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After Sobotka mess, Blues ‘comfortable’ Schwartz will get signed

Jul 17, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

Jaden Schwartz Getty Images

Given how pear-shaped things went with Vladimir Sobotka, you couldn’t blame St. Louis fans for worrying about the status of the club’s other key unsigned RFA, forward Jaden Schwartz.

On Wednesday, GM Doug Armstrong tried to alleviate potential concerns.

“We’re in the initial process,” Armstrong said, via a live chat through the Post-Dispatch. “I had a conversation with Jaden’s agent yesterday and we’re working towards getting him signed.

“This could take some time but we’re comfortable that he will be at training camp.”

Schwartz, 22, is coming off a breakout campaign with St. Louis, finishing third on the team with a career-high 25 goals while averaging 17:32 TOI per game. The former first-round pick racked up 56 points and established himself as a valuable penalty killer, leading the team with three shorthanded markers.

He’s obviously an important part of the Blues’ future but, as history shows, St. Louis tends to play hardball with certain RFAs. In May, Armstrong told the Post-Dispatch there was no urgency to get deals done for Sobotka, Schwartz or Patrick Berglund, alluding to last year’s lengthy negotiation with Alex Pietrangelo (which led to Petro missing the start of training camp).

Then, in a twist, Armstrong flipped the script by inking Berglund to a three-year, $11 million pact in late June.

And then came the Sobotka situation.

Last week, Sobotka shocked everyone by inking in the KHL after the Blues filed for club-elected salary arbitration. Armstrong immediately set about explaining St. Louis’ offers, explaining the Blues tabled a multi-year deal (three, four, or five years, “at [Sobotka’s] choice”) at “north of $3 million” per season. The 27-year-old restricted free agent was then offered a one-year deal at $2.7 million per, or a two-year deal at $3 million per.

“Those haven’t got it done to this point,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong proceeded to explain he was holding out hope Sobotka would return to the club, and said he still intended to be at the arbitration hearing on July 21.

To give an idea of how tight negotiations were on this, consider what Sobotka’s agent — ex-NHLer Petr Svoboda — had to say in the aftermath.

“[Blues general manager Doug Armstrong] started at $2.4 million (for one season) and he came up to $2.7 million, so he gave me his best number,” Svoboda told the Post-Dispatch. “We were at one year, $3 million.

“Basically it was over $300,000. There was no room for negotiation. It was one year at $2.7 (million) — take it.”

So yeah. Could be a long summer for Schwartz.

  1. beepbeepbeeplgb - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    it’ll happen. him and tarasenko are the future for the blues. schwartz is one of the best players i’ve ever seen at stealing the puck. so quick.

  2. 19dead2 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    He will be signed, he just took #17 for next year to honor his sister.

  3. jpelle82 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    quickly becoming one of my favorite guys to watch…

  4. imleftcoast - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Pear-shaped, love that. That is writing with personality.

    • wutangwild - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      Same here. The writers do a great job with injecting some personality/entertainment while still upholding a reasonable amount of journalistic integrity, which is disappearing fast nowadays. That being said, Schwartz is a great player and is only going to get better. Gonna be toughhh in the Central this year and West in general.

  5. mb30forlife - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    They better resign him… Now that they already lost a really good 3rd line center they better not be so cheap this time around or their team is really screwed

  6. stillthevoice - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    “Basically it was over $300,000. There was no room for negotiation. It was one year at $2.7 (million) — take it.” – Vladimir Sobotka’s agent Petr Svoboda.

    So, I guess from GM Armstrong’s perspective it would be “Basically it was over $300,000. There was no room for negotiation. It was one year at $3 (million) — take it.”

    Hey, maybe Sobotka will like spending his winter in Siberia instead of St. Louis. All I know is that his agent won’t be wintering there.

    • mb30forlife - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      300k is p!$$ water…. they should have re-signed him. Not only for their team but for the sake of keeping players away from a corrupt league like the KHL. If the NHL keeps letting guys go it will get ugly. Gary Bettman or someone running the NHL should have stepping in and gave him the extra 300k out of their pockets if it came down to it. CANT KEEP LETTING STARS/POTENTIAL STAR PLAYERS GO TO THE KHL

      • avscup - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:32 PM

        Dumbest comment of the day. The NHL does not detain players and prevent them from making choices. Do you consider Sobotka a star that has left for the KHL? LOL! Maybe he would be a star on the Devils.

        You should re-read the part about Sobotka being offered 3,4,5 years at north of $3M pet.. You obvious
        don’t understand negotiations.

        At some point, a team has to draw a line in the sand. There are many other parts to the puzzle.

      • stevedurbano - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Ah, to be a fly on the wall… I’ll bet Sobotka s**t when his agent told him “Hey, Omsk is the place to be in the KHL…..”. I loved the guy but sometimes people make really stupid decisions. I hope he doesn’t take a Malaysian Air flight……

    • comeonnowguys - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Hey, maybe Sobotka will like spending his winter in Siberia instead of St. Louis.

      Was there really that much of a difference last year? :)

  7. bluesdroogie - Jul 17, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I really hope the deal with Schwartz gets done sooner than later. As for Svoboda saying it came down to $300,000, that is bull. Armstrong gave Sobotka an offer of 3,4,5 years of his choice at north of 3 mill. a 2 year at 3 mill. Why must it come down to $300,000 when that makes the offer 3 mill. I think this is just an attempt by Svoboda to make St. Louis look bad in the media. Did Sobotka want to leave St Louis? Did he want a 1 year deal so he could try free agency?

    Sobotka will be missed but we know have Stastny, Lehtera, and possibly Lindstrom to fill that void. Sorry to see you go Sobotka(I really liked his style and play) but everyone is replaceable. This opens the door for Jaskin or Paajari, maybe Lindstrom. 1 of those 3 will be an everyday player now.

    • sanfranbruinsfan - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:07 AM

      I think he wanted one year at $3M because he expects to get more when he’s a UFA. He’s an RFA for what, one or two more years? A 5 year deal at $3M is not in his interest if he think he can get $3M for one year and the $4M or more for several years after that. I’m not sure what he’s worth but probably north of $3M.

  8. stillthevoice - Jul 18, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    I hear you. Shockingly enough, Omsk really is about 30 degrees colder on average November – March and has 116 snowy days for those five months (St. Louis snowy days per year is 14.5). Petr Svoboda lives in Santa Monica, CA.

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