It seems like it’s been a while since a major signing has happened, but the St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers have done admirably to fill holes in their lineup with some depth signings.
The Blues announced early Friday morning that they have signed Kyle Brodziak to a one-year contract worth a reported $900,000.
For the past six seasons, Brodziak has played a checking line role with the Minnesota Wild, but he takes a significant pay cut to head to St. Louis. This past season, Brodziak earned $3 million with the Wild and was on a contract that carried a cap hit of more than $2.8 million.
What helped the Blues land Brodziak, who is three seasons removed from a 22-goal, 44-point campaign, for so cheap is that his production has slipped significantly since his career-year in 2011-12. In his first three seasons in Minnesota, Brodziak registered seasons of 32, 37 and 44 points, but under his previous contract – the three-year, $8.5 million deal he was on before coming over to the Blues – he only scored more than 20 points in one season and failed to break the 10-goal plateau. This past season, Brodziak even saw his ice time slip to 13:02 per game.
However, on a one-year, show-me deal like the one he has signed with the Blues, there’s no telling if Brodziak can use it to spark a bit of an offensive outburst. He could be a quality third- or fourth-line signing if he produces like he has over the past three seasons, and with the upside that he could notch close to 30 points, $900,000 could seem like a pittance by season’s end.
With Brodziak under contract, the Blues now have nearly $62.5 million tied up in salary for the 2015-16 campaign with a new contract due to budding star sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.
As for the Flyers, their deal with Jason LaBarbera is a one-year deal that gives Philadelphia some insurance in goal. While financial terms of the contract have yet to be disclosed, LaBarbera has earned somewhere in the range of $750,000 to $1.25 million over his past six seasons in the NHL.
In 2014-15, LaBarbera appeared in five games for the Anaheim Ducks and had a 2-0-1 record with .909 save percentage and 2.61 goals-against average. The 11-year veteran has spent time with Edmonton, Phoenix, Vancouver, Los Angeles and the New York Rangers, but has only played 187 NHL games over his career. His heaviest workload came in 2007-08 with the Kings, when LaBarbera posted a record of 17-23-2 with a .910 SP and 3.00 GAA.
For the most part, LaBarbera will serve as a third-string netminder, but could be brought up to the NHL should anything happen to the oft-injured Steve Mason or the freshly signed Michal Neuvirth. This past season, Mason missed 18 games to injury, which forced the Flyers to suit up 33-year-old Rob Zepp for his first career NHL contests. The signing of Neuvirth and LaBarbera likely means Ray Emery's time in Philadelphia is up.