The Blues and forward Patrik Berglund have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension, a move that because of its timing might suggest the Swedish center could be used in a trade.
Berglund's three-year contract — his longest since his entry-level deal in 2008 — is worth $11.1 million for an average annual value of $3.7 million.
Set to become an restricted free agent on Tuesday, and holding some leverage with arbitration rights, Berglund has been at the center of much trade speculation.
The NHL Draft will be held Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia, and it would benefit the Blues to have any negotiating chips under contract. A trading partner could be hesitant to make a deal if there's any uncertainty about being able to re-sign the player.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, who is trying to add a No. 2 center through trade or free agency, was asked recently if Berglund was garnering attention from other NHL teams.
"Yeah, he would have a lot of interest around the league," Armstrong said. "But he has a lot of interest with me, too."
Berglund, 26, recently wrapped up his sixth season with the Blues. He has 106 goals and 220 points in 436 NHL games.
In 2013-14, Berglund had 14 goals, 32 points and was a plus-10 in 78 games. He suffered a shoulder injury in the second-to-last game of the regular season in Dallas, causing him to miss the first two games of the team's first-round playoff series loss to Chicago.
“I don’t think Patrik was over the moon with his season,” Armstrong said recently. “Moving from centering to wing, he never really solidified his spot anywhere on our team. We need more from him and he probably needs more from us.”
Berglund was one of three Blues' RFAs heading into the offseason, including Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz.
Ten days ago, Peter Wallen, Berglund's agent, told the Post-Dispatch in an email that there was "nothing to report yet," and last week Armstrong said he didn't expect any of the Blues' free agents to be re-signed before July 1.
Armstrong has never been in a rush to sign RFAs in the past and it's doubtful that the Blues feared a team would tender Berglund with an offer sheet. But if the Blues are in the midst of making a deal, and Berglund is potentially involved, the timing of the signing makes sense.