The Blues erased any offseason drama regarding their own free agents several months ago, when they re-signed defenseman Jay Bouwmeester last August and forward Alexander Steen in December. They would have been the Blues’ top priorities this summer if not for the club taking them off the block early. Any other agreements between the Blues, who also inked Ryan Reaves and Brian Elliott, and their pending free agents will probably come after the start of NHL free agency on July 1. That means unrestricted free agents forwards Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo are expected to hit the market without a deal, along with Ryan Miller, whom the club already announced it would not be re-signing. No deals are imminent either for restricted free agents Vladimir Sobotka and Patrik Berglund and entry-level player Jaden Schwartz — although the Blues will retain the rights of those players. “I think we’ve seen the trend when most teams are signing their own players (early),” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “We did that with Bouwmeester and we did that obviously with Steen.” Armstrong has spoken with representatives for each of the players, but said that he plans to hold off for now because “I want to make sure we have the ability to make player acquisitions at the draft (June 27-28). “Our payroll has consistently climbed due to the success of our team. Right now we have enough dollars to make it, (but) we’re going to sign all of our restricted free agents. So that pushes you to an area where you want to make sure if you’re going to get into the free-agent pool, you have the cap space and dollar space to do that.” The Blues currently have 18 players signed for the 2014-15 season and a salary-cap figure of $49.3 million, according to Capgeek.com.
Blues worked ahead on their own free agents
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jun 22