Optimistic outlook: UND’s Schmaltz confident deal with St. Louis Blues will get done before camp

GRAND FORKS -- Jordan Schmaltz skated around Ralph Engelstad Arena's Olympic Rink on Thursday morning, Aug. 23, wearing his St. Louis Blues helmet. Although the former University of North Dakota standout does not have a contract for next season, ...

GRAND FORKS - Jordan Schmaltz skated around Ralph Engelstad Arena's Olympic Rink on Thursday morning, Aug. 23, wearing his St. Louis Blues helmet.

Although the former University of North Dakota standout does not have a contract for next season, it's still expected that he will be wearing that same Blues helmet come the start of training camp on Sept 13.

Schmaltz is a restricted free agent and St. Louis is tight against the salary cap. According to CapFriendly.com, the Blues have less than $300,000 in cap space. Detroit is the only team closer to the salary cap than St. Louis.

"For me, I'm just basically waiting to sign a contract, to agree on a deal," Schmaltz said after Thursday morning's skate. "It will get done before camp."

Schmaltz started last season with San Antonio in the American Hockey League. After tallying 23 points in 31 games from the blue line, he was called up to the Blues.

Schmaltz battled injuries while with St. Louis, but he played in 13 games.

The former all-National Collegiate Hockey Conference defenseman said he knows this year is an important one.

"I think I can definitely prove something this year and go in and show that I can do it," Schmaltz said. "I think I have to go and break out of my shell and prove that I can play."

For now, he's working out with his friends and former teammates.

Schmaltz spent the summer in Los Angeles with Paul LaDue, Keaton Thompson, Derek Forbort and others. He met up with UND head coach Brad Berry one weekend and the two hashed out plans for this week's pro camp.

Schmaltz was responsible for getting together most of the players.

"It's the best setup right now this time of year for us," he said. "We need a couple of skates, a couple of hours. We have all the facilities we need right here and not a lot of distractions. It's good to be back in Grand Forks."

Besides skating, Schmaltz has one other plan on the agenda while in town.

"Eat Red Pepper every other day," he said.

UND's pro camp will end with a skate at 9:30 a.m. today in The Ralph's Olympic Arena. It is open to the public.

Schmaltz said he hopes they're able to continue holding these pro camps in the future.

"We had a pretty good turnout," Schmaltz said. "When you're here, the teams and the guys you hang out with are so close, you're almost with them every day. So, to kind of relive those moments and hang out with some buddies before the season is always a good thing, along with getting in some work on the ice."