Blues owner says team’s cap number will be ‘very respectable’

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From the Post-Dispatch’s Q&A with Blues owner Tom Stillman, on his team’s current financial state:

Q: How is the organization doing financially?

Stillman: We’re doing better. We’re more stable. But we have a ways to go to reach our goal of being a really sound, stable franchise with a secure long-term future. We still have some work to do.

Q: The 2013-14 season was one in which the NHL salary cap came down and the Blues’ payroll increased, putting the club near the $64.3 million cap ceiling. With the cap projected at $71.1 million in 2014-15, where do you foresee the club’s budget?

Stillman: We haven’t decided on an absolute, final salary number, but I know that we’ll put a competitive team on the ice and our cap number will be very respectable.

Per CapGeek, the Blues have 18 players signed for next season, for a cap payroll of just over $48 million. So even with an internal budget and RFAs like Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka and Jaden Schwartz to re-sign, there’s room for general manager Doug Armstrong to operate in free agency, if that’s an avenue he wants to explore. A second-line center may be worth adding, at the right price.

Stillman took over as owner two years ago, making no promises to spend to the cap. Obviously, the team’s first-round elimination in this year’s playoffs didn’t help, financially speaking. St. Louis had just three home playoff dates, the same disappointing number as last year. The Blues have won just two playoff series since reaching the conference finals in 2001.

Related: Armstrong wonders if the Blues need a ‘different formula’ on offense