Jul 17, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT
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.
May 25, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT
Two sides to the coin in a shutout.
May 24, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT
Bolts take a 3-2 series to Tampa Bay.
May 24, 2015, 9:36 PM EDT
The Lightning are 7-0 when scoring the first goal in the playoffs.
May 24, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT
Degree of difficulty: high.
May 24, 2015, 9:15 PM EDT
Blocking shots can be a grind, too, after all.
May 24, 2015, 8:07 PM EDT
May 24, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT
No clarification on what would qualify as “dramatic.”
May 24, 2015, 6:52 PM EDT
Who will grab a 3-2 series lead?
May 24, 2015, 5:58 PM EDT
Can Anaheim grind this series out?
May 24, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT
Things weren’t a “perfect fit” for the blue liner in Nashville.
May 24, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT
He coached Edmonton to a 17-25-9 record after Dallas Eakins was fired in December.
May 24, 2015, 2:45 PM EDT
He’s gone nine games without a point.
May 24, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
He has not played since April 24.
May 24, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
May 24, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
He missed Game 4 due to an undisclosed injury.
May 24, 2015, 11:41 AM EDT
He owes St. Louis one more season.
May 24, 2015, 10:46 AM EDT
He has not coached since being fired by the Penguins last June.
May 24, 2015, 2:05 AM EDT
“Finally got a bounce.”
May 24, 2015, 12:52 AM EDT
Chicago wins another long overtime game.
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