Blues sign Saad to 5-year, $22.5 million deal

NHL

The St. Louis Blues have signed free-agent winger Brandon Saad of the rival Colorado Avalanche.

Saad, 28, agreed to a five-year contract worth $22.5 million, for a $4.5 million cap hit.

He had 15 goals and 9 assists in 24 games last season, in his only season with the Avalanche. He has 371 points in 632 games in a 10-year career that featured two stints with the Chicago Blackhawks, one with the Columbus Blue Jackets and then the Avalanche.

Saad ostensibly replaces Jaden Schwartz on left wing for the Blues, as the 29-year-old left to sign a five-year, $27.5-million free-agent contract with the expansion Seattle Kraken. He joins another new winger in Pavel Buchnevich, whom the Blues acquired from the New York Rangers and signed to a four-year, $23.2-million deal.

The move leaves the Blues with just over $8.5 million in salary cap space with restricted free agent forwards Ivan Barbashev, Zach Sanford, Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas needing contracts. The Blues have been actively seeking to move star winger Vladimir Tarasenko after he requested a trade. He has two years left on his contract with a $7.5 million cap hit.

Saad has been involved in three trades based on contract concerns. Thinking they couldn’t afford him in 2015, the Blackhawks dealt him to Columbus where he signed his current six-year, $36 million deal. In 2017, when the Blackhawks thought they couldn’t afford Artemi Panarin, Saad went back to Chicago in that trade. And then with only a year left on his deal, the Hawks shipped him to Colorado.

The Avalanche didn’t have enough cap space left over to sign Saad after giving new contracts to forward Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Cale Makar.

The New Jersey Devils were among the teams in talks with Saad.

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