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What’s next for Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz?

Bozak and Schwartz are two of the biggest names when it comes to the Blues’ offseason.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues have some tough decisions to make. Obviously, center Tyler Bozak and left winger Jaden Schwartz are two unrestricted free agents that have jumbled up the overall picture of the upcoming offseason.

At 35 years old, Bozak is a veteran who signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Blues on July 1, 2018. He previously played nine seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won a Stanley Cup with the Blues on June 12, 2019.

Meanwhile, Schwartz is still young as he’s 27 years old. He’ll turn 28 on June 25th. The Blues avoided arbitration when they signed him to a five-year, $26.75 million contract on July 15, 2016. He was originally drafted 14th overall by the Blues in the 2010 NHL Draft.

Both Bozak and Schwartz should stay in St. Louis. Here are a few reasons why.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Bozak is interested in returning to the Blues next season. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as he’s one of the team’s top players on the penalty kill unit. He has been an offensive force recently for the Blues, scoring four points (one goal, three assists) in his last five games in addition to the seven points (three goals, four assists) in the 12 games following his return from a concussion that sidelined him for 21 games. He adds depth to the Blues’ roster, but the Blues are facing a salary cap crunch so he has to love the City of St. Louis so much that he’d sign for a discount.

Bozak contributed to the Blues at Vegas Golden Knights game on May 7th. The Blues lost 4-3 in overtime, but managed to clinch the fourth and final playoff spot as the Los Angeles Kings dropped a 3-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche at the Staples Center. Bozak’s two assists on Ryan O’Reilly’s 24th goal of the season and Jaden Schwartz’s seventh goal of the season carried a noteworthy level of importance.

In his postgame press conference appearance, Bozak told the media: “I’m happy for our team and the guys, but this is when the fun starts and the hard work starts so we still got to keep building. I know we clinched, but these last however many games we have are important.”

“Keep our good habits. Keep building our game. And go into the playoffs on a strong note.”

Bozak isn’t a captain or an alternate captain, but he’s a veteran who has gradually returned from injury. He has a hard-working attitude along with great leadership skills. He’s an example of what the Blues need.

Some have said that the Blues should have traded Schwartz at the deadline, but I respectfully disagree. He has been a key player for the Blues’ offense. The Blues have struggled to score at times this season, but it wasn’t entirely on Schwartz. He hasn’t had a career year like in years past, but three points (one goal, two assists) in his last five games is better than nothing. Plus he ranks fourth in the team’s history with 26 career playoff goals and leads all current Blues in career playoff points with 54 points (26 goals, 28 assists) in 84 games thus far.

Schwartz’s most recent goal came in the second period of the Blues at Golden Knights game on May 7th. His seventh goal of the season was an insurance goal that was assisted by Bozak and Brayden Schenn. He has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) on the season along with a +2 rating. He’s still a pretty good player, but I see him making less than the $5.35 million annual salary that he currently makes, should he choose to re-sign with the Blues. He has been inconsistent in scoring goals this season. Plus the Blues’ salary cap isn’t too flexible.

Schwartz provides the offensive help that the Blues need in the regular season as well as the postseason. He just has to be a little more aggressive with the puck when he’s on the ice.