St. Louis Blues Sign Vince Dunn, Still Hold Contract Power

St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn (29)Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn (29)Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The St. Louis Blues signed their final restricted free agent to a one-year deal. That seems short, but it keeps the team in control.

The St. Louis Blues ended a somewhat long process on the final day of 2020. The Blues have signed Vince Dunn.

Though everything was quiet and not contentious throughout, there was always chatter of why the Blues were dragging their feet. We now know why, which mainly has to do with the Blues adding free agent help from outside and needing to know their salary cap situation.

The Blues could not just throw a long-term deal for a lot more money at Dunn. That would have backed them into a corner and Mike Hoffman would likely not be here.

The terms of the deal might be confusing to some too. Dunn has only signed a one-year contract, with a value of $1.875 million.

More from St Louis Blues News

That seems high, initially, with the worry about keeping the signings under the value of Alex Steen‘s LTIR relief. However, the latest rumors were pointing toward Hoffman’s deal being closer to $4 million rather than the high end of the range, which was $4.5 million. Fans should trust that Armstrong knows what he’s doing as far as making the cap work.

The more interesting thing is the one year. Does that point to the Blues not having faith in Dunn? Not really.

There might be some validity to the team not thinking Dunn has shown enough for a long-term deal yet. However, player and contract control is the real answer to this short deal.

According to CapFriendly, Dunn would remain a restricted free agent in the summer of 2021, giving the Blues the right to match any offers given to him. More importantly, Dunn would still not have arbitration rights.

That gives the Blues almost total control, which they basically had this offseason. As long as the Blues give Dunn an offer sheet next offseason, it’s either play for the Blues or sit out a year. St. Louis has all the power.

So, while initially even I was confused about just a one-year deal, it made sense when I saw the RFA with no arbitration rights.

Dunn might get a little sympathy for his situation. We should not feel too bad for him though, since he’s earning close to $2 million for one season in a time when so many are struggling.

Another potential reason for the one-year contract is the fact the Blues will get Carl Gunnarsson off the books in 2021. We have said that about players in the past, only for them to re-sign a short extension, but I just don’t see a 35-year old Gunny coming back to the Blues when St. Louis has two to three defensive prospects chomping at the bit.

Overall, this is another shrewd move by Armstrong. He held all the cards and played them right.

dark. Next. Tarasenko's disappointment is a mole hill, not a mountain

Now, the Blues have defensive depth and a clearer picture of what their salary situation is. As fans, we can really start focusing on the games instead of offseason things too.