Schmaltz agreed to terms on a two-year contract with St. Louis on Wednesday. With the Blues just days away from the start of training camp, Schmaltz finally put pen to paper on a new contract. The deal is two-way for 2018-19 before converting to a one-way in the second year and comes in at just $700,000 annually. Whether the blueliner secures a spot on the Opening Night roster against Winnipeg on Oct. 4 likely won't be determined until closer to the end of camp.
Schmaltz has been in St. Louis skating with the Blues, despite how he remains a restricted free agent this late in the offseason, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic reports. Rutherford opines that this is a wise decision on Schmaltz's part, and we agree completely, as it shows that the defenseman's focus is on hockey first and foremost. The Wisconsin native has only produced three points over 22 games at the top level since making his NHL debut in March of 2017.
Schmaltz, who is a restricted free agent, remains unsigned with training camp three weeks away. Schmaltz is likely seeking a one-way contract even though he'll spend most of 2018-19 with AHL San Antonio, barring a slew of injuries. The 2012 first-round pick could log NHL time to kick off the campaign, however, since Jay Bouwmeester (hip) and Carl Gunnarsson (knee) are both coming off season-ending surgeries. The Blues need to keep Schmaltz around, too, as four of their top seven defensemen will hit free agency next summer.
Schmaltz was extended a qualifying offer by the Blues on Sunday, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The 2012 first-round pick by the Blues has waited patiently for his chance to shine, and it has rarely surfaced. Schmaltz has suited up for just 22 NHL games in the last two seasons, and he's played the rest in the AHL. Time is running out too, as rookie Vince Dunn stole his roster spot last season, and the Blues' Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson, who are both the same age as Schmaltz (25), have full-time positions locked up. However, Schmaltz will get a chance to prove himself early if he stays in St. Louis, since Jay Bouwmeester (hip) and Carl Gunnarsson (knee) are both recovering from surgery.
Schmaltz dealt with a concussion at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports. The Wisconsin native sustained his injury in a March 30 contest against the Golden Knights and would end up missing the last five games of the regular season. Schmaltz only managed one point (an assist) through 13 games, as his career is still in the infant stages.
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