The St. Louis Blues locked up another key restricted free agent on Friday, agreeing to terms with forward Chris Stewart on a two-year, $8.3 million deal.
The deal will carry an average annual cap hit of $4.15 million. According to CBC’s Tim Wharnsby, Stewart will be paid $4.1 million next year and $4.2 million in 2014-15.
The 25-year-old power forward led St. Louis in scoring last year with 36 points in 48 games, and was slated to kick off the arbitration period with a hearing on July 22.
His last contract, a one-year deal, paid him $3 million.
As mentioned above, Stewart is the latest in a series of St. Louis RFAs to ink this summer.
The procession began with Patrik Berglund, who agreed to a one-year, $3.25 million deal in late June, then continued with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed a four-year, $17 million extension shortly thereafter.
The Blues’ other key RFA is, of course, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Unlike Stewart, the 23-year-old blueliner does not have arbitration rights, so that deal could take a bit longer.
Last week, St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong made a move to clear up some cap space by dealing winger David Perron to Edmonton for Magnus Paajarvi.
Perron was set to make $3.8 million next season while Paajarvi is still a RFA, and has yet to reach a new deal with the Blues — and, after the Stewart signing, the Blues now have roughly $8 million in available cap space for 2013-14.