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Blues Sign Jori Lehtera to Two-Year Deal

The St. Louis Blues opened up free agency on Tuesday by signing 26-year-old center Jori Lehtera, their 2008 third-rounder, to a two-year, $5.5 million-dollar deal. Lehtera, a 6-foot-2, 191-pounder from Finland, had been playing in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League for the past four seasons. Over 48 games in 2013-14, Lehtera had 12 goals and 32 assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-14.

Lehtera is viewed as a solid two-way player, and he should provide a physical presence up the middle. Presumably, his signing will allow the Blues to move David Backes or Patrik Berglund to wing full-time, and if the Blues sign free agent Paul Stastny or another premium center, they could move both. With all of this addition at the center position, however, it makes you wonder if the Blues will do whatever it takes to retain center Vladimir Sobotka, who is a restricted free agent and could command significantly more money than he made last year.

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Tags: Jori Lehtera NHL Free Agency St. Louis Blues

  • Dashley R

    I am very excited to see what he will bring to the table as I have read great things. This actually took me by surprise as I assume most of us thought he was going to finish his contract in the KHL which would have lead to the Blues losing his rights. We will see how he adapts to a more physical league in the NHL. I don’t think Sobotka can command as much as you think, but he definitely deserves a pay raise. I’m guessing it will be a 2-4 year deal worth something around 2.5-2.7 million a year. The player I’m worried about retaining is Schwartz. His future contract with the Blues looks like it could be a tricky one to sign in my opinion.