ST. LOUIS -- Needing some cap relief and wanting to give a veteran player ice time, the St. Louis Blues traded veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blues acquired a 2016 fifth-round pick from the Blue Jackets for the rights to Leopold, who played in seven games this season. With the return of Carl Gunnarsson from a hip injury and the steady play of Barret Jackman and Ian Cole, Leopold, 34, was a healthy scratch for seven straight games and eight of the past nine. St. Louis accommodated Leopold by dealing him to a Columbus team that's been decimated by injuries and where he will step right in and play.
The Blues, who host the Washington Capitals on Saturday, have recalled defenseman Chris Butler from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.
The Blues will retain $500,000 pro-rated of Leopold's $2.25 million salary that's in the final year of a two-year, $4.5 million contract.
"In the situation that we're in right now and where Jordan is, he wants to obviously continue to play and as a seventh defenseman, his ice time was going to be predicated on injuries and I think it's a difficult time obviously for Jordan to be moving, but I think it's going to help him get back on the ice on a regular basis in Columbus," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "It's going to also relieve some cap space moving forward.
"We've kept $500,000 pro-rated in the salary. ... What it's going to do is create $1.1 million pro-rated cap space for us moving forward and that obviously grows as you get closer to the deadline. We've been very close to the salary cap this year and this creates a little more room for us moving forward if we want to try and do some other things to improve our team from this day forward. Our cap space is a little greater."