ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Blues and restricted free agent forward Jaden Schwartz have avoided arbitration and agreed on a five-year contract extension worth $26.75 million.
Re-signing the 24-year-old Schwartz was a top priority for the team, which lost in the Western Conference finals to San Jose. The Blues have given long-term deals to forward Vladimir Tarasenko and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, but this summer allowed captain David Backes to leave for a free-agent deal with Minnesota.
''I have no problem giving out long-term contracts,'' general manager Doug Armstrong said on the team's website. ''You just want to make sure the player is at that level.''
The arbitration case had been set for Wednesday.
In 240 games with St. Louis, the former first-round draft pick has 70 goals and 157 points. He was limited to 33 games by a fractured ankle last season, and had eight goals and 14 assists.