The Blues have signed Maxim Lapierre to a two-year, $2.2 million contract. The average hit against the salary cap is $1.1 million (math is fun!), but the center will earn $1 million in 2013-14 and $1.2 million in 2014-15, per Bob McKenzie.
The Blues have been in desperate need for help down the middle of the ice. They've addressed that need – to an extent – by signing Lapierre and Keith Aucoin on the first day of free agency. Will this be enough? Will the Blues' backup plan after failing to sign any of the other centers on the market pan out?
Well, the Blues should have quite a battle for who gets to play center on the team's third line.
The hunt for a true #1 center goes on. As other teams shelled out big money for the top available centers, the Blues were left on the outside looking in. The Blues apparently made competitive offers for both Stephen Weiss and Valtteri Filppula, but the two free agents opted to go elsewhere.
Lapierre is another nice signing. He's cheap and provides depth, but he's not going to solve any of the team's most pressing issues. In his last 130 games, the center has just 29 points. Considering the Blues are in great need of a center capable of setting up and burying scoring chances, it's a bit puzzling that the team would sign yet another forward who can be described as a checking forward on either the third or fourth line.
Fans will be frustrated the Blues didn't shell out $5 million or more a year to secure a more prominent name at center. That's a fair reaction, but it's important to remember that the Blues aren't in a position to overpay an average skater. Let another team take care of that and find your help elsewhere, like a trade.