Oshie, Perron "bridged" their way to long-term deals

The Sports Xchange

--The Blues signed T.J. Oshie and David Perron to long-term deals after the two forwards proved their worth during "bridge contracts" -- the contract between their entry-level contract and a long-term solution. Oshie's bridge deal was a one-year, $2.35 million contract last year, when he responded with a career-high 54 points, sharing the team lead. Perron accepted a two-year bridge contract, and while he was out for much of that time with a concussion, he returned and posted 42 points in 57 games.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong believes that the bridge contracts were successful for the team.

"Each case is separate and you have to look at them individually," Armstrong said. For "(Steve) Stamkos and (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeny) Malkin, the bridge contract is not necessary. But I think for a lot of players coming out of their entry-level deal, there's another layer that they need to add to their game before they really define what they are. If you can do a shorter-term contract in those instances, you get more information."

--Former Blues head coach Davis Payne, who was replaced last November by Ken Hitchcock, has returned to the bench as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings.

Payne, 41, was 67-55-15 in parts of three seasons with the Blues, his first head coaching job in the NHL. The team was 6-7 when Payne was re-assigned within the organization and replaced by Hitchcock, who guided the Blues into the playoffs and went on to win the league's coach of the year award. Payne will resurface with the reigning Stanley Cup champions, joining Darryl Sutter's staff.

"Davis was clearly the guy at the top of our list," Sutter said in a statement. "We wanted somebody with NHL head coaching experience and preferably a younger guy who communicates well with players and fits in well with our staff. We're excited about having him."

"Ninety percent of the players went to the destination that they felt comfortable with from a living standpoint, and you can't blame players for that. That's what was really intriguing. It's like the lifestyle seems to matter a lot right now." -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock on free agent players such as Jason Garrison (Vancouver), Ryan Suter (Minnesota) and Zach Parise (Minnesota) signing with teams to be closer to their hometown or family.

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