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June 11, 2013 | 1:20pm ET
Blues to match any and all offer sheets
TheFourthPeriod.com

With four high-profile restricted free agents to sign, there's no doubt it will be a busy summer for St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong.

Armstrong has made it clear, however, that none of the four, consisting of forwards Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, are getting away via an offer sheet.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Blues have only had preliminary talks with these players, and free agency, which begins on July 5, is fast approaching.

"We haven't really moved ahead with anyone yet," Armstrong told the paper. "We'll probably do that, I'd say, 10 days before the draft to two weeks before the draft. We'll talk to guys if they want to get something done sooner, we're prepared, but history shows that these guys usually don't sign until after the free-agency period starts."

Although this is the first time the Blues have such big-name free agents to deal with, the team's salary cap situation puts Armstrong at ease. According to CapGeek, St. Louis is estimated to have $41 million allocated amongst 16 players, leaving them with nearly $23 million in cap space.

"If there's an offer sheet there, we're very content with where we are with the NHL salary cap, we're going to be able to match any offer and we will," Armstrong said. "These are core players that we're not going to let go."

With the salary cap dropping, most teams will be focusing on cutting their payroll down, therefore making large contracts unrealistic for many. Armstrong was confident enough to say that the team could match offer sheets for all four players without exceeding the cap.

It certainly would be ideal for the team to sign all four players before they hit free agency, but Armstrong doesn't expect that to happen more than anyone else.

"From a team standpoint, it's better to get it done earlier because then you know entering free agency, if you have a surplus of money, you can get into the market," Armstrong said. "But I've been doing this for almost 20 years now. I understand how the process works."


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