right up against the cap, and nearly three million a year for Gunnarsson sounds steep - factor in the pending issue with Kevin Shattenkirk and it sounds even worse. However, there are a few things to take into consideration: one, Army signed him to a pay cut, which is progress. Two, the Blues need a top four left-handed defenseman. Is Joel Edmundson one of those? Is Petteri Lindbohlm? If the Blues were to acquire one on the free agent market this summer, they probably wouldn't get one for just $2.9 million a season.
Instead of hurting the Shatty situation and the team, this potentially plugs a hole and allows for more cap space with which to sign him.
The Blues have notable, large contracts coming off of the books at the end of this year. David Backes, who is looking for a raise, is a pending UFA. Steve Ott and his albatross contract is a pending UFA. Troy Brouwer and his $3.75 million a season contract is a UFA. Depending on who Armstrong decides to extend, and who he decides to let walk (one would assume pending UFA Scottie Upshall stays as a cheaper alternative to Ott) is what dictates Shattenkirk's future.
And hey, at least Doug Armstrong didn't appear to throw in a NTC with Gunnarsson's deal.
EDIT: Never mind.
No trade clause for Carl Gunnarsson #blues— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) March 12, 2016