Talks between Alex Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues went down to the wire on Thursday of last week. But, things went sour and by Saturday, he was on a plane to Vegas. By Sunday, he was hammering out a deal to become an official member of the Golden Knights hockey club and by Monday, the deal was done.
LeBrun reports, $8.8 M x seven years for Pietrangelo in Vegas. There is a full no-move clause in the deal.
Around 6pm Eastern time on Sunday, word started leaking on social media that a deal was close. Jeremy Rutherford and other sources started tweeting that things were being finalized.
Not long after, Pietrangelo had been officially signed to a seven-year deal worth $8.8 million per season. Now, the flood gates will open out of Vegas.
The Pietrangelo saga was an interesting one. Heading into free agency, word was he wanted to stay in St. Louis. The Blues had spoken with the defenseman the night before and Pietrangelo said he expected to hear from the team again before the market opened, but his good friend and TSN analyst Carlo Colaiacovo tweeted, “Can confirm that there will be no deal tonight between the Blues and Alex Pietrangelo but both sides will remain in contact.” The ability to offer an eight-year extension had passed and the blueliner was likely to test the market.
All that said, the door was still open according to many insiders.
Not long into NHL free agency, the Blues must have believed a deal wasn’t likely or simply grew impatient because they went out and invested big money in Pietrangelo’s replacement, Torey Krug. Krug’s signing guaranteed there wasn’t enough cap room left to bring back Pietrangelo and St. Louis was out. That, apparently, came as a shock to their former captain.
Meanwhile, the other team rumored to be in the mix was Toronto. They were signing other players, essentially demonstrating they had moved on as well. So, Pietrangelo hopped on a plane and visited Vegas.
Really, this was the place he wanted to go and they wanted him, so all of this might have worked out the same. This was just an odd route to reach the same destination.
The Star of NHL Free Agency 2020
While there were some good forwards and a ton of goaltending options available this offseason, Pietrangelo was considered the prize of free agency. It was obvious as to why the Blues wanted to keep him.
A number of teams were hoping to reshape their blue line by adding him, — including the Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers, among others. And, while other teams were likely kicked tires, it was a question of money for most organizations as Pietrangelo was always going to fall in around the $9 million mark on an extension.
Pietrangelo Will Start His Next Chapter
Until now, Pietrangelo has played his entire 12-season NHL career with the Blues. One of his best seasons offensively was this past season when he scored 52 points, including an NHL career-high 16 goals, in 70 regular-season games. In a way, it was perfect timing to produce. At the same time, the timing wasn’t great when it came to finances as the NHL had been blasted by a pandemic, a flat salary cap was introduced and most teams had to dump money, versus being able to offer a contract to the top d-man in free agency.
Pietrangelo has 450 points (109 goals, 341 assists) in 758 regular-season games, along with 51 points (eight goals, 43 assists) in 92 postseason games. He led to the Blues to the Stanley Cup for the first time in their history in 2018-19.
The Golden Knights are sure to roll out the gold carpet but they certainly won’t be done making moves. This signing puts them over the salary cap and they’ll need to clear space to be cap compliant.
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