While the next contract could provide even bigger hurdles, the St. Louis Blues managed to sign rising star forward Jaden Schwartz to a two-year deal on Saturday. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that it’s worth $4.7 million overall, making for an annual cap hit of $2.35 million.
(He’ll make $2 million in 2014-15 and $2.7 million in 2015-16, according to McKenzie.)
After some protracted talks, it seemed like the two sides were separated by about $500K, with the Blues leaning toward a $2 million cap hit while Schwartz’s reps wanted $2.6 million. Commenters pleading for the two sides to “split the difference” are likely to be happy with these terms.
One party that might be a little unhappy is Ryan Johansen’s camp. While Johansen produced slightly better offensive numbers and might mean a bit more to the Columbus Blue Jackets than Schwartz does to the Blues – again, relatively speaking – the two players’ paths are comparable enough that Columbus can use this as evidence that Johansen is supposedly asking for too much.
(Torey Krug might be a little bummed out in Boston, too.)
Most importantly, this is a big steal for the Blues … at least short-term. They even signed Schwartz with enough time remaining in the preseason for him to shake off some of the rust, as their season-opener comes on Oct. 9.
Schwartz broke out with a 25-goal, 56-point season in 2013-14, and at just 22 years old, it’s easy to envision even bigger things for the forward. Even if he stagnates in that range, $2.35 million per season is a significant bargain, even considering the reduced leverage that comes with being a restricted free agent.
He’ll still be well into his RFA years when this new deal expires, but if players like P.K. Subban showed us anything, there could be big expenses waiting at the end of Schwartz’s “bridge.” Still, the immediate impact is a Blues roster that’s heavy with bargains; could this be the year they finally make a deep playoff run?