Lost in all of the fanfare about Paul Stastny's practice debut with the Blues, which has been as well documented as a couple's first baby on Facebook and Instagram, is the fact that Jaden Schwartz and the Blues are still nowhere near close to a deal being signed.
There are always going to be a few fan responses to this information. First off is the knee-jerk "he hates us/he's a money grubber/we're never going to sign him" reaction. This year, those fans can point at the two-year bridge deal that both sides seem to want. Of course, that kind of deal doesn't mean Schwartz doesn't want to be in St. Louis or that he "doesn't believe" or that there's no "buy-in." But to some people it's glaringly obvious that it does.
Ignore those people.
Those who read Game Time during Alex Pietrangelo's contract talks can probably already guess my stance on the whole situation with Schwartz. It's business, it's complicated, it's not a reflection on the Blues, and calm the hell down.
From STL Today and Jeremy Rutherford is a great interview with Doug Armstrong and Schwartz's agent, Wade Arnott. Both sides are forthwright about the discussions, and here's the short of it:
1. They're apart on compensation, not term
2. Armstrong believes that Schwartz's job experience isn't enough to warrant a huge raise, so looking at him again after the bridge deal is the best way to handle this. Obviously, Schhwartz's agent would like to see more initial compensation. That's fine. He's an agent. It's his job.
3. The Blues are really really close to the salary cap right now, believe it or not. They're $2.7 million under it. Presumably Arnott would like to see his client get paid more than that, which would necessitate a trade. This isn't Petro, though; I can't see a roster player getting dealt specifically to deal with this situation. If one does, it won't be a major player.
This is a bit different situation than last year in that both sides seem to be nearly on the same page. Yes, with camp inching closer, the risk of Schwartz not participating in some of it increases. The risk of him not participating when it counts is close to nil.