There is no rest for the weary as far as Doug Armstrong is concerned. For the third day in a row, the St. Louis Blues general manager announced a team signing.
If there is any possible good thing to come out of this pandemic for the St. Louis Blues, they know where they stand from a roster point of view for the next couple seasons. The Blues really only have two or three more fish to fry after announcing another player signing.
The Blues reached terms with Mackenzie MacEachern. He received a two-year contract extension with a modest cap hit of $900,000 per season.
MacEachern was scheduled to become a restricted free agent whenever the offseason came about. The Blues decided to jump on this opportunity to keep him around instead of just going the standard route of a one-year offer sheet.
MacEachern was coming to the end of his entry-level contract, which paid him $750,000 per season. Thus, he gets a slight raise and the Blues have more cost certainty. With the cap situation unknown for the foreseeable future, that kind of guarantee is nothing to turn your nose up to.
MacEachern is still learning the NHL game from a consistency standpoint. He has been featured predominantly in a fourth line “energy” type roll, only playing for about eight minutes per night.
However, he doubled his goals and points from 2018-19 to 2019-20, with seven goals and 10 points before the season was cut off. His physical play is his biggest attribute at this point in his career, grabbing over 80 hits in his 50-plus games played in 2019-20.
Despite featuring quite a bit down the stretch in 2019, MacEachern was a healthy scratch the entire playoffs. The only reason that was somewhat surprising was because of his physicality and the hard-hitting nature of the playoffs.
Still, his presence gives the Blues depth. Even if he continues to only be a sporadic player at the NHL level, it is much better to deal with a player you know, rather than a total unknown.
MacEachern is still young enough and possesses enough skill to eventually be a third line player. If nothing else, he is a good spark plug.
The only difficult thing with this contract, though it is to be expected, is it is a one-way deal. That means MacEachern gets $900K whether he is in the NHL or AHL. It also means the Blues would have to put him through waivers if they need to send him to the AHL.
The only reason that is concerning is you would like to have the carrot of the NHL still in front of Klim Kostin. Roster spots are becoming hard to come by at this rate and MacEachern might not clear waivers.
All that is to be decided during the training camp before 2020-21, assuming we have one. For now, it’s a fair deal for all involved.