After a tough loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the conference semi-finals, the St. Louis Blues will be looking for ways to improve their squad even more. The Blues have about $9 million in cap space, courtesy of Capgeek, but also have some important signings to make. David Perron, TJ Oshie, Chris Stewart, and Barret Jackman all need new contracts along with a few others. But there are also some kids that will be trying to crack the lineup permanently in the 2012-2013 season such as Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ty Rattie, Ian Cole, and some others. So what do I see happening for next year?
- First is with the signings. David Perron and TJ Oshie will receive no less than $5 milionl for they are truly the teams most dynamic forwards, and even $5 mil would be a steal. I could see David Perron getting around $6 million and TJ Oshie maybe at $5.5 million. These two must be resigned because they are young players who will only become better. Also the free agents in the summer are nothing special. Jaime Langenbrunner wasn’t bad, but his contract needs to go to make room for the new ones. I really believe Jason Arnott could stay as he played good hockey and it seemed like his leadership showed throughout the season. If Jackman demands more than what he is making now, then I do not see how the Blues can keep him. I feel as if he will be resigned, but at the same price for his stay at home style of defense is needed. Carlo Colaiacovo is a bit tricky. Resign him at around $2.5 mil or let him go and hope Ian Cole can fill his spot? Colaiacovo really shined in the first round of the playoffs, but then was nowhere in the 2nd round. I would say resign him as he did play good with Alex Pietrangelo. Lastly Chris Stewart. I would say to give this guy an extension. He has shown the skill to be 20-30 goal scorer and should get another chance to prove it.
-Next are the possible rookies. Jaden Schwartz will be much looked at, and it Langenbrunner doesn’t come back, he will be the guy to take his spot. Schwartz had 2 goals and an assist in 7 games, which isn’t bad for the jump straight into the NHL. Ty Rattie is another guy I can see making the big club if he can fill in his frame some more. He exploded this year in the WHL earning 121 points in 69 games. Vladimir Tarasenko had a great season in the KHL collecting 47 points in 54 games. I feel that Tarasenko may be the biggest surprise in the upcoming season. He has the summer to get even stronger and has already shown some promising skill.
The team is showing signs of only becoming better as the rookies and current players continue to improve. The young core makes the team able to compete for many years and will only get better. Now with new ownership, the future is looking bright for the team and I would expect the Blues organization to be much more aggressive in the future at free agency or the trade deadline if there is a specific need or want.