By Jeremy Rutherford
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
The Blues avoided salary arbitration with center Jay McClement Monday by signing him to a one-year contract extension.
McClement, 25, had received a qualifying offer of $735,000 before opting for arbitration on July 5. The extension will pay McClement $950,000 in 2008-09.
“We are excited to have Jay in our core group of young players,” Blues President John Davidson said in a statement. “He will provide some stability and experience on the penalty kill and we are expecting his offensive numbers to improve with the more ice-time he gets.”
McClement was one of the Blues’ top penalty killers in 2007-08 and his role is expected to increase next season. McClement averaged 2 minutes, 28 seconds of ice time per game on the penalty-kill unit, which is the most of any returning forward following the departures of Ryan Johnson and Jamal Mayers.
“We had a pretty solid PK last year, but losing two of our top guys, there’s going to be some holes to fill,” McClement said. “It’s a goal of mine to be that guy that’s always out there.”
McClement scored a career-high nine goals last season, but his 22 points were 14 less than he had in 2006-07. His ice time dwindled to 13:55 per game last season, a decrease from 15:03 in the second half of ‘06-07.
“I had a down year offensively,” McClement said. “It’s definitely a big thing this year to get back to what I was the previous year. I’ll use it as motivation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
On Monday, the Blues also announced the signing of forward Matt Foy, 25.
Foy, who is 6-foot-2 and 219 pounds, played in a career-high 28 games with the Minnesota Wild last season, posting four goals and four assists.
A sixth-round pick of the Wild in 2002, Foy has six goals and seven assists in 56 NHL games.