This summer promises to be a busy one for Blues GM Doug Armstrong, as he’ll negotiate with four key restricted free agents — defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, and forwards Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart.
And, Armstrong wants to make one thing clear — he won’t let any of them leave via an offer sheet.
“Offer sheets aren’t a concern,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s part of the business and you know that they’re there.
“Nothing in an offer sheet is going to be that much crazier than we’re willing to spend anyway.”
St. Louis has approximately $41 million locked into 16 players for next season. So, the Blues have money — nearly $23 million — to spend on the quartet of RFAs.
Assuming they spend to the cap.
Of the four, it’s been rumored that Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk would be the two most likely to receive offer sheets. Young, high-end defensemen are in great demand and a team looking to make a splash could up the ante for either guy.
Pietrangelo, 23, had 24 points in 47 games this year and finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting a year ago.
Shattenkirk, 24, had 23 points in 48 games this year and finished 18th in Norris Trophy voting a year ago.
It’s worth noting the Blues have over $12 million locked into defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Barret Jackman and Roman Polak for next season, though Bouwmeester accounts for the majority of that ($6.6 million) and is off the books at the end of 2013-14.
Regardless, Armstrong doesn’t seen any of that affecting how he’ll approach his restricted free agents.
“We’re going to want it the way we think is proper for the St. Louis Blues,” he explained. “If there’s an offer sheet there, we’re very content with where we are with the NHL salary cap, we’re going to be able to match any offer and we will.
“These are core players that we’re not going to let go.”