After weeks of stilted talks and stop/go action, The Blues and Jaden Schwartz are nearing a deal. According to St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Jeremy Rutherford and TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Blues have agreed to a 2 year, 4.7 million dollar deal. An annual cap loving value of 2.35 million. That means Blues fans can stop freaking out and just pay attention to what should be and will be a promising season of action coming up in..oh..13 days on October 9th. Tonight, the Blues host the Stars in Kansas City before their preseason schedule continues next week. The news today for Blues fans is Schwartz and the Blues ending what has been a bizarre round of action these past few weeks that I will be honest and admit caught me off guard at first.
Schwartz isn’t being a greedy little devil here folks. He wants to get paid and wants the yearly salary he deserves. While he only has one truly solid season of productivity, the Blues and the city of St. Louis know the kid is a special talent and has shown glimmers of an All Star in his first three seasons in St. Louis. This is what doesn’t hit you straight in the head when you hear “Schwartz and the Blues are far apart in talks”. First thing the average sports fan will say is, “Come on Jaden, get real and be reasonable.” That would be done if the world wasn’t tilted towards commerce and players expecting a certain wage. The feelings of bitterness and puzzlement eventually lead to an epiphany that the Blues are standing right on the border of their salary cap and have to fit Schwartz in.
I wondered why they didn’t try to seal up the kid’s future before making a ton of offseason moves. Sure, the Paul Stastny deal had to happen quickly but Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong seemed to be add loads of depth to the roster and it must be noted all those one or two way deals add little sums of money to the cap. I think that Armie may have underestimated the kind of contract Jaden would command and simply whiffed here in his offseason planning. Or, the sides had went back and forth for a long time and simply swam back to each other this past month.
The problem was never length but yearly compensation. Schwartz, a first round pick in 2010 who arrived last season with 22 goals and 56 points in 82 games and scored one of the most memorable last minute goals against the Chicago Blackhawks this past spring, wanted money now. The Blues may want to be sure the kid can duplicate his production or grow into something more. A two year deal is appropriate for each side.
I personally believe in The Schwartz Force and can see the kid scoring 30 goals and setting up 35-40 more in his career. He has the toughness you want on the ice to go with the puck handling skills and playmaking ability. If the Blues would have paid the kid 3-4 million, I can agree with that more than I can investing 3 million in the “Patrik Berglund is still young and affordable” contract. Schwartz is exciting so keep him here.
What else? The preseason means one thing. Lots of fights. Refs don’t mind it as much. The crowd eats it up. The old school part of the game comes out. It’s fun to watch. I am an advocate for fighting because I think the other team won’t headhunt once a Ryan Reaves type has pounded the piss out of your biggest thug. It sends a message and brings back the wild west flavor of hockey. Whoever wears the badge is a deadly foe out there when he touches the ice. Whoever hates fighting in hockey needs to watch more badminton instead. It’s needed.
For now, that’s all I got. The preseason seems to be flying by, which is good. Take away the extra fights and it’s like spring training in baseball or preseason in the NFL. Just another chance for your top players to get hurt.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of Blues news. The Cards and Rams may be playing at the moment, but soon enough, it will be 30 degrees with the Hawks in town and David Backes will be punching Jonathan Toews. That is always something to look forward to.
The Schwartz signing is great but the two things I look forward to the most in 2014-15 for the Blues are simple. A whole season of Vladimir Tarasenko with a longer leash and the Brian Elliott/Jake Allen combo in net. Blood, sweat and tears drenched in blue, ladies and gents.
Have a good evening and thanks for stopping in.