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Blues sign defenseman Niko Mikkola to one-year deal

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Blues 2, Hurricanes 7

Blues defenseman Niko Mikkola, 77, and Carolina center Max Domi square off in a game on March 26, 2022, in St. Louis. 

The Blues on Sunday completed one of their last remaining pieces of business in terms of re-signing their own players. Defenseman Niko Mikkola, who played a career-high 54 games last season — many of them in a top-four role — has signed a one-year, $1.9 million contract.

Mikkola, 26 and a fifth-round draft pick in 2015, was an arbitration-eligible free agent.

Among the organization’s six restricted free agents who received qualifying offers, only Klim Kostin and Nathan Todd remain unsigned. And Todd played exclusively for the Springfield Thunderbirds in the American Hockey League last season.

Additionally, veteran center Tyler Bozak remains an unrestricted free agent, but at this point it doesn’t look as if he fits into the team’s plans for next season.

The signing of Mikkola puts the Blues about $115,000 above the salary cap for the 2022-23 season, according to CapFriendly.com numbers. Teams can be as much as 10% above the salary cap over the summer, until the initial regular-season rosters are set just before opening day.

MacEachern to Carolina

On Friday, former Blue Mackenzie MacEachern signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Carolina Hurricanes as an unrestricted free agent. MacEachern gets $750,000 on the NHL level and $225,000 on the AHL level.

A third-round pick by the Blues in 2012, MacEachern, 28, played in 115 regular-season games over four seasons with St. Louis. His best season was 2019-20, when he played in 51 games and scored seven goals. He spent most of this past season in Springfield, appearing in only 14 games with the Blues.

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