The Blues' free agency this off-season may come fast and furious, or we all may have to wait until August to get our free agency fix. Why? The Blues, and Doug Armstrong, are focused on getting their key RFA re-signed. Vladimir Tarasenko, regardless of offer-sheets or anything else, will be a St. Louis Blue for a few more years to come (and hopefully past that).
Said Armstrong to Jeremy Rutherford:
"We’re going to be fair, as fair as possible under the cap system," Armstrong said. "We have to use the CBA to an extent, but not to the extent that you use on other people. We might not give him exactly what he wants. But I’m not going into this like (the Blues don’t) respect what he’s accomplished and respect what he can accomplish. He’s earned the conversations that we’re going to have.
"(But) the elite paid players are on their third contracts or fourth contracts. They’re not on their second contracts. So (Tarasenko) is going to be very well compensated on a second contract. But you make more money when you have more rights. He doesn’t have unrestricted free agency rights and that’s just the nature of the beast. That’s the business. He gets it, Mike gets it, I get it."
Well, ok. Hopefully everyone actually does "get it" in this case.
More interesting, of course, is this:
"We are not going to be active in signing other players until we get him taken care of," Armstrong said. "If it means allowing players to go to free agency, if it means making players sweat it out on what their deal’s going to be, he’s the priority for us.
"I’d like to partner with him, I’d like to partner with Mike. If it happens in May, great. If it happens in June, great. If it happens in August, great. He’s the primary guy."
He is the primary guy, and he should be. However, he's not the only guy. The Blues have some other RFAs to lock up, a couple UFAs they may want to re-sigm, and of course, July 1st is always going to be a thing. Vladdy's contract needs to get done as soon as the team and Mike Luit can get it done, so the team can shore up some soft spots.