After failing to meet their lofty expectations in 2013, the St. Louis Blues will head back to the drawing board to try and improve their roster for next season. They’re in a good position for cap space, which is good considering a pair of restricted free agents will be of the top priority.
St. Louis will face the tall task of re-signing two of the better young defenseman in the league this summer, as both Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk are set to hit the market as restricted free agents this summer. Neither one is going to fall under the definition of “cheap” either.
In Pietrangelo, you have a franchise defenseman. He’s clearly established himself as such over the course of the last couple years. Shattenkirk is an offensive force from the blue line. The Blues have already stated their desire to keep both, and have been adamant about the fact that they will match any offer sheet signed by either of their two d-men.
It’s possible that Pietrangelo could be looking at someone like Drew Doughty for a potential match for his new contract, both in terms of years and dollars. Meaning that his cap hit is about to take a significant jump up from the $3 million+ he’s currently carrying. It’s very like that the amount he’s making now will double at the very least. Perhaps $7 million?
Shattenkirk could see an even more sizable raise off of his current cap hit, which is sitting at $1.3 million right now. He could end up seeing in the upwards of $5 million this summer. He’s coming off of a season in which he finished with 23 points from the blue line, after finishing with 43 in his last full season in 2011-12.
Each of these defensemen represent the type of players that the Blues would like to build around. They’re offensive weapons from the blue line, and tremendous assets on the power play. Each of them will see a large raise this summer, and the Blues have plenty of cap space to work with. Unless they want to deal Shattenkirk for a forward to improve the offense, there’s no reason we shouldn’t expect to see both of them suiting up for St. Louis next season.