Team's star center will 'most likely' hit the open market.


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It would appear that another big name is expected to hit the free agent market shortly.

St. Louis Blues' GM Doug Armstrong does not seem confident that the team will be able to re-sign captain David Backes before the start of free agency.

"I think the unrestricted guys will most likely hit the market," the general manager told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday.

"We'd like to have David back and hopefully as we push in we can get it done, but it has to work for both sides not just one."

Backes is one of five Blues' players who are pending UFAs heading into July 1, joining Troy Brouwer, Steve Ott, Scottie Upshall, and Kyle Brodziak.

The 32-year old is coming off of a rather uninspiring campaign, recording 21 goals and 45 points last season. He also chipped in 14 points in 20 playoff games. This marks his lowest totals in an 82-game season in the last six years.

Armstrong said Saturday he wants to reward the veteran for his contributions over the years, but also remains wary that Backes' production could continue to decline with age.

"We're willing to invest a little bit of 'thank you' money, but it has to make sense," the GM said. "He's earned the right ... but only to a level."

Armstrong added, "It's got to work for David and it's got to work for us. We haven't been able to find that common ground right now."

The Blues have approximatey $13 million in projected cap space and Armstrong will also need to negotiate new deals for pending restricted free agents Jaden Schwartz and Magnus Paajarvi.