Following the Blues first round exit to the Minnesota Wild, GM Doug Armstrong said his top priority was to sign pending restricted free agent Vladimir Tarasenko to a new deal.
“If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us,” Armstrong said in May.
It appears Armstrong is sticking to his word.
Last week the Blues informed Barret Jackman that he won’t be re-signed.
Pending unrestricted free agents Zbynek Michalek, Marcel Goc and Olli Jokinen all appear headed for the open market on July 1.
Additionally, there are no extensions planned for Chris Butler or Chris Porter prior to July 1.
“What we told all those players, all of our unrestricted players, is that they’ll enter free agency,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Dispatch. “That’s the plan. Now anything can change going up to it, but we understand where the cap is.”
Tarasenko’s three-year, $5.25 million entry-level contract expires next month.
The 23-year-old led the Blues in goals (37) and points (73) during the 2014-15 season.
Nearly two months removed from the club’s final game, there’s nothing to report in terms of a new deal.
“We’d like to get it done as soon as both sides are comfortable,” said Armstrong.“(Tarasenko) knows he’s going to be here, we know he’s going to be here,” Armstrong said. “When it happens, it happens.”
According to Jeremy Rutherford, the club has $57 million in contracts already on the books for the 2015-16 season. With the cap expected to be around $71.5 million, and 16 players under contract for next season, the club has roughly $14 million to play with.
Rutherford believes the Blues and Tarasenko’s agent have spoken this month, but Armstrong wasn’t interested in getting into the details.
“I don’t think it’s beneficial for Vladi or for us to talk about what’s going on behind the scenes,” said Armstrong. “Our team, when you look at the salary cap and you look at our structure, I would imagine that we’re not going to be very far apart in dollars. So, I have a really good feeling of what it’s going to take and I think he does, too.”