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Report: Blues, Schwartz making progress, still about $500K apart

St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: Jaden Schwartz #9 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on April 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Blues 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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Most of the RFA haggling updates from TSN’s latest Insider Trading segment seemed to trot out the same vague doom and gloom - things still appear pretty “nasty” between Ryan Johansen and the Columbus Blue Jackets, while there’s similarly little progress with Dan Ellis and the Nashville Predators - but Pierre LeBrun provides somewhat-promising news regarding Jaden Schwartz and the St. Louis Blues.

The good: The two sides appear to be making progress and are $500K apart on a two-year “bridge” deal, which at least stands as promising compared to the Johansen and Ellis situations.

The bad: $500K can be a bigger mountain to climb than one might think ... just ask Vladimir Sobotka, who allegedly left for the KHL over about $300K.

LeBrun reports that the Blues’ offer is at around a $2 million mark while Schwartz’s representatives are angling for about $2.6 million.

St. Louis is taxed quite a bit cap-space wise (LeBrun notes that the Blues are “counting every penny,”), but it’s plausible that Schwartz could be a steal at either price in 2014-15.

In the 22-year-old’s first true full season of NHL action (it’s tempting to throw out 2013-14 stats sometimes), Schwartz scored 25 goals and 56 points in 80 games played while showing significant improvements in possession stats. There are some interesting parallels between Schwartz and Johansen - from age to pedigree to seeing an enormous jump in productivity last season - but the remarkable thing is that it isn’t outrageous to expect comparable numbers from Schwartz ... even though it sounds like he could be much cheaper to sign.

(At least through 2014-15 and maybe 2015-16, that is.)

Some may criticize Blues GM Doug Armstrong’s ways considering Sobotka’s painful departure, but St. Louis enjoys a deep roster full of bargains (examples: David Backes at just $4.5 million per season and T.J. Oshie for only $4 million). Letting Schwartz walk over what could be a marginal amount of money would add some serious fuel to the fire, though.

Related: Armstrong will stay silent about Schwartz talks going forward

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins