The St. Louis Blues have an interesting summer ahead of them. While we know that Ken Hitchcock will coach the team for one more season, we still aren’t sure if David Backes will be back next year. One player who will undoubtedly return for the Blues in 2015-16 is Jaden Schwartz.
The only question is just what sort of contract will the impressive restricted free agent land? It sounds like general manager Doug Armstrong is making Schwartz his top offseason priority, and he’s saying that he wants the forward signed to a long-term deal instead of taking the bridge route.
It’s interesting to hear Armstrong identify the 23-year-old as his top focus this early in the offseason. Especially with a goalie controversy on his hands that will certainly carry over to next season, his captain in Backes needing a new deal and Troy Brouwer also up for a fresh contract as well.
There are a lot of moving parts to St. Louis’ summer plans, but it sounds like Schwartz–and not veterans like Backes and Brouwer–will be Armstrong’s top focus in the coming weeks.
The former 14th-overall draft pick has developed into an outstanding forward for the Blues since being selected in 2010.
He spent a majority of the 2015-16 campaign injured and only appeared in 33 regular season games, yet he still managed to put up 22 points. Schwartz was one of the team’s most consistent forwards during the playoffs, notching four goals and 10 assists through 20 games played. During 2014-15, he showed just how strong of a contributor he can be when healthy, scoring 63 points in 75 contests during the regular season.
It has to be somewhat refreshing for Blues fans to hear Armstrong talk about focusing on a younger player like Schwartz first. He’ll obviously be involved in multiple negotiations as the next few months roll on, but naming the 5-foot-10, 190-pound forward as the first free agent domino that needs to fall is noteworthy.
What sort of contract do you think Schwartz is in for? What sort of dollar and term would you be comfortable with? Sound off in the comments section down below and let us hear your thoughts.