ST. LOUIS – It’s time that time of year again for the free-agent frenzy. The National Hockey League officially opens the market for unrestricted free agents on Wednesday.
The St. Louis Blues will be tasked with some tough decisions with up to nine players in their system who could test free agency, most notably 15-year veteran forward David Perron.
Unless the Blues agree to new deals soon, the following players will be free agents by 11 a.m. CT Wednesday:
- David Perron
- Nick Leddy
- Tyler Bozak
- Charlie Lindgren
- MacKenzie MacEachern
- James Neal
- Sam Anas
- Tanner Kaspick
- Tommy Cross
Perron, who just finished his 11th season over three stints with the Blues, would be a notable loss if he signs elsewhere. The 34-year-old scored a career-high 27 goals this past season and has produced at nearly a point-per-game clip over the last three seasons. Add in his pivotal role in the 2019 Stanley Cup championship, a major payday seems to be on the way.
A report first surfaced Monday that Perron might be difficult for the Blues to retain under salary cap restrictions. According to Jeremy Rutherford, Blues beat writer for The Athletic, Perron seeks a deal of at least three years with an annual $7 million price tag. If he were to return to the Blues on such a clip, the Blues might need to sacrifice roster flexibility elsewhere. St. Louis only has around only $9 million more to spend on players for next season due to a flat salary cap.
Leddy proved to be steady after the Blues acquired him in a deadline deal last year, scoring eight points in 20 games and logging around 21 minutes of ice time per game. He could be a coveted piece by a Blues team seeking help on the left side of the defense for the last several years. Bally Sports Midwest reporter Andy Strickland reports the Blues and Leddy have talked about a new contract, but its unclear where he may end up for the next season.
Lindgren grew on fans in limited action last season, winning five straight games he played with a .958 save percentage and a 1.22 goals-against average in absence of the Jordan Binnington-Ville Husso tandem. He was also a catalyst to the Springfield Thunderbirds’ Calder Cup title bid. Lindgren would be a logical choice to slide behind Binnington as a backup after the Blues traded Husso, but Strickland reports he too could test the free agent market.
Others with NHL experience from this past season, including Bozak, Neal and MacEachern, have not yet reached new deals with the Blues. As unrestricted free agents, the players above can sign with any NHL team without the Blues receiving any compensation for their decision.
NHL Free Agency is known to be one of the fastest-moving among professional sports for transactions in the first week, sometimes even the first eligible day. So it wouldn’t be surprising if the Blues or other teams make final decisions for these players Wednesday. For a look at upcoming NHL free agents, click here.