Jul 17, 2014, 1:07 PM EST
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.
Nov 27, 2014, 1:45 AM EST
Callahan and Stamkos lead the way in win over Rangers.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:40 AM EST
Avs fall 3-2 to the Blackhawks.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:55 PM EST
Returned after missing four games due to injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:05 PM EST
The Pittsburgh captain reaches point No. 800 in the win.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:20 PM EST
Scores his seventh of the season.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:45 PM EST
Also touches on Martin St. Louis’ return to Tampa Bay.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:08 PM EST
Appeared to hurt his left shoulder. Team calling it an upper body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:42 PM EST
The Winnipeg forward was tossed from the game.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:35 PM EST
Has the game’s opening goal tonight.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:20 PM EST
Gets a double-minor on the play.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:10 PM EST
Spent 13 seasons in Tampa Bay.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:05 PM EST
Opened the scoring for Tampa Bay.
Nov 26, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Expected to join the Blues for practice on Friday.
Nov 26, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
Replaced by Andre Benoit.
Nov 26, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
Was hurt during Tuesday’s practice.
Nov 26, 2014, 5:31 PM EST
Two teams meet for the second time this season.
Nov 26, 2014, 5:12 PM EST
After an injury to Brian Elliott.
Nov 26, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
Yappy Lappy was at it again.
Nov 26, 2014, 4:06 PM EST
“Anybody can GM, anybody can be a president… whether you’re going to be good at it or not, who knows.”
Nov 26, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
San Jose coach is feeling the heat.
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