Whether Alex Pietrangelo re-signs with the St. Louis Blues or not is an interesting question. While the team is officially the defending Stanley Cup Champions, in the background lurks reported tension between the captain and the organization.
As James Mirtle of The Athletic points out, while the Blues and Pietrangleo try to work out there differences (or maybe they’re past that point) teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs are sniffing around, hoping to grab the attention of the elite defenseman.
Mirtle recently suggested that the Maple Leafs are so interested in Pietrangelo, there are questions about whether or not they should try to pursue him this season as they struggle to regain their footing in the Eastern Conference or in the summer when Pietrangelo is free to decide what to do about his future? Certainly, Pietrangelo would go a long way to helping fix the blueline issues in Toronto, but why would the Blues move him now, as they contend for another Stanley Cup?
Mirtle points out that with limited salary-cap space for next season, the Blues could find it difficult to re-sign him. And, should there be signs that the Blues can’t defend their NHL title this year, maybe there’s a chance the Maple Leafs can swoop in.
… negotiations with the Blues have basically been nonexistent. They didn’t go anywhere in the offseason and they haven’t continued during the year. And Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston has reported that GM Doug Armstrong and his staff have been sniffing around Leafs games of late.
But, should there be even a glimmer of hope that this type of move is a reality for the Maple Leafs this season, they’ll need to make other moves. In fact, whether they add Pietrangelo this season or this summer, GM Kyle Dubas will need to move out salary. That means likely saying goodbye to Jake Muzzin, Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci to open up more than $11-million in cap space needed to fit what could be $8.5 – $9 million in salary to add the 29-year-old.
Interestingly, additional reports of the Maple Leafs interest have surfaced and there is buzz (not sure how concrete the reports are) that the Maple Leafs have made an initial offer to St. Louis and are willing to move one of William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson.
We won’t go so far as to suggest fans believe these reports are accurate, but it does show there might be significantly more interest in the defenseman from the Toronto perspective than some people give credit for.
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