(HockeySTL)-- The Blues have traded defenseman Jordan Leopold to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2016 fifth-round draft pick.
The 34-year-old defenseman had played in just seven of the Blues’ 16 games this season and had recorded no points. Leopold, who was acquired by the Blues in 2013, had been a healthy scratch in the last seven games and wasn’t expected to be in the Blues’ lineup Saturday against Washington, either.
“He wants to continue to play,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. “He was a seventh defenseman and his ice time was going to be predicated on injuries. It’s a difficult time for Jordan to be moving but I think it’s going to help get him back on the ice on a regular basis in Columbus.”
The Blues retained $500,000 (pro-rated) of Leopold’s $2.25 million salary. The move frees up $1.1 million worth of cap space immediately. That number increases as the season continues and will allow the Blues plenty of space to maneuver at the trade deadline.
“It relieves some cap space for us moving forward,” Armstrong said. “What it’s going to do is create $1.1 million cap space for us moving forward. That obviously grows moving toward the (trade deadline). We’ve been very close to the cap floor this season. This allows us space to do some other things moving forward if we want to improve our team.”
Armstrong also said that defenseman Chris Butler has been recalled from the American Hockey League and is expected to join the Blues by Monday. Butler, 28, has played in 14 games with the Chicago Wolves this season. He has one goal, nine points, but is a veteran of 349 NHL games.
The St. Louis native signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues this offseason. His deal is worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
The Blues were confident enough in their defensive depth to pull the trigger on the Leopold trade. Butler and Petteri Lindbohm, who was a surprise addition to the Wolves’ roster at the beginning of the season, have shown Armstrong that they can step in if needed.
“Chris has played very well so we believe in the depth there,” Armstrong said. “Also, Lindbohm wasn’t really on our radar screen in the summer as a player that could give us games. He’s already given us one. Talking to the guys, he played his best game as a pro (Friday), so there are some positive things there.”