The Vancouver Canucks were the first team out of the gate in the restricted free agent market, signing forward David Backes to a three-year $7.5 million offer sheet.
But the St. Louis Blues moved quickly in matching the offer, signing the 24-year-old almost immediately after he signed the offer sheet with Vancouver.
''David is a major part of our youth movement in St. Louis and we expect him to play a huge role as we move forward,'' Blues president John Davidson said.
Backes, 24, was selected by Blues 62nd overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
In 121 games with St. Louis, he has 23 goals and 54 points.