Source: Matthew Hulsizer has deal

Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer has reached a verbal agreement to purchase the St. Louis Blues, a source told ESPN.com Wednesday afternoon.

Hulsizer is looking to become the principal owner of the team, the source said.

It's believed the price tag could go as high as $190 million if the Peabody Opera House, adjacent to Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis, is included among the assets, according to the source.

The source cautioned there is a lot of work to be done before any deal for the franchise is complete.

Hulsizer had previously made a bid to buy the financially troubled Phoenix Coyotes from the league but withdrew his bid weeks ago and began exploring other opportunities.

The Blues' owners -- team president Dave Checketts' group, Sports Capital Partners Worldwide and Towerbrook Capital Partners -- placed the franchise and Scottrade Center on the market in March.

The deal could allow Checketts to remain with the Blues in some form of management, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday, citing three sources.

Scott Burnside is an NHL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.