Moving Forward: Contracts

Jonathan Daniel

A look at who is under contract and who might be on the move.

The season ended in terrible fashion, few will dispute that. The question is, will next season be any better? After every season teams say goodbye to players and welcome new. I won't be speculating on who we will be bringing in, but I will be looking at those who we might be saying goodbye to. These are the players who will still be under contract next season.

David Backes
T.J. Oshie
Alex Steen
Magnus Paajarvi
Maxim Lapierre
Frank Tarasenko
Dmitrij Jaskin
Chris Porter
Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester
Alex Pietrangelo
Kevin Shattenkirk
Barret Jackman
Roman Polak
Jordan Leopold
Ian Cole

The notable Jake Allen and Ty Rattie are also under contract but played last season in the AHL.

So who is missing from the above list, and of those who might come back?

Jaden Schwartz - High
Schwartz was a huge part of the Blues offense this season and had a good run in the playoffs. Schwartz and Tarasenko are both young players and have grown beautifully together. Schwartz is a restricted free agent, which makes it that much easier for the Blues to retain him. I would be speechless if St. Louis allows Schwartz to walk in free agency.

Vladdy Sobotka - Medium
Sobotka is a good player, but has been placed too high up in the lineup for some time. He is a favorite of coach Hitchcock. If Hitchcock is retained as coach, expect Sobotka back without a doubt. He would be better suited as a 3rd line center, but as the coaches pet, will likely not be placed that low.

Patrik Berglund - Medium 
Berglund had a hot stretch when he returned from the olympics, but that soon disappeared. The Blues need a true scoring threat from the center position, and Berglund just isn't that guy. He is a restricted free agent, and I don't imagine teams will be beating down his door after his performance in the playoffs, that means the Blues might be able to retain him on the cheap. He would be better used as a depth player rather than in the top 6.

Adam Cracknell - Medium
Cracknell scored his first playoff goal this season. He saw little ice time through the season, but played well on the 4th line before it was broken up after game 2. I'm still scratching my head over that one. Cracknell could easily be replaced, but he has heart and is a capable 4th liner.

Steve Ott - Low
Ott was a rental player at best. He played well in the playoffs, but never scored a goal as a Blue. He was very capable on the faceoff, and was semi-capable when taking over for the injured David Backes. If he is brought back it should be because of his play in the playoffs, and he shouldn't see steady ice time.

Brian Elliott - Low
Elliott was the forgotten man on the roster once Miller was brought in, but he might have been the better option in the playoffs. Could Elliott be kept on to second fiddle Allen next season? Its possible.

Ryan Miller - Low
Miller wasn't the player the Blues wanted, and with Jake Allen coming up from the AHL, it seems less and less likely we see him back.

Brenden Morrow - Low
Age and lack of production will do Morrow in. I enjoyed watching him, but the Blues need an infusion of youth and scoring ability. Morrow doesn't offer that. Don't expect to see him back.

Derek Roy - I'd barf if they did
Roy was brought in to be the center that the Blues needed. He was invisible all season. The Blues need a real goal scoring threat from a true center. Roy is old and proved he isn't that guy anymore. He was placed back in the lineup late in the playoffs replacing Adam Cracknell, and fans nearly rioted; if that tells you anything about how much he is liked and his production.

The Blues weren't built to win this cup this season, but if you think they are that far off I beg to differ.

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