Originally written on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 7/13/12

DENVER - NOVEMBER 25: Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators skates during the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on November 25, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Blues entered the NHL's free agency period searching for a top-four defenseman. They are still searching. They were priced out of the Ryan Suter sweepstakes and quickly turned their attention to Plan B: Matt Carle. But although St. Louis was heavily involved in talks with the former Philadelphia Flyer, Carle signed a six-year, 33 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Carle's deal with the Lightning included a 3 million signing bonus, which appears to be a priority of the players this offseason with a potential lockout looming. "I guess I'm never really surprised at what happens in the NHL on certain dates," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "We certainly saw some very lucrative contracts handed out, some lucrative contracts with signing bonuses handed out, which seems to be a phenomenon that you only have as you're entering into the expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement. I don't know if surprised would be the right term as it is eye-opening." So t...
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