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Paying Pavol

Blues will meet arbitrator's price to keep Demitra

Posted: Thursday August 07, 2003 2:37 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Pavol Demitra is staying with the St. Louis Blues, after the team agreed on Thursday to re-sign him to the one-year $6.5 million salary an arbitrator set earlier this week.

Following the arbitrator's ruling Monday, the Blues had until Thursday to decide whether to keep Demitra, their top scorer with 36 goals and 93 points, trade him or allow him to become a free agent.

The pay hike will push the team payroll to more than $58 million, and team officials have said that's too high. The Blues may consider trimming payroll through other means such as trades.

Demitra, 28, was sixth in the NHL in scoring last season. He established career highs in points and assists and ranked first on the team in all offensive categories. He was 12th in the NHL in goals scored and his 57 assists ranked seventh.

Demitra has led the Blues in scoring four of the past five seasons and has topped 30 goals in three of the past five seasons. He has finished in the top 15 in the NHL in total scoring four of the past five seasons.

For his career, the native of Slovakia has scored 435 points -- 181 goals and 254 assists.

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