The St. Louis Blues have gotten their most important player back in the fold signing restricted free agent defenseman Erik Johnson to a two-year deal worth $5.2 million. Johnson was the number one overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft and lynchpin along the blue line. In two seasons, Johnson has 15 goals and 57 assists. He missed all of the 2008-2009 season with a knee injury.
What’s a bit interesting about the deal is that the cap hit is so friendly ($2.6 million) and that it’s just for two years. Johnson is 22 years-old so he’ll be a restricted free agent again at the end of this deal, but why not sign him to a longer contract? He’s a very good defenseman, he’s a career Blue for the time being and the team really likes him. Oh, right, there’s that whole possible labor problem coming in two years.
I’m not saying that that was a factor here for either side, but it works out nicely for the Blues that Johnson would still be an RFA when this deal runs out so they don’t run the risk of losing him when the contract ends. That way if there is a labor stoppage of any kind, they also don’t have to worry about the player getting disgruntled over losing money on a contract that extends past that possible disruption year. It’s nice having storm clouds looming on the horizon.
The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.
The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.
Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.
The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.
He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.
The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.
The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.
The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.