After being active in the early stages of free agency, the Blues will be turning their focus to re-signing their own players now. The most notable of those is RFA defenseman Joel Edmundson. GM Doug Armstrong told reporters, including Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that they have had initial talks with him so far but plan to really pick up negotiations next week.
Edmundson is coming off of the best season of his brief career, one that saw him collect seven goals and ten assists in 69 games while averaging over 20 minutes per game for the first time. He also led the Blues in blocked shots per game. Edmundson filed for arbitration last week and his case has been set for July 25th which gives the two sides two weeks to hammer out a deal before going to the hearing.
Elsewhere around the league:
- Veteran unrestricted free agent winger Brian Gionta hasn’t decided whether he’s finished playing or not, he acknowledged during an interview with the NHL Network (video link). He sat out most of last season but played in the Olympics and then signed with Boston for the stretch run but was told that they would not be offering him a new contract this summer. He’s certainly at peace with having possibly playing his last game, stating that “The main focus right now is my family, my kids and trying to figure out what’s best for everyone involved. I’ve had a great run, playing a long time in the NHL, and if this is the end, it’s the end.” If he does retire, Gionta could potentially get into coaching, something he dipped his toes into briefly last month as he served as a guest coach at Buffalo’s development camp.
- After being unable to land a replacement for center Valtteri Filppula via free agency, the Flyers could be forced to shift Claude Giroux back to his former position, notes John Boruk of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Giroux flourished last season as a winger where he led the league in assists with 68 and finished second in points with 102. However, considering that they have strong depth on the wing, shifting the 30-year-old back down the middle would allow them to run a much more balanced attack next season. With the free agent market for centers largely dry, it will be interesting to see if GM Ron Hextall makes a trade for some insurance at center or if he opts to stick with the status quo and opens up the potential for Giroux to change positions again.