Like so many before him, Schwartz is one of those polarizing figures that draws a lot of attention. He is beloved by those that support him and has a fan base that does not like any unkind word said about him.
So, it is with no great joy to say that the Blues cannot overpay him. He just doesn’t provide as much as people think to deserve a huge raise.
That is not to say the Blues should not keep him. There is absolutely no reason to lose Schwartz.
He provides a lot of intangibles. He has a motor better than many of the team’s forwards, has good hockey sense for where to be and where his teammates are and is not shy from the physical side of the game.
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As with any player looking for a new contract, it all boils down to how much. Schwartz is earning a cap hit of $5.35 million.
Schwartz loyalists will say he deserves a big raise. For me, anything over $6 million is too much.
Schwartz is valuable to the Blues, but how do you evaluate intangibles? You can talk all you want about he does this or that, but eventually you hit a point where those intangibles don’t equal the value of the contract.
A look at NHL contracts and there’s a lot of overpaid players in the $6 million range. William Karlsson is right around Schwartz’ age, got paid based on one good season and has seen his stats drop every season after joining Vegas.
You can argue that Schwartz deserves more money than Chris Kreider, who makes $6.5 million. Do you really want to pay that much money for a player that has not scored 30 goals?
Sean Monahan earns $6.375 million. He’s also had two 30-plus goal seasons and four seasons over 60 points. Schwartz’ best year was 63 points and it was once.
Nathan MacKinnon, the man who just had three consecutive 90-plus point seasons, earns $6.3 million. Granted, the Avalanche signed him early, but can we really argue that Schwartz deserves the same amount of money as someone scoring more than 30 points per season than he is?
Kyle Okposo earns $6 million and is only 32. That’s a bad contract right now.
Milan Lucic earns $6 million. Same thing – 32 and it’s a bad contract.
The Blues should keep Schwartz if possible. He knows the team, knows the system and connects with the city and its fans very well.
But, he’s just not worth what some fans want to pay him. Social media is often littered with random comments of “pay the man!” or “just sign him to whatever he wants already.”
That’s not smart business.
The Blues have made great decisions on trades and good choices on when to walk away from pending free agents. They have not made decisions as well regarding their contract extensions.
So, they need to tread lightly with Schwartz. A raise is fine, but tenure with the team is not enough to bump it up too high compared to what it is right now.