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free agency

David Perron returns to Blues on two-year contract

St. Louis also extends goalie Allen, signs Hutton

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues brought back a familiar name, forward David Perron, who signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract Friday. They also shored up their goaltending, signing Jake Allen to a four-year, $17.4 million contract extension and Carter Hutton to a two-year, $2.25 million contract.

Perron, 28, was chosen by the Blues with the 26th pick of the 2007 NHL Draft, and scored 84 goals with 114 assists in his first six NHL seasons in St. Louis. He returns to the Blues after playing for the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Ducks.

"Ever since the day that I got traded from St. Louis, I kind of always felt something in wanting to eventually [return] ... and I didn't know the possibility would ever be there, but St. Louis is home to me," Perron said. "Being drafted there, grew up there a lot as a player and as a person.

"They called right away as soon as the [free agency] window opened."

Tweet from @DP_57: Finally coming home! Missed you guys dearly! Cannot wait to see all of you again! Back to my 1st love @StLouisBlues

Perron, who has 141 goals in 570 NHL games, was traded to the Oilers on July 10, 2013 because of salary-cap restraints, for left wing Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, which the Blues used to select Ivan Barbashev. Perron scored 28 goals with the Oilers in 2013-14, but he's been traded near midseason in each of the past two seasons; from Edmonton to Pittsburgh on Jan. 2, 2015, and from Pittsburgh to Anaheim on Jan. 16, 2016. Each time he's gotten off to a good start before being slowed by inconsistency or injury.

Perron had 20 points in 28 games after the Ducks acquired him in a trade for forward Carl Hagelin before a separated shoulder forced him to miss the last three weeks of the regular season. Perron returned for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had one goal and two assists in Anaheim's seven-game loss to the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference First Round.

"Like all players, David's matured," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He was part of that young group that was thrust onto the scene, maybe a little bit before they were ready. They were asked to do a lot of the heavy lifting at an early age. Now, he's coming back as a much more mature player on and off the ice. I think we'll be the benefactors of that."

Allen, who turns 26 Aug. 7, had one year remaining on a two-year, $4.7 million contract he signed before last season. He set NHL career highs in games (47), wins (26) and save percentage (.920) last season, helping St. Louis reach the Western Conference Final before losing to the San Jose Sharks in six games.

"It's a great feeling for me," Allen said. "I'm extremely happy. To be able to be drafted as a Blue and to be able to wear the Blue Note for a long time is a pretty great feeling."

Allen will be the Blues starter this season. St. Louis traded goalie Brian Elliott, who split time with Allen last season, to the Calgary Flames on June 2 for a second-round pick (No. 35) in the 2016 NHL Draft. Allen has won 57 of his 99 NHL games, and has a .915 save percentage and 2.34 goals-against average.

"When you get that call from management, and they tell you, 'This is what we want,' it's a pretty good feeling on my part," Allen said. "The agents do their thing with Doug and move to common ground. I felt it was a good deal for both of us. I think they're real happy and so am I."

The trade of Elliott expedited the process of signing Allen long-term, which is something Armstrong wanted done quickly.

"Everybody was feeling it's Jake's team now, it's Jake's turn, and it made it easier," Armstrong said. "We really feel that Jake is going to be a real good player and he wants the ball and he's got it now. You're sort of seeing this with other organizations, too, that are looking to the younger goalies to grab hold of it. We're no different."

Hutton, 30, spent the past three seasons in Nashville. He was 7-5-4 with a 2.33 GAA, .918 save percentage and two shutouts in 17 games (15 starts) last season.

"We put a list of goaltenders out there and [Hutton] was at the top of our list," Armstrong said. "It was he and one other guy who were sort of 1 and 1A. He got in there a couple years ago when [Pekka] Rinne got hurt and had a really good run with Nashville. We know people that play in Nashville and we talked to them about him.

"[He's] a lot like Brian Elliott, a great teammate, someone that is looking to push Jake but also understands that he's a mentor and a solid partner. There's a lot of positives with bringing him in. It just seems like the proper guy that has the experience that Jake can lean on."

St. Louis lost veteran forwards David Backes and Troy Brouwer. Backes, the Blues captain since 2011, signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Boston Bruins. Brouwer, who spent one season with the Blues after being acquired from the Washington Capitals in a trade for T.J. Oshie, signed with the Flames for four years and $18 million.

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