St. Louis Blues sign free-agent winger Brandon Saad to five-year, $22.5 million deal

The St. Louis Blues have signed free-agent winger Brandon Saad of the rival Colorado Avalanche.

Saad, 28, agreed to a five-year contract worth $22.5 million, for a $4.5 million cap hit.

He had 15 goals and nine assists in 24 games last season, his only season with the Avalanche. He has 371 points in 632 games in a 10-year career that included two stints with the Chicago Blackhawks and one with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Saad ostensibly replaces Jaden Schwartz on left wing. Schwartz, 29, signed a five-year, $27.5 million free-agent contract with the expansion Seattle Kraken. Saad joins another new winger -- Pavel Buchnevich -- whom the Blues acquired from the New York Rangers and signed to a four-year, $23.2 million deal.

The move leaves the Blues with just over $8.5 million in salary-cap space with restricted free-agent forwards Ivan Barbashev, Zach Sanford, Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas needing contracts. The Blues have been actively seeking to move winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who requested a trade. He has two years left on his contract with a $7.5 million cap hit.

Saad has been involved in three trades based on contract concerns. In 2015, the Blackhawks dealt him to Columbus where he signed his current six-year, $36 million deal. In 2017, when the Blackhawks thought they couldn't afford Artemi Panarin, Saad went back to Chicago in that trade. Then with only a year left on his deal, the Hawks shipped him to Colorado.

The Avalanche didn't have cap space to sign Saad after giving new contracts to forward Gabriel Landeskog and defenseman Cale Makar.

The New Jersey Devils were among the teams in talks with Saad.