ST. LOUIS — The Blues announced a three-year contract extension for forward Patrik Berglund.
The Post-Dispatch, and other media outlets, have reported the deal is for a total of $11.1 million, an average annual value of $3.7 million after making $3.25 million this past season.
Now the question is whether the 26-year-old from Sweden will be a member of the Blues this upcoming season or, with the NHL Draft looming on Friday night, this was a precursor to a potential trade.
Berglund accounted for just 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) in 78 games this past season, which ranked 11th on the Blues and eighth among St. Louis’ forwards. His plus-minus rating of plus-10 ranked 11th.
His 0.41 points-per-game average was the second lowest of his six-year career, besting only the 0.37 points per game he recorded during his second season in 2009-10 when he had 26 points in 71 games. His 14 goals were also the second lowest for a single season in his career, behind only the 13 he scored in 2009-10.
It was a strange season offensively for Berglund, who won a silver medal with Sweden at the Winter Olympics, because he was coming off a campaign where he was second on the Blues in goals behind Chris Stewart during the abbreviated 48-game regular season in 2012-13, but failed to find the net more consistently in 2013-14.
How Berglund fits into the Blues’ long-term plans is difficult to decipher.
When Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was asked at his season-ending press conference, following the first-round loss to the Blackhawks, if the team viewed second-line center as a position of need this offseason, Berglund’s name was one of the first he mentioned.
"I think we have to see where Berglund’s going to get to," Armstrong said. "He’s one player that I think played with a dislocated shoulder (late in the season). He dislocated it in Dallas. Probably a three-week injury and he came back in a week. He wasn’t the player that he normally is. I think he can potentially grab some of those minutes.
"(Vladimir) Sobotka’s the guy that you always push out that always pushes his way back in. That’s what I’m talking about with Paajarvi and all these other guys. Here’s a guy that just comes and says, ‘Where’s the competition? Alright, I’ll take it.’ When we traded for him, did we think he was going to be a second-line center? Is (Jaden) Schwartz, (Vladimir) Sobotka, (Vladimir) Tarasenko one of our two best lines on a nightly basis? Yes. Maybe that’s just where he fits in."
Berglund, who has 220 points in 436 career NHL games, was one of three restricted free agents for the Blues going into this offseason, along with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka. The timing of this deal, on the eve of the draft, could signal that he may not be a St. Louis Blue for much longer.
The Blues have been linked to other candidates for that No. 2 center spot.
Veteran center Jason Spezza wants out of Ottawa and the Blues (and Ducks) figure to be two potential landing spots in the Western Conference. The Blues have also expressed interest in unrestricted free agent center Paul Stastny, a St. Louis native who could still resign with Colorado.