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St. Louis Blues buy out the final year of defenceman Jay McKee's contract @NHLdotcom

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues are cutting ties with Jay McKee, buying out the final year of the defenceman's contract.

The 31-year-old McKee signed a four-year, US$16-million free agent contract in 2006 and was due US$4 million for next season. The Blues are responsible for two-thirds (US$2.64 million) of McKee's salary, which will be spread out the next two seasons.

McKee, known for his shot-blocking ability, played in 158 games during an injury-marred tenure in St. Louis. He had three goals and 14 assists in three seasons.

"It's not something I expected, especially after my most productive season in St. Louis," said McKee, who will become a free agent. "I understand they had a decision to make and I was one of them."

Later Monday, the Blues announced they had re-signed defenceman Mike Weaver and forward Brad Winchester to US$800,000, one-year deals.

"Mike stepped up and had a great year on defence this season and was a key contributor on the penalty kill (which finished third in the league)," said Blues president John Davidson. "Brad had a career season and played a key role for our club by providing scoring and muscle up front."

Weaver, 31, had seven assists in 58 games for the Blues, while Winchester, 28, scored 13 goals and added eight assists over 64 games.

Winchester has 18 goals, 16 assists in 183 regular season games with the Blues, Edmonton and Dallas.

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