Blues GM gets philosophical about contract negotiations with RFA Schwartz

6:28 PM

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong doesn't appear too concerned about the team's contract standoff with Jaden Schwartz, taking a transcendent approach to Schwartz's potential training-camp absence. 

There's no doubt the Blues would like to have Schwartz on the roster after a 56-point season, but Armstrong can afford to be nonchalant given the Blues' existing depth at forward and prospects like Ty Rattie who are hungry for an opportunity.

St. Louis doesn't have the cap space to sign Schwartz for more than $2.78 million, which all but rules out the possibility of a long-term deal.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Sergei Belski

Sept 3, 4:55 PM

Agent: Blues, RFA Schwartz 'significantly apart' in contract negotiations

Sept 3, 4:55 PM

Back in June, St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said coming to terms on a new contract with restricted free agent Jaden Schwartz "could take some time."

He wasn't kidding.

With less than three weeks to go until training camp, Schwartz's agent - Wade Arnott - told Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch that the two sides are "significantly apart" on an agreement.

Arnott added the gap is more about valuation than term:

I would characterize it as the discussions are ongoing. We've had lengthy discussions over the past few weeks with (Blues GM) Doug Armstrong regarding Jaden's situation. I understand their position, they understand our position and there is a gap in the level of compensation. 

Traditionally, a lot of these players who have played this limited amount of games have sort of gravitated towards these bridge contracts to get to the next level. We're not opposed to that concept, we just have to come to a meeting of the minds here on what the value is for that type of concept.

The 22-year-old recorded 25 goals and 31 assists in 80 games for the Blues last season, the final year of his entry-level contract. 

According to Capgeek, St. Louis has $2.78 million in available cap space (with 13 forwards already under contract for the coming season), meaning Schwartz's deal could severly limit their flexibility once the season begins.

Armstrong maintained early on that Schwartz would be at training camp, but time is quickly running out.

July 17, 2:45 PM

Blues' GM Armstrong confident he will get RFA Jaden Schwartz signed

July 17, 2:45 PM

Failed negotiations already cost the St. Louis Blues a key contributor from a season ago in Vladimir Sobotka, but general manager Doug Armstrong doesn't believe the team's thorny approach will spook Jaden Schwartz. 

"I had a conversation with Jaden’s agent yesterday and we’re working towards getting him signed," Armstrong said in a live chat with Jeremy Rutheford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This could take some time but we’re comfortable that he will be at training camp." 

An integral piece for the Blues down the road, Schwartz contributed far quicker than expected in just his second full professional season. The restricted free agent finished fourth in team scoring, netting 25 goals and 56 points and was entrusted with more ice time as the season wore on.

The 21-year-old also appears confident in his allegiance, having recently changed his number to honor his late sister in preparation for the 2014-15 season.