The St. Louis Blues are bringing back unrestricted free agent Steve Ott on a two-year deal worth a reported $5.2 million. The veteran center joined the team last season as part of the blockbuster trade that also brought goaltender Ryan Miller to St. Louis from the Buffalo Sabres.
Ott posted just three assists in the 23 games after the trade to St. Louis and nothced two assists in six playoff games. He's best known for his agitating style, penchant for pugilism and for being rather good at the faceoff dot. He won nearly 54 percent of his 423 draws last season.
Over the course of 82 games last year between the Sabres and Blues, Ott notched 23 points, 92 penalty minutes and was credited with 254 hits.
Ott is taking a slight pay cut, with his salary's annual average dropping from $2.95 million to $2.6 million for the next two seasons.
With the Blues having acquired Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera on July 1, Ott is destined for a role as the club's fourth line center. That makes his salary a bit expensive for the role he's going to play, but St. Louis appears as though it will be strong down the middle.
If Lehtera, who is joining the team after a successful run in the European pros, struggles to make the jump, Ott could possibly slot into a third-line role, but he's probably best at this point as a faceoff specialist, while drawing low-leverage minutes.
The 31-year-old is a veteran of 696 NHL games, which includes with the Blues, Sabres and Dallas Stars. He has 267 points and 1,355 penalty minutes. In 40 career playoff contests, Ott has seven points.