The St. Louis Blues have already made some big splashes this season, acquiring Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes and then extending both Faulk and Brayden Schenn to long-term contracts. Now all eyes are on captain Alex Pietrangelo who stands as easily their most notable player scheduled for unrestricted free agency after this season.
Pietrangelo’s camp met with the Blues front office a few weeks ago, but according to Bob McKenzie of TSN on last night’s edition of Insider Trading, there has been no contact since. While that certainly doesn’t mean that an extension can’t be worked out further down the line, it does still keep the spotlight on the veteran defenseman.
In terms of what it might take to retain Pietrangelo, an easy comparison can be made to yesterday’s eight-year, $72.5MM extension for Roman Josi of the Nashville Predators. In fact, there is an argument to be made that Pietrangelo could deserve even more than the $9.059MM cap hit that Josi secured, given his longer track record and recent playoff success.
Both drafted in 2008, Pietrangelo was picked 34 spots ahead of Josi as the fourth-overall selection. While it took a little while for the Predators to insert their second round pick into the lineup, Pietrangelo got a taste almost immediately and recently played his 700th game (Josi is at 575). The Blues captain also has more overall points with 405, though they have come at a slightly lower rate.
Both players will be 30 when their next contracts kick in, making these types of commitments dangerous, but Pietrangelo is such an integral part of the Blues team that it seems unlikely they would want to watch him walk out the door.
Still, the Blues have traded key players on expiring contracts before. At the 2018 deadline they moved Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets for a package of picks and prospects, and just a year before that moved Kevin Shattenkirk for a similar return. Obviously doing the same with Pietrangelo would be a different level of decision entirely, but there at least is some precedent.
In all likelihood however, there will still be an extension between the two sides at some point. The longer this goes on however, the more speculation will continue to bubble up to the surface.