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Petro redux? Blues in no rush to re-sign Schwartz, Sobotka, Berglund

May 22, 2014, 1:54 PM EDT

DougArmstrong Getty Images

St. Louis has a gameplan in dealing with restricted free agents, and it doesn’t sound like GM Doug Armstrong is going to deviate from it this summer.

“No,” Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch when asked if there was any urgency to sign RFAs Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund. “I wouldn’t expect the RFAs to get done — just based on history — until July and August, and as we saw last year with Alex [Pietrangelo] into September.”

Ah yes, the great Alex Pietrangelo summer saga of ’13, which gave us the following:

June: Blues: We’ll match any offer sheet to Pietrangelo

July: Blues GM vows to do ‘what is necessary’ to re-sign Pietrangelo

Aug. 4: Blues GM says ‘nothing to report’ on Pietrangelo contract talks

Aug. 6: Blues GM aims to sign Pietrangelo by training camp

Aug. 22: Blues, Pietrangelo might just settle for a ‘bridge’ contract

Aug. 26: Pietrangelo ‘not even thinking about holding out’

Sept. 4: Armstrong: Pietrangelo ‘will be a St. Louis Blue when he plays hockey again’

Sept. 11: Blues negotiations with RFA Pietrangelo ‘broken off for now’

Sept. 11: It’s ‘back to the drawing board’ for Blues and Pietrangelo

After missing the start of training camp, Pietrangelo agreed to a seven-year, $45.5 million deal on Sept. 13.

It’s doubtful any of St. Louis’ current RFAs will have as complex a negotiation as Pietrangelo, a 23-year-old Norris-caliber defenseman represented by Newport Sports’ Don Meehan, who’s client base included two of the highest-profile d-man holdouts in recent memory: Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty (who missed almost the entire 2011 preseason, including five exhibition games) and Montreal’s P.K. Subban (who missed the first four games of last season).

History also suggests St. Louis does occasionally get its RFAs signed quickly. Berglund and Kevin Shattenkirk were extended in June of last year, and the Blues avoided arbitration with Chris Stewart by signing him to a new deal in mid-July.

That said, Armstrong still figures to have some lengthy negotiations this offseason.

Schwartz, 21, had a breakout campaign this year, scoring 56 points in 80 games and looks to be a tricky negotiation given he’s heading into his second NHL contract. Sobotka’s a versatile guy that fills numerous roles for the Blues up front, and is probably looking for a raise on his next deal (having made $1.3 million in each of the last three seasons.) Berglund, meanwhile, has never fully lived up to his pedigree (25th overall pick in 2006) and has seen his offensive numbers dip recently after scoring 21 goals as a rookie and a career-high 22 in 2010-11.

Add it all up, and it could be another long summer for RFAs in St. Louis.

  1. btm99 - May 22, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    Schwartz has to happen, Sobotka would be nice to have back, and you have to let Berglund walk.

    • bcsteele - May 22, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      I would argue Schwartz AND Sobotka have to happen. Berglund, I’m with ya, its probably time to trade him if his demands are high.

      • btm99 - May 22, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        If Sobo
        tka is 3rd line center and you don’t have to overpay I would agree. Can’t have him centering Schwartz and Tarasenko again.

    • beepbeepbeeplgb - May 22, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      can’t have him centering schwartz n tarasenko? that was one of our most consistent lineups throughout the year. seems like your just not a big fan of him.

      • btm99 - May 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        I like him (don’t love him), but feel that he was playing a role not suitable for him. He is huge on the dot. This team is lacking centers that can score and create. Just would like to see us acquire one of those, and if Sobotka had to go to make that happen I feel it would not be the end of the world. Looks like we may have to agree to disagree on this one

  2. beepbeepbeeplgb - May 22, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    yep, bc has it right. they both HAVE to happen and berglund is a toss up.

  3. hanspard - May 22, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    I’m with most of you to let Berglund walk….but it does make me nervous letting big forwards leave. They tend to be crucial in the playoffs. Now he wasn’t good in these last playoffs cause of a busted shoulder….and he’s been underwhelming since the days of the “kid line”….but still. He’s big. Paajarvi might be able to fill that role at a cheaper price.

    • cardsandbluesforever - May 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      he’s big. that’s about the only thing he has going for him.
      slower than dirt.
      cant skate very well
      hands of stone.
      little to no offensive output.
      little to no back checking, or any checking at all.

      what the Blues really need is a big playmaking 2 way center like Stoll, Kopitar or Toews.

  4. stevedurbano - May 22, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Schwartz is an absolute must- Sobotka is a must unless an upgrade is signed as a replacement. Berglund may be the prototypical Blue- occasional brilliance but no edge, no nasty side, nothing to intimidate another team. They’ve GOT to move beyond being just hard working grinders and take it to another level.

  5. Sean J - May 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    They’ll sign Schwartz & Sobotka. I’d like to see them deal Berglund rather than just letting him walk, but I’ll be shocked if he’s wearing the ‘Note next season

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