- Longtime St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo is an unrestricted free agent.
- The probability that he’ll return to his former team dropped considerably with St. Louis signing defenseman Torey Krug.
- Pietrangelo is reportedly visiting Las Vegas this weekend and is seriously considering a deal with the Golden Knights.
The Vegas Golden Knights might have the inside track to signing the top prize of this year’s NHL free agent class. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is in Las Vegas this weekend and he’s not there for ‘R&R’. The word is that he’s visiting with VGK brass who are looking to woo him from ‘flyover country’ to the desert oasis.
The 30 year old Pietrangelo is a serious talent. To use an overused expression he ‘checks all the boxes’. The native of King City, Ontario has size (6’3″ 210), talent (finished fourth in this year’s Norris Trophy balloting, 2 time All Star) and leadership (was named captain of the St. Louis Blues in 2016). The Golden Knights think he could be the ‘final piece of the puzzle’ in the team’s quest for a Stanley Cup.
There have been significant developments in the free agent market to date that could further enhance the likelihood that Pietrangelo will be trading in his blue and white sweater for a gold and black one. The Blues are over the salary cap and more importantly have just signed fellow defenseman and former Boston Bruin Torey Krug. Pietrangelo was to some extent ‘blindsided’ by the Krug signing. Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic suggested that Pietrangelo was ‘caught off guard’ by St. Louis’ apparent quick decision to move on:
The spin in St. Louis is that the Blues offered him as much as they could in a year in which their revenue took a significant hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Blues couldn’t offer Pietrangelo the AAV (average annual value) that he wanted. It came down to that. Before Friday, the Blues could offer him the elusive yet treasured eighth year on a new contract, but their AAV was reportedly around $8. That would have been around a $1.5 million raise for Pietrangelo annually. To him, it wasn’t enough. For the Blues, it was all they could do.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong hasn’t completely shut the door on resigning Pietrangelo though he says “the likelihood isn’t great”. Unless Pietrangelo decides to play for free “the likelihood” is nonexistent. The Toronto Maple Leafs had some interest but the team signed former Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie to a four-year, $20 million contract instead. The Boston Bruins have some interest as do the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche but right now it looks like Vegas could not only have the most to offer him but would likely be the best situation for him as well. The Knights need a right handed shot defensemen–their two top blueliners are Shea Theodore and Nate Schmidt both left handed shots.
VGK is a bit over the salary cap but in the short term that’s not a problem–they’re allowed to exceed the cap by 10% in the offseason. That would give them time to shed the contract of Nate Schmidt ($5.95 million cap hit), defenseman Alec Martinez ($4 million cap hit) or possibly the $7 million cap hit of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.