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According to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch, the Blues have signed free agent defenseman Danny Syvret to a one year, two way contract. Syvret is a 2005 third round pick (81st overall) of the Edmonton Oilers, who has played most of his professional career with the Philadelphia Flyers and Adirondak/Philadelphia Phantoms. He also played six games with the Anaheim Ducks last season. In 59 NHL games, Syvret has three goals and four assists, though he has shown himself to be a solid force on the AHL blueline in the past.
It's a cheap deal for the Blues, worth $525,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL. That's a bit of a pay cut for the NHL level, but a significant jump for the AHL. It shows you where his value is, and the Rivermen could certainly benefit from that. The Blues also benefit from a decent plug-in should the injury bug bite again.
"Danny Syvret has huge skills, and he fills that offensive spot on our blueline in Peoria," Peoria GM and Blues assistant GM and director of pro scouting Kevin McDonald said in a statement.
"He quarterbacks the power play, gives us another scoring threat. "He fits the kind of players we've been looking for, guys who can carry on as elite players at the AHL level and push for NHL opportunities with the Blues."
Short but sweet interview with local boy Cam Janssen, who recently signed a one-year, two-way contract with the New Jersey Devils. Janssen waxed poetic about his mom making breakfast for him every morning, and how much he enjoyed playing in St. Louis. Also, he seems to know his role and the direction that the Blues wanted to take didn't mesh, and he explains it very adroitly.
The interesting part about the video comes in Janssen's comments about halfway through, regarding playing in a fishbowl in St. Louis, and how "you can easily get off track." Take that as you will.
With the loss of Cam Janssen, the Blues' tough guy situation boiled down to B.J. Crombeen and possibly Barrett Jackman if someone ticked him off enough. Obviously, that's not a hole in your system that you want gaping for too long, especially not for a team that lead the league in fighting majors last season. Some Blues fans saw Ryan Reaves as the successor to Janssen as early as last season, when Reaves played 28 games with the big club. Reaves scored twice in those 28 games, which matches Janssen's total with the Blues in four seasons. To consider Ryan Reaves an "offensive upgrade" to Janssen should tell a person how offensively challenged Janssen was.
The Blues announced today that they signed Reaves to a one year, two way contract. The contract is an interesting one, because while it's a $35,000 paycut at the NHL level, it's a $10,000 payraise at the AHL level. Reaves obviously expects to be in the AHL more than the NHL this season, and with the way that the roster's shaped up, that should be a reasonable expectation for fans to have as well.
Cam Janssen. who has entertained crowds here in St. Louis with his pugilistic ways for the past four seasons, was not re-signed by the Blues. Apparently BJ Crombeen is seen as the go-to guy for the fights now, unless Ryan Reaves makes the squad out of camp. For a team that led the league last season in fighting majors with 78, this loss will presumably curtail that just a bit.
No more Cam Smash, as he returns to the only other NHL team to put him on their ice, the New Jersey Devils. Cam broke the news on Twitter:
Well, at least he won't have to photoshop himself into his new uniform for his Twitter profile a la Anthony Stewart.
The Blues learned their lesson from last season about relying on AHL guys to carry the load when half of their NHL team goes down. So far, they've picked up some top notch AHL talent with enough NHL time to be serviceable just in case injuries necessitate a shuttle or two to Peoria this year.
Tonight the Blues took a chance on a former NHL superstar turned AHL all-star by signing Jonathan Cheechoo to a one year, $600,000 contract. In 2005-2006 he managed 56 goals, and cemented his reputation as a goal scorer. The previous season, his first full one in the NHL, he was a 28 goal scorer, while the year after his 56 goal campaign, he potted 37. Then 23. Then, in his final year with the Sharks, he scored just 12. In 2009-2010 he was traded as part of the deal that sent Dany Heatley to San Jose, but never regained the scoring touch he was losing in California.
He tried to stick with the Dallas Stars and was invited to their training camp, but was cut during pre-season play. He spent last season with the Sharks - the Worchester Sharks - and was an AHL all-star.
Could he regain his scoring touch? He's a few seasons away from being a useful 2nd line guy, and will probably never be the kind of player who can lead the league in scoring again. Unfortunately, that 56 goal year built up some unreasonable expectations for Cheechoo.
He can be used as a call-up for the Blues and will help the Rivermen in scoring and as a mentor. There's a distinct possibility that he won't make the team out of training camp. This wasn't a huge risk for the Blues, it gives the team depth, and it's a decent "just in case move." Is it an amazing signing? No. Will it help the big club? Only a tiny bit.
But does it strangle the Blues with a large contract for an overrated player? Nope, and that's the name of the game this off-season.
When I was an Atlanta Thrashers season ticket holder, these kinds of e-mails were common. Team President and General Manager Don Waddell was a pro at sending out e-mails explaining off-season acquisitions, wishing people Merry Christmas right before the annual January implosion, and explaining why he traded franchise players.
Usually when you get a mass e-mail from anyone in the front office of a team, it's a PR stunt (or in the Thrashers case, an announcement that your team's moving to Winnipeg) to try to make you feel better about the product on-ice. Blues fans, and especially season ticket holders, have been concerned about the penny-pinching ways that the team tends to have. Whether or not these acquisitions are helpful, many people equate "big name signing" with "we want to win." Blues President John Davidson did a little damage control/Jamie Langenbrunner-Jason Arnott hype.
As we come to the end of a very busy and productive six weeks, I wanted to reach out to you and share some of the excitement we are feeling about our team as we move closer to the start of the 2011-12 season. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Blues organization when I say how pleased we are with the shape our roster has taken with not only our recent signings, but also the commitment our players have made with their off season training and development. I look at this team and see more depth than we have had since I became a part of this organization, depth that will be crucial as we battle our way through a very difficult 82 game schedule.
Over the past six weeks, General Manager Doug Armstrong has done an outstanding job of identifying key free agents that will improve our club. These signings, along with the signing of our own free agents, have added depth at every position, protecting ourselves from injury and adding a level of competition amongst our players. We remain focused on building our team by developing talent from within and strengthening our roster with every move we make.
When I think of the young skill on our roster (Berglund, D’Agostini, Halak, Oshie, Perron, Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk and Stewart) and combine them with our leaders (Backes, Jackman, McDonald, Steen and now Arnott, Langenbrunner and Nichol), I wish the season opened tomorrow. We identified areas for improvement after last season and made specific steps to address those points, from size and leadership to grit and penalty killing. We have brought in people who have won Stanley Cups and this team is poised to play a very exciting brand of hockey because of it. With Davis Payne we have one of the best young coaches in the game, I really look forward to him bringing this group together.
I might add that because of my job I get to see all the arenas in the NHL, and the game night experience we offer our fans at Scottrade Center is truly among the best—everybody always has a terrific time.
We are expecting the 2011-12 season of Blues hockey to be one of the most exciting in our history, with all the elements in place to be a truly outstanding team. The unbeatable atmosphere and fan support consistently makes Scottrade Center one of the most exciting buildings in the NHL, and we look forward to seeing you in the stands this October.
Thank you for your continued support; we are thrilled to have you as part of our organization once again.
Can't really find too much to nitpick in that. It's honest, it does a fine job explaining what the Blues have as their plan this year, and it tells fans exactly what the team's intent was over this off-season. Free-agent signings, regardless of if they're good or not, always have an air of legitimacy when explained by the front office. It's also helpful that, with good signings and a good explanation, fans get a sense of competency from the people who run their team.
John Davidson and Doug Armstrong display that competency very nearly every off-season, through acquisitions and the draft. E-mails like this just go on to reinforce that.
Hopefully no one bought a Kevin Shattenkirk #12 jersey last year. The new guys - Jamie Langenbrunner, Scott Nichol, Jason Arnott and Kent Huskins are necessitating a numerical shuffle among some of the younger roster guys. Age before beauty, of course.
According to Too Many Men On The Site, the new roster numbers boil down like this:
Arnott will wear number 44, Langenbrunner will wear 15, Nichol will be wearing 12, Huskins will have 6, and Shattenkirk will switch to Brad Boyes' old 22. Which honestly means one thing - a boon for the team gear store selling nameplates and for jersey customization shops around the metro area.
Heck, when the Blues have a roster that people are saying includes key off-season acquisitions, and could very well get them back into the playoffs as a contender, I don't think Shattenkirk changing his number's much of a concern.
Considering I was about to literally write the same thing as Joe Barker (who used to be the hockey editor here at SBNSTL) just wrote on St. Louis Game Time, I figured I might as well go on and link to it instead of re-saying everything that he did.
He brings up many good points, the biggest one is this: the roster's set sans David Perron:
Which leads us to David Perron. Months and months have gone by since his concussion and he's still not cleared to work out. Perron is easily a top-9, possible top-6 guy, but he doesn't really fit in on this team. Sure, D'Ags could slide down to the fourth line and such, but it just doesn't really make sense. To me, bringing in Langenbrunner and Arnott means the Blues aren't expecting Perron back. They're trying to not get caught shorthanded.
If Perron does come back, the Blues just have more depth.
Perron still hasn't been cleared for on-ice workouts yet. It's going to take some working out and focus to get him back in hockey shape - he hasn't played in around nine months. Joe makes the guess that Chris Nichol will be your fourth line left wing, with Ryan Reaves taking the Cam Janssen role.
Basically, what this signals is that aside from some depth moves, the Blues are done at forward - and probably in general. The line up looks significantly better than it did, and the team might be starting off improved from last season's. The trick here is for injuries to not decimate the club, but with Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott's ages, it's hard not to imagine they won't sit out for a game or two here and there. Here's hoping it's not for an extended trip to the IR.
Just when you thought that the Blues were done, or at the very least were going to just keep signing guys for the Peoria Rivermen, General Manager Doug Armstrong goes and schedules a personal reunion of sorts. He's familiar with both Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott from his time with the Dallas Stars franchise, and obviously he saw something he was impressed with there. Both of these players were signed today by Armstrong.
Langenbrunner at 35 and Arnott at 36 are both going to be utilized as a balancing act for the young forward core. Both still have gas left in the tank. Arnott provides some depth up the middle at center, while Langenbrunner adds some right wing experience. This move now puts the Blues at 13 one-way forwards for next season, limiting the chances of a player like Philip McRae or Brett Sterling coming up unless an injury happens.
Arnott split his time between the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals last season, after four seasons with the Nashville Predators. He scored 17G and 14A last season in 73 games. Those 73 games are the most he's played since 2007-2008's 79. He'll be three seasons removed from his 28G 44A campaign in 2007-2008, but he's always shown that with competent players on his line he'll be good for at least 30 points. If he makes it through the year sans injury, he might be good for a few more.
Langenbrunner was a contentious presence in the New Jersey Devils' locker room last season during their time of troubles, which necessitated a trade to the Dallas Stars so he would cease contributing to an already toxic environment. Hopefully he'll be able to put on his big girl panties and play nice in St. Louis. He played 73 games last season, in which he scored 9 goals and 23 assists, but when happy (in 2009-2010) he was good for 19G and 23A.
Terms have not been released yet, but both contracts are one year deals.
EDIT: According to Lou Korac, both players are signed to a $2.8 million deal, and Arnott has a no trade clause in his deal.
Scott Nichol is the definition of veteran. At the age of 36, he's this season's Darryl Sydor, but slightly younger. He's never put up major points - his career season came to 18 points (10G 8A) with Nashville in 2007-2008, and he only played 55 games last season thanks to an upper body injury sustained in February on a missed check on Erik Johnson. The contract - 1 year, $600,000 and a $100,000 bonus - isn't anything huge, and frankly neither is the signing.
Bishop gets a one year, $600,000 contract much the same as Elliott's. I guess when they said they wanted them to compete for a spot they didn't want salary to get in the way. If you look at CapGeek, though, that amounts to a $200,000 pay cut. Goalie of the future, indeed.
This is one of those signings that doesn't look like much on the surface, but could actually work well for the Blues. Brett Sterling was signed today to a one year, $500,000 contract. Sterling has had cups of coffee with both the Atlanta Thrashers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, most recently scoring three goals and two assists in seven games with Pittsburgh.
Sterling's an interesting commodity. While with the AHL Chicago Wolves, he proved himself to be one of their top scorers, scoring 55 goals and 42 assists in 2005-2006 as a career high point. He's going to be an excellent offensive punch for the Peoria Rivermen, who were in need of a consistent top-line scorer. Sterling's real upside, though, will be in an emergency call-up status. The forwards that the team called up from Peoria needed the experience, but didn't add much. Sterling's a small and speedy scorer that, if utilized correctly, will be good for some goals if he needs to stay up here a few games.
Sterling's issue comes in that while he's a scorer with good hands and speed, he's one at the AHL level. He doesn't fit in on an NHL club's top lines unless it's an emergency basis, and that's what has held him back - because he certainly doesn't belong on a third or fourth line. St. Louis' third line, though, still can play an offensive style, and if need be he could add something. At the very least he will be a stronger addition to the NHL team whenever he's up than current AHLers Philip McRae and Chris Porter.
If the Blues don't add a bunch of extra players before the season starts, Sterling wouldn't shock me by initially sneaking onto the NHL roster on the 3rd line.
The Blues are continuing their trend with low risk contracts in signing UFA defenseman Kent Huskins. Late of the San Jose Sharks, the former Stanley Cup (with Anaheim) winner was getting paid to the tune of $1.7 million a year cap hit to be a 6th/7th defenseman. He had two goals and eight assists in 50 games with the Sharks last year.
The Blues fixed the overpayment problem, giving Huskins a one year deal at a million dollars. This allows him to sit when Nikita Nikitin needs ice time, while being a mentor to the younger guys in the room. Not a bad signing, definitely low risk, and the Blues get the kind of defenseman they needed this year.
What - you weren't expecting them to sign Tomas Kaberle, were you?
Blues GM Doug Armstrong: "We did talk to forwards, did talk to defensemen, and we still have some lines in the water. We're waiting to see what happens in the next week to 10 days. But I believe we have a good team and we have the assets to improve if we can (via trade)."
That should sound vaguely familiar to most Blues fans, as it's what we hear on an annual basis. The thing to remember, however, is that when Armstrong said this last season, the Blues got off to their best 12 game start in franchise history before injuries started piling up.
Of course, that team still included Brad Boyes and Eric Brewer, but even so, the team played solid team hockey until injuries derailed the effort. This season, you have to look at the improvements the Columbus Blue Jackets have made in Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski and wonder if the Blues are going to do better than Brian Elliott. Re-signing D'Agostini was a big step forward, but more has to be done if the team wants to compete in one of the toughest divisions in hockey.
Doug Armstrong was fairly forthcoming about adding goaltending depth through free agency, be it for the AHL or NHL level. Today, he just kind of covered both bases. The Blues signed UFA Brian Elliott, late of the Colorado Avalanche. While he isn't exactly the member of the Avs that most Blues fans would have liked to have poached (I would have preferred the Pepsi vendor in the upper bowl), he does serve the purpose of lighting the proverbial fire under Ben Bishop's butt. Says Blues' General Manager Doug Armstrong:
“We were looking for a goaltender to come in and compete with Ben Bishop for the second spot behind Jaroslav Halak,” said Armstrong. "This move strengthens our goaltending position in the organization."
It actually does, in the AHL. Regardless of who winds up as backup, the Blues still have Jake Allen in Peoria getting sharp, as well as a solid number one for the Rivermen. The trick is managing it in St. Louis. Elliott had a 15-27-9 record last season with a 3.34 GAA and an .893 SV%. He also had three shutouts.
According to beat writer Jim Rutherford, the Blues sit at $49 million in spent cap space at the end of day one of free agency. They have 23 players under contract.
It's telling when the story for this re-signing is on the Peoria Rivermen's website. The Blues needed their AHL depth, and why not just stay within the organization and stick with players that you know? Saves you scouting time, certainly.
Adam Cracknell, who had three goals and four assists in 24 games with the Blues, played around twenty games too many with the club thanks to the unfortunate rash of injuries and the team's trading away of players at the deadline. With the Rivermen he was responsible for 17 goals and 21 assists in 76 games.
Say it with me, everyone: "Release the Cracknell!"
In what is probably the biggest deal that the Blues will make all day, the team calmed down a significant portion of their fanbase by re-signing forward Matt D'Agostini. They were unable to reach a deal with him before he became a UFA, which led to questions regarding how much money the Blues are actually willing to pay for a deal.
The contract is a two-year deal for the 25 year old worth $1.5 million for this season and $1.8 million next season. He had an explosive year last season, going from 2 goals and 2 assists and a −12 in 47 games in 2009-2010 to 21 goals and 25 assists in 82 games last year, complete with a +8 rating. He figures to be a top six player for the Blues, and TSN had him ranked as their 10th overall UFA forward going into the trade deadline day.
It's not a secret that the Blues need some help at forward. With David Perron's availability for the beginning of this season questionable, and the re-signing of Matt D'Agostini before the deadline unlikely, the Blues need a top six forward. They also need a bruiser, and a couple of bottom six guys for depth and to provide a solid, blue-collar checking line that's become this team's trademark.
When looking at the Blues' roster, it becomes apparent that they need a bit of help:
Janssen's probably gone. Ryan Reaves hasn't been signed to a contract yet, and could face arbitration. D'Agostini hasn't even been given a qualifying offer. Philip McRae looked good, but he's still a kid, and needs to stay in Peoria barring injury. Chris Porter also needs to stay in Peoria, though if you want to plunk him on a 4th line that's serviceable as well.
Everyone else on that list aside from Reaves, Porter, McRae, and Janssen are capable of top nine time. That means that there are nine (ten if you count D'Agostini) guys for the top nine. We're going to be hopeful and pretend that Perron will be playing next year. We'll also assume that Crombeen will be going fourth line.
If Porter stays up, and Reaves is signed, there's your fourth line. All things considered, then, the Blues need a third liner and a top six forward. Two if Perron's still out, and maybe another one if D'Agostini doesn't get re-signed. Frankly, if you want to put Crombeen on the 3rd line, where he plays just fine, the Blues could make room for a 4th liner as well.
If the Blues want a bruiser with some hockey sense, they could go for Eric Boulton. Boulton, who has spent the past six seasons with Atlanta, is not expected to follow the Thrashers to Winnipeg. He usually has a +/- within just a few points of even either way on a team that allowed a LOT of goals. He averages between seven and a half to ten minutes a night (which would be double Cam Janssen), and also recently won the Puck Daddy fight of the year for this brawl?
If you want veteran leadership, there's always Jason Arnott. Unfortunately, there's also his salary, which last year was around $4.5 million. Eric Cole, formerly of the Carolina Hurricanes, could also work on a second line in a pinch, with his 26 goals and 26 assists. That could replace D'Agostini's loss if he doesn't re-sign. If D'Agostini does re-sign, then Cole would be a nice compliment.
Eric Belanger's a reasonable cap hit ($1.7 million last season) for a more than competent player who had 13 goals and 27 assists for career highs last season with the Phoenix Coyotes. The Blues need penalty kill help, and Belanger could do the trick there. Also helpful, though a long-shot, is face-off quarterback Marty Reasoner. Drafted by the Blues 14th overall in 1996, Reasoner had 14 goals and 18 assists, along with a 54.5% even strength face-off percentage. There's a reason that the Panthers had the sixth overall penalty kill in the league, and Reasoner had a good bit to do with it.
Top six wise, the most reasonable option for the Blues might be Scottie Upshall. He made $1.5 million last year with the Blue Jackets. He managed 22 goals and 12 assists between Phoenix and Columbus last season, and would be moderately good insurance in case David Perron does not start the season with the team.
As usual, Blues fans, temper your expectations. The team doesn't have the money to throw huge contracts around, and while they're $20 million under the cap limit, there's no way that they ever spend that much.
It's not a long contract by any means, but the Blues locked up forward T.J. Oshie for one more season the day before the free agent frenzy was about to begin. There was some concern over offer sheets and the like, but the Blues put those to rest with their contract worth $2.35 million dollars for one season.
Why so short? Oshie needs to prove himself. When he's on the ice, he's a pinball with skates, capable of amazing moves - he never stops. The problem is that he's never been on the ice for a full 82 games - or anything close to that. Injuries have cut short his previous seasons, so while Blues fans have seen flashes of ability, they haven't been exposed to it consistently. If the fans haven't, the team brass haven't either.
Don't worry. Oshie won't walk at the end of this season. He'll stil be an RFA, so the Blues will be able to re-negotiate his contract. If he stays healthy all year, produces like everyone believes that he can, and doesn't go AWOL from practice, next time this year Oshie could be getting a serious payday. If he likes it here as much as he says, he's got motivation from all areas to have a career season.
The Blues could always use one or two extra defensemen in the stables. As we saw last season, as every defenseman except for Eric Brewer missed time with injury, the quality of call-ups is important. The thing that the Blues might want to avoid this season is having said call-ups play for half of the year. It's swell that Nikita Nikitin got 41 games of experience last year and really blossomed, but he was the exception, not the rule.
The problem the Blues have here this season isn't necessarily defensive depth (though a few spare cogs never hurt anyone) but what to do with Nikitin? He's presumably the team's 6th defenseman. You don't take young talent like him, and make him munch on pretzels in the pressbox for 3/4ths of a season. The Blues are more than likely going to have to add a 7th defenseman since they decided to not extend Dave Scatchard a qualifying offer.
A cheap alternative to the UFA market is to offer a contract to either Tyson Strachan or Nathan Oystrick, both pending UFAs and both capable 7th defensemen. If they want to look at the market, and wade through some of the bigger names (no, Blues fans, the team won't make a go at Tomas Kaberle or Anton Babchuck - or even Brent Sopel and Paul Mara), there are a few capable, older defensemen out there who could be role guys.
Tops of this list is probably Shane Hnidy. Inexpensive - last year's cap hit was just a half-million dollars - he brings years of NHL experience along with a Stanley Cup ring. Unfortunately, Hnidy's been injury prone, missing a decent chunk of time last season with a leg injury and a shoulder injury sustained in training camp. He played as many games in the playoffs as he did in the regular season.
Another possible addition could be to bring Jeff Woywitka back from Dallas, where he had 2 goals and 9 assists in 63 games played.
Freddy Meyer would be a solid choice for the Blues, but he's under contract to play for Modo in Sweden for next year. Meyer missed the last third or so of the Thrashers' season last year after suffering a concussion in a game against the Calgary Flames and collapsing center ice. No word's been released on his condition or if he's expected to be in playing shape for this coming season.
It's slim pickings for non-regularly playing defensemen this year. The Blues might as well toss a contract at Strachan or Oystrick.
In a surprising turn of events, the Blues did not tender a qualifying offer to one of their most appealing RFAs, Matt D'Agostini. D'Agostini turned himself from a healthy scratch in 2009-2010 to a player who netted 21 goals and 25 assists last season playing top six minutes. Last season being a "breakout year" for the young forward is an understatement.
Breakout seasons, though often mean inflated contracts should a deal go to arbitration. If the Blues gave D'Agostini a QO and he chose to go to arbitration, the amount the Blues might've had to pay him would be significantly higher than the $550,000 he made last season. Sure, the Blues can afford it, but that's not the point - no one wants to pay more for something than they have to, regardless of the product.
D'Agostini, if unsigned by July 1st, becomes an unrestricted free agent. It seems like the Blues are still working on a deal, which can be struck before Friday. Says Steve Bartlett, D'Agostini's agent:
"I think we're still working on it in good faith," Bartlett said. "Our first hope is to get something done (in St. Louis). We had several good conversations, and we'll continue to have good conversations."
However, there are UFAs a-plenty and RFAs who have not been given qualifying offers by their clubs yet. Tyler Kennedy, Anthony Stewart, and Niclas Bergfors are all capable of playing top six/top nine minutes, and Bergfors especially is capable - when he tries - of scoring those kind of numbers easily.
The Blues today tendered offers to three restricted free agents: T.J. Oshie, Ben Bishop, and Ryan Reaves. Oshie was widely expected to be one of the first RFAs to have an offer sheet given to him, but there has been a hold-up in negotiations. The Blues, chances are good, view Oshie as worth slightly less of a contract than Oshie's agent did - which makes sense. Oshie's missed considerable bits of time in each of his NHL seasons, and thanks to that has yet to crack the 20 goal mark. Jeremy Rutherford also points out that his little two game suspension could make other teams weary of extending an offer sheet to St. Louis for Oshie's services. Obviously, the Blues would also take that into account if they're going about determining how much they should pay Oshie in re-signing him.
Oshie's salary paid him $1,275,000; Bishop's paid $893,333, and Reaves' paid $500,000. Reaves at least will be getting 110% of last year's salary; Bishop 105%. Oshie is not guaranteed a raise, though chances are fairly good that he will be given one. The interesting thing for Oshie, though, is length of contract. He's going to have to be locked up for a good bit - a short term, one or two year contract deal and he'll still be an RFA at the end of it. Any longer than that, and the Blues are going to have to deal with an Oshie who is an unrestricted free agent.
Of course, depending on how Oshie plays over the next two years, and if the Blues find someone just as talented who isn't constantly hurt, this might not be an issue.
If these three Blues accept their contracts and sign, it's a done deal. If not, they're still restricted free agents and the Blues have first negotiating priority until arbitration. If an arbitrator states that the player is worth more than the team is willing to pay (as notably happened last season with Clarke MacArthur and the Atlanta Thrashers), then the player can walk and explore unrestricted free agency. The deadline to file for arbitration is July 5th.
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