With the NHL’s free agency opening date of October 9th creeping closer and closer, time is running out for Alex Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues to reach an agreement on a new deal.
The two parties have apparently not started talking, and apparently Pietrangelo won’t be signing with them if he reaches free agency. Pietrangelo is looking to be one of the biggest names in free agency this year along with Taylor Hall, so things were starting to get interesting already, but Darren Dreger dropped this bomb earlier today.
Darren Dreger on TSN1050 said he thinks Toronto and Las Vegas would be near the top of Alex Pietrangelo's list of preferred destinations if he does not re-sign with the Blues
— J (@Account4hockey) September 15, 2020
Now, there are a few takeaways from here. For starters, there might not be a lot to this, as it could just be Pietrangelo using the Toronto media to help increase his cap hit a bit more (we all know other players have used it before). That said, he is from the Toronto area and the Leafs are contenders (and even more so with Pietrangelo) so there could be some legitimacy to it.
As for if he fits in with the team, he 100% does fit on the roster on paper. He would instantly improve the right side, and provide a lot more stability in the Leafs right side. The problem is that there is a lot more to this than “does he fit on the roster”, particularly with the cap. The Leafs would have to at least get rid of two or three of Johnsson, Andersen, Kerfoot, or even Rielly just to make it fit, and it would probably reach the point where they’d be subtracting from the roster more than adding just to make it happen.
There’s also the contract itself. While Pietrangelo is worth $9-10 million right now, he definitely won’t be worth it by the end of the 6-7 year deal it will probably take to lock him up. And considering he’ll be 31 in January, he might not even be worth it after 2-3 years. So unless it’s a short term deal, it’s likely that the deal probably won’t be too good for whatever team signs him.
Also, what is it with Pietrangelo and capped out teams? The Blues only have $5 million to lock up Pietrangelo, and then his destinations are teams with the 3rd and 7th lowest cap spaces. He might be very disappointed by the end of this, either in his salary or where he’s playing.
The fact that Pietrangelo wants to join the Leafs is nice in thought, but the Leafs are probably not going to be big players in free agency for a while, especially this year.