St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong has some tough decisions to make this offseason regarding the team’s free agents; one of the biggest being deciding whether to re-sign Captain Alex Pietrangelo or to allow him to test free agency.
Some will say that ship has sailed for the Blues and that Pietrangelo will be moving on. Based on how slowly things have moved on the trade market, that may not be the case.
A Quick Review:
Multiple sources have come out with articles in the past couple of weeks stating that the contract talks between Pietrangelo and the team have broken down, and they expect him to pursue free agency.
One factor making the negotiation process harder is the fact that the Blues only have $5.15 million dollars of cap space available and Pietrangelo’s camp is asking for north of $9 million. Therefore, unless the Blues are willing to trade multiple players they will be forced to let the first captain in franchise history to lift the Stanley Cup leave as an unrestricted free agent.
Teams Linked to Pietrangelo
While there could be others, some of the teams that have been linked to Pietrangelo are the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights.
So let’s look at the current cap situations of these teams:
The Flames have $17,805,000 remaining with 13 players under contract. (9 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goaltender.) They’re rumored to be looking for scoring and there’s talk the team might be open to moving Johnny Gaudreau, clearing up even more space to add a contract like Pietrangelo’s.
The Flames traded back a couple of times at the NHL Draft and grabbed the player they wanted in the first round. Outside of that, they’ve been relatively quiet despite a lot of talk GM Brad Treliving is feverishly working the phones.
The Florida Panthers have $21,738,12 remaining with 12 players under contract. (6 forwards, 4 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.) Speculation out of Florida is that the team is really looking to shake things up and could be poised to make a pretty big splash.
The Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs have $6,106,467 remaining with 18 players under contract. (9 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.) They’ve been rumored to be in on the talks from the very start as he’s the ideal type of defenseman the team would love to add.
The hosts of the NHL Draft coverage on NHL Network said Wednesday that William Nylander’s name is out there on the trade market. Still, the Leafs have contended they’re not moving the forward.
The Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights are apparently the team Pietrangelo would like to go to but with $0 remaining with 19 players under contract. (11 forwards, 6 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders.) it’s tough to imagine how he fits unless the club makes drastic changes to its current roster.
Is Any Deal Actually Easy to Complete?
Based on cap space, as you can see, at first glance, it looks like Calgary and Florida would be the front-runners to land Pietrangelo. But when you dig deeper into their individual situations, you see that each team has multiple players in need of new contracts. Not only that, but there’s no indication from Pietrangelo that the Flames or the Panthers are on his radar.
Both of the other teams are basically in the same situation as the Blues because in order for them to sign Pietrangelo they would have to move multiple players to make it work.
One scenario being tossed around is for the Blues to do a “sign and trade” with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a player such as William Nylander or Andreas Johnsson. That kind of deal would help both teams by giving the Maple Leafs the right-shot defenseman that they have been pursuing, while getting the Blues a forward to help replace some of the offense lost due to the injury to Vladimir Tarasenko who underwent surgery on his right shoulder September 9th, his third surgery on the same shoulder in a two-year span.
Meanwhile, the team that has recently emerged as the front-runner in the Alex Pietrangelo sweepstakes, the Vegas Golden Knights have no cap space remaining after signing goalie Robin Lehner. Now, they’re stuck trying to move Marc-Andre Fleury’s contract (even just a part of it); so for them to sign Pietrangelo, they would have to move out multiple players for picks or prospects to avoid taking on any additional salaries.
Some names that have been mentioned in recent articles are Marc-André Fleury, Jonathan Marchessault, who has been linked to the Blues in various articles, and Paul Stastny, one rumor being floated is that Fleury could potentially return to the Pittsburgh Penguins, The team he started his career with.
Are the Blues Still Players Here?
On September 2nd the Blues traded backup goalie Jake Allen to the Montreal Canadiens along with a 7th round pick in 2022 in exchange for a 3rd round and 7th round pick in 2020. That move freed up $4.35 million in cap space, which they used $700.000 of eight days later to re-sign restricted free agent Jacob de la Rose to a one-year contract. Now, the Blues have $5.15 million dollars in available cap space. They’d need to clear an additional $5- $5.5 million to fit Pietrangelo in under the cap.
So two days left before the start of free agency, unless something changes fitting Pietrangelo in anywhere based upon his ask is going to be tough.
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