After he took the 2013-14 season to play in Europe and try to develop his skills, 24-year-old Phil McRae returned to the Blues organization on a one-year, two-way contract. It was the lower-profile signing of a former Blues player’s son who grew up in St. Louis and went to an area Catholic high school, as McRae, who attended CBC and is the son of former Blue Basil McRae, was outshined by the signing of center Paul Stastny, the son of Peter Stastny and a former attendee of Chaminade College Prep.
Last year with the Espoo Blues of Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, McRae scored eight goals and notched 12 assists over 45 games. He also had three goals and an assist in seven playoff contests. McRae, who was selected by the Blues in the second round of the 2008 draft, played 15 games in the NHL during the 2010-2011 season, picking up a goal and two assists but registering a disastrous minus-10 plus-minus rating.
The Blues were surprised by his decision to leave the organization last year, as they viewed him as a guy who could possibly be an injury replacement during the season and see NHL time. They’ve now significantly lessened their need at the center position with the signings of Stastny and Jori Lehtera, but perhaps McRae could still end up being one of the first guys that they call on if injury should occur this year.