Welcome to Last Word on Hockey’s 2022 summer series, exploring the best and worst free agent signings for each NHL team of the post-lockout, salary cap era. With this past offseason seeing some big splashes (and potential gambles) like Johnny Gaudreau, Claude Giroux, John Klingberg, and others, it’s time to take a look at how teams have boosted and stunted their progress in recent history. Today, we take a look at the St. Louis Blues free agent signings history.
St Louis Blues Free Agent Hits and Misses
Best Signing: David Perron
— theScore (@theScore) July 1, 2018
Just for clarification purposes, this would be the second time Perron signed with the Blues and his third stint with the team. Perron and the Blues have quite a relationship. The Blues drafted him 26th overall in 2007. Perron played six seasons with St. Louis before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. Perron was in exile from the Blues for five years making stops in Pittsburgh and Anaheim after leaving Edmonton. The Blues brought Perron back as a free agent in 2016-17 marking his second sting with the team. It only lasted one year as Perron was left unprotected in the 2017 expansion draft and was selected by the Golden Knights.
Finally, we arrive at the Blues signing Perron to a four-year $16 million dollar contract in the summer of 2018. This was the best of the St. Louis Blues free agent signings. In the first season of his contract, Perron was only able to play in 56 games due to injury. Still, he scored 23 goals and 46 points. Even more importantly, he was a key piece for the Blues in the playoffs. He scored seven goals and 16 points in 26 playoff games en route to the Blues first-ever Stanley Cup win. Perron memorably (controversially) scored the game-five game-winner in the third period.
In the following three seasons, Perron would score 71 goals and 175 points in 194 games. He also continued to perform for the Blues in the playoffs. In the 2020 playoffs, Perron scored four goals and nine points in nine games. Then in the 2022 post-season, he scored nine goals and 13 points in 12 games. He gave the Blues exactly what they wanted from him, excellent secondary scoring. Perron has since signed with the Detroit Red Wings during this off-season ending this last go around with the Blues.
Honourable Mention: Brian Elliott
The Blue took a flyer on Brian Elliott in 2011 to the tune of one year $600,000. Elliott was looking to re-discover his game after a disastrous (short) stay in Colorado. Originally signed as a pure backup, Elliott, along with Jaroslav Halak, would form a formidable goaltending duo for the Blues. Elliott would post a sparkling 23-10-4 record with a 1.96 GAA, a .940 save percentage and nine shutouts. He was also chosen to play in the All-Star game in 2011-12. Not a bad investment for the Blues. Elliott worked out so well, that the Blues extended him for two more years. In all Elliott would play four seasons in St. Louis. Sometimes it’s the small signings that have the biggest impact.
Worst Signing: Jay McKee
The Blues signing of Jay McKee was a questionable one right from the jump. The long-time Sabres defenceman was expected to re-sign with Buffalo before the Blues swooped in. The Blue offered McKee a four-year $16 million dollar contract in 2006. It was a contract McKee could not refuse because it was well above market value.
The stay-at-home defenceman was supposed to help the rebuilding Blues get back to their winning ways. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. In his first season, McKee only played in 23 games due to multiple injuries. While never a point-producing defenceman McKee never cracked 10 points during his time in St. Louis.
It was an unfortunate situation for McKee who had the impossible task of trying to live up to his contract. His game was never going to make fans think he was worth the money. Inevitably the Blues ended up buying out the final year of McKee’s contract. The inexplicable decision to give a player like Jay McKee such a large contract is what makes this the worst of all the St. Louis Blues free agent signings.
Honourable Mention: Paul Stastny
Paul Stastny had carved out an impressive start to his career with the Colorado Avalance. In his first eight seasons, Stastny scored 160 goals and 458 points in 538 games. The Blues surprisingly signed Stastny to a four-year $28 million dollar contract in 2014. The idea was for Stastny to be one of the Blues top two centers to help them compete in the Western Conference.
Unfortunately, Stastny had injury issues during his time in St. Louis. He also struggled to produce to the same level as he did in Colorado. Stastny never cracked 20 goals or 50 points in any season with the Blues. He struggled to maintain his spot on one of the Blues top two lines. He was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in the final year of his contract. The Blues signed Stastny to help push them to a new level but he was never able to reproduce the ability he showed during his time in Colorado. The signing ended up being a disaster for the Blues.
With a 1st period goal tonight against the Canucks, Blues RW David Perron now has 14 goals in his last 13 games dating back to Feb. 27.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 29, 2022