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Hope you enjoyed the parade. Now, take a deep breath — the meat of the offseason is upon us.

The NHL draft is Friday and Saturday in Vancouver, B.C. The schedule for the 2019-20 season will be out before the end of the month. The Blues’ developmental camp for prospects takes place next week. And the free agency period begins in 13 days, on July 1.

If all this seems to be happening too quickly, that’s what happens when you go to the Stanley Cup Final (and win it).

Tough as it may be to do so, general manager Doug Armstrong and his front office staff must come down from the emotional high of the Cup championship and begin shaping the roster for next season.

Before all that, there will be one last stick tap for the 2018-19 season — the NHL Awards show Wednesday in Las Vegas.

The Blues have four representatives up for five awards at the show, which will be televised by NBCSN starting at 7 p.m. Central:

• Armstrong is up for GM of the Year along with fellow finalists Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and Don Waddell of the Carolina Hurricanes.

• Craig Berube is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) along with Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders.

• Goalie Jordan Binnington is a finalist for the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) along with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres and forward Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks.

• Center Ryan O’Reilly is up for both the Lady Byng and Selke trophies. The Lady Byng recognizes sportsmanship combined with playing ability. O’Reilly’s competition for this award is Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers and Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames.

The Selke goes to the best defensive forward, and the other finalists there are Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights.

There will also be separate moments during the awards show to recognize the Blues as winners of the Campbell Trophy as Western Conference champions and as winners of the Stanley Cup as NHL champions. Additionally, O’Reilly will be recognized as the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Actor and St. Louis native Jon Hamm will be one of the presenters at the show.

Once the awards show ends, ready or not, it’s time to get ready for the 2019-20 season, beginning with the NHL draft this weekend. Barring any trades, it figures to be a low-key affair for the Blues, who don’t pick until the end of the second round.

Buffalo gets the Blues’ first-round pick as a result of the O’Reilly trade, No. 31 overall. The Blues don’t make their first pick until the end of the second round, No. 62 overall. As of now, the Blues have only four picks in the seven-round draft:

• Round 2, No. 62 overall.

• Round 3, No. 93 overall.

• Round 5, No. 155 overall.

• Round 7, No. 217 overall.

The Blues’ fourth-round pick (No. 124 overall) now belongs to Toronto as a result of a prior deal. Similarly, their sixth-round pick (No. 186 overall) belongs to Anaheim.

Because they are Stanley Cup champions, the Blues pick last in every round. So the No. 217 overall pick closes out the draft — hockey’s version of Mr. Irrelevant if you will.

Just nine days after the draft concludes, on July 1, the free agency period begins. With the in-season signings of defensemen Jay Bouwmeester (one year, $3.25 million) and Robert Bortuzzo (three years, $4.12 million), the Blues only have two regulars slated for unrestricted free agency: forward Pat Maroon and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson.

The Blues also have six other players on the fringe of the roster scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in forwards Chris Thorburn and Jordan Nolan, defensemen Chris Butler, Michael Del Zotto and Tyler Wotherspoon, and goalie Jared Coreau.

Wotherspoon and Coreau spent their 2018-19 seasons in the American Hockey League and did not play in the NHL. Thorburn, Nolan, Butler and Del Zotto played a combined 35 games with the Blues this season, led by Nolan’s 14.

The main area of free-agent activity for Armstrong will be restricted free agency, where Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Binnington, Sammy Blais, Joel Edmundson, Robby Fabbri, Zach Sanford and Oskar Sundqvist all are RFA’s.

Binnington, Edmundson, Sanford and Sundqvist are all arbitration eligible, with Binnington headed for a huge pay hike. Sundqvist also figures to get a nice boost.

The Blues are projected to have $18.7 million of salary cap space according to CapFriendly.com, and logic says most of that money will go towards retaining Blues free agents, although you can never be sure with Armstrong.

Unrestricted free agents can meet with other teams starting June 23. Qualifying offers to restricted free agents can be made June 25.

And as of Monday, the contract buyout period for players has begun. There has been some speculation about the Blues and a potential buyout of the remaining two years of Alexander Steen’s contract.

One last thing. Sometime before the start of free agency, and likely within the next week, the 2019-20 schedule will be released by the NHL.

Teams are at liberty to release their own preseason schedules. Although the Blues have yet to release theirs — they’ve been kind of busy lately — most of their exhibition schedule is known because of announcements by other clubs:

• Mon. Sept. 16, at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

• Weds., Sept. 18, at Washington, 6 p.m.

• Fri., Sept. 20, at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.

• Tues. Sept. 24, Dallas, 7 p.m.

• Thurs., Sept. 26, Detroit (at Calumet, Mich.), 6 p.m.

• Fri., Sept. 27, Washington, 7 p.m.


Jim Thomas covers Blues hockey for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.