As free agency gets closer, we've identified just two things the Blues really need to get done right now: backup goaltender and sign Roman Polak. One of those things can't happen until free agency begins and the other has apparently hit a brick wall.
Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch reported not in a newspaper story or blog post or on Twitter but in a posting on the Blues Talk Forum at STLToday (is that retro by new media standards?) that it appears Polak will not be signed before he becomes a restricted free agent.
It appears that Polak will not be re-signed by the start of free agency. Therefore, Polak will be subject to offer sheets from around the league. How much interest will there be in Polak? It looks like we may find out.
The Blues, of course, can match any offer sheet given to Polak. He has already received a qualifying offer from the Blues for $522,500.
Well that sucks. As we learned last summer with David Backes, other teams are actually paying attention to the Blues and want some of their young players. We also learned that the Blues don't like other teams meddling with their youngsters and will turn the tables and sign an RFA just to return the favor.
Right now, here's what we know:
- Roman Polak can sign with any team that offers him a contract. The Blues can match, but they then inherit that contract. The Blues could also pass and allow Polak to leave.
- Polak is a young defenseman who is deceptively fast (more than once his inexperience showed last year when he got caught out of position in the other end or the neutral zone, but his speed allowed him to catch up to the play and break it up). He's also a big kid who plays a physical game. A little more seasoning and he could be a legit second pairing guy who also spends time on the power play.
- Polak's combination of skills is hard to find in young players.
- Other teams are run by dicks who would take great pleasure in signing Polak to a fairly large contract just to make the Blues squirm or stick them with a larger contract than they were willing to offer.
The Backes signing was the first shot across the bow in this drama between the ownership trying to manage the growing number of valuable RFAs and the young players trying to cash in on their value. Polak and his agent saw the three-year, $7.5 million offer Backes go last year. That was coming off 13 goals and 31 points in 72 games. Polak had one goal and 15 points in 69 games. It figures to reason that the Blues offered less than the Backes contract and Polak is expecting an offer of at least that much. And if we can find it, the RFA compensation is also floating out there for a player who is allowed to leave.
If sports betting were legal in Missouri, I'd put my money on an offer from another team and a match from the Blues -- as long as the contract isn't out of left field expensive. The GM Translator machine can't wait for the Blues' response.
So Blues fans, are you nervous? Gallagher listed Polak as an important part of the seemingly revamped St. Louis defensive corps. He's part of the future, but at what price? Let us know in the comments.
And anyone who stops by to read and hasn't jumped into the comments, join us. Signing up is easy and we value pretty much everybody's opinion. Even people from Europe!