Mere moments after posting an article discussing how poorly the St. Louis Blues first day of free agency turned out, Doug Armstrong felt my powerful vibes and got on the phone. He got ahold of one of the best scorers remaining in the free agent class and finally got a deal put together.
The Blues are now the home of former Chicago Blackhawk, Columbus Blues Jacket and Colorado Avalanche winger, Brandon Saad. This addition is likely to be met with some skepticism, but it’s about as good as the team could do within reason.
There have already been claims that the Blues overpaid. That seems a bit odd considering his contract is for five years with an average cap hit of $4.5 million.
Jaden Schwartz just got the same term from Seattle and paid an extra $1 million per season. If we go back the last five seasons, Saad has more goals over that time.
Saad had seasons of 24, 18, 23, 21 and 15 in that span. Schwartz had seasons of 19, 24, 11, 22 and 8.
Point totals are mostly a wash with Schwartz being a little more of a playmaker. Saad has been more durable, playing the majority of games each season whereas Schwartz has been more injury prone.
Ideally, the Blues might have had both players and had great depth. For whatever reason, Schwartz seemed to want out and this was about as good a replacement as the Blues will get.
Saad is not as physical and has not typically played as many minutes. The main question is how he will fit in Craig Berube‘s system, though Joel Quenneville is not one to let players slack, so it can’t be that big a change.
Will Saad’s numbers go up playing a top-six role and more minutes? Or, will he be about the same?
Time will tell.
Overall, this signing is not going to make anyone believe the Blues are closer to another championship, but it’s a smart deal. You get a good term on a player that is 28 and has shown good consistency scoring, without paying too much.
The Blues likely still need another addition, likely via trade, to remain real contenders. This signing at least takes the edge off.