The Blues opened training camp on Thursday minus the services of RFA forward Jaden Schwartz, something GM Doug Armstrong was willing to address… once.
“I think the thing that’s probably best for the process is to keep that between Jaden’s representatives and myself from this point forward,” Armstrong said. “The next time I’ll talk publicly about Jaden is when we sign him.”
Schwartz, 22, finished third on the Blues in goals last year (with 25) and is seeking a raise on the $1.16 million he made annually on his now-expired entry-level deal.
The Blues, however, are in a cap crunch — approximately $2.7M away from the ceiling — and while Schwartz’s reported asking price isn’t that far off St. Louis’ proposed offer, every dollar counts.
Neither [player agent Wade] Arnott nor Armstrong have discussed the offers exchanged, but it’s believed that Schwartz is seeking as much as $3 million per year, while the Blues are closer to $2 million.
Schwartz did not have arbitration rights, nor could he receive an offer sheet from another club, so the Blues continue to hold the leverage.
Armstrong has been tight-lipped about negotiations and, after today’s comments, will go completely silent; Arnott hasn’t been much more vociferous. The only detail both sides have agreed on is they’re focused on a short-term pact for Schwartz, not a lengthy deal.
As such, don’t expect anything more out of the Blues camp moving forward. Armstrong already threw down the “we’re going to concentrate on the players that are here,” gauntlet, and head coach Ken Hitchcock offered up pretty much the same.
“You just move on,” Hitchcock explained. “Once you start your first day of camp you just focus on the guys that are here and you let that play out and materialize as training camp goes though.
“It’s not a big deal for us.”