One week after the Vancouver Canucks signed restricted free agent forward David Backes to an offer sheet, the St. Louis Blues struck back.
The Blues signed Group II free agent forward Steve Bernier to an offer sheet worth $2.5 million for next season, which the Canucks were quick to match. If they didn't, Vancouver would have received St. Louis' second round draft choice in 2009.
"Steve is a highly regarded young offensive player in our League," said Canucks GM Mike Gillis in a statement. "As we have stated with his right-handed shot he will be a great addition to our top six forward group and an asset to our power play."
Gillis added that he bore no ill will towards the Blues for the signing.
"We have a great deal of respect for the St. Louis Blues, John Davidson, Larry Pleau and their management team, said Gillis. "The offer sheet to Bernier is a clear indication of how highly Steve is thought of in our league."
Bernier, 23, was acquired by Vancouver from Buffalo in a trade last week in exchange for a second round draft choice in 2010 and a third round draft choice in 2009. The 6-2, 225-pound right winger played for San Jose and Buffalo last season, totaling 32 points along with 64 penalty minutes. Bernier has played in a total of 177 NHL contests, amassing 90 points and 128 penalty minutes.
The Quebec City, Quebec native was originally drafted by San Jose in the first round, 16th overall in the 2003 Entry Draft.