Scott Perunovich agreed to terms on a two-year, entry-level contract with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday that will begin next season.
The 21-year-old defenseman is ineligible to take part in training camp, which opened Monday. The Blues will play the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to help determine the top four seeds from the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"[Scott] is going to sign his contract starting in [2020-21]," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "Under the transition rules or rules allowing players to play, he was not going to be able to participate this year. He was in town and doing some work. He's back in [Minnesota] now and won't be here for Phase 3 as he prepares to get ready for the main camp next season."
Perunovich (5-foot-9, 172 pounds) won the Hobey Baker Award this season, given to the player voted the best in NCAA men's ice hockey. Perunovich led the National Collegiate Hockey Conference with 40 points (six goals, 34 assists) and was named NCHC Player of the Year.
"He's a puck-moving player. He plays with his head," Armstrong told the Athletic in April. "He's a plus-skater with great vision and patience. He can dictate the pace of the game with his head and his feet."
Perunovich was selected by the Blues in the second round (No. 45) of the 2018 NHL Draft after helping Minnesota Duluth win the NCAA Division I championship and being named the Tim Taylor Award winner as the top collegiate first-year player.
Minnesota Duluth also won the NCAA championship in 2019. Its attempt to become the second team to win three straight championships (University of Michigan, 1951-53) was halted when the NCAA canceled the remainder of its season March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
"The thing I'll miss the most is just going to the rink and kind of being with your friends for three years," Perunovich said after he won the Hobey Baker Award in April. "All these great players that you play with and memories that you make that will last a lifetime. Just the memories that I made."