The Blues basically finalized their 2018-19 roster by wrapping up the contract situation with Joel Edmundson. However, they will have to do this all over again next summer.
It is a fair price and a nice raise, considering he only made $1.2 last season. It’s a smart price too since the Blues are not betting the farm on him just yet while he is still in his formative years. In fact, I doubt you’ll find many, if any, that are too upset about the amount of money he is receiving.
The puzzling thing is the term. Edmundson is only going to be on this contract for one season. It has been explained and it makes sense, but then again it also does not.
As it was described in the Post-Dispatch, the reason the Blues went for one year was to keep the money low for this year. Apparently it would have cost them a higher cap hit to try and back-load a longer contract.
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So, I get the idea of going with one year now and then re-negotiating a contract when you potentially have more space. However, one could argue you are basically telling Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson this is their last year here. Either that or you are saying you’re out if you don’t take a paycut.
Neither one are all that condusive to having good years in their current spot. I’m not overly worried about that since they will be playing for their next paycheck one way or the other and are professionals, but you cannot discount the idea.
Also strange is the idea that you would not just try to convince Edmundson to sign a $3 million deal for longer. That way, you know what you are paying all of your significant players for at least two seasons. You could then count the money from those two defensive contracts as a net gain.
Instead, you have to plan on Edmundson taking a good chunk of that money away, if he has a good year. Also assuming a good year, you’d assume a decent chunk of that money will go toward Pat Maroon’s second season or more. He may want to be in St. Louis, but he’s not going to take a hometown discount for longer than this year.
As pointed out in the Post, the Blues have several defensive prospects waiting in the wings. Some of them are still on entry-level contracts. However, filling the defensive positions with bodies is not my concern. Being able to dip into a free agent pool is my concern.
Doug Armstrong has proven his ability to work trades when the moment demanded it. But, if the team continues to push toward the salary cap, then making trades is your only way of adding outside pieces. That’s fine as an idea, but in practice you tend to lose draft pieces and the Blues are getting a little thin in that department.
Again, nobody is complaining about another year of Edmundson. The vast majority are happy he is still here.
He is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon either since he will still be a restricted free agent until 2020.
It just does not feel safe to have to go this route. Having the team planned out feels much more like a safety blanket, but we will have to make do with the current situation.