The St. Louis Blues got some good news last week when they learned from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman when he announced that the 2020-21 salary cap is expected to rise between $84MM and $88.2MM. With the current salary cap set at $81.5MM this season, that would give the Blues franchise a significant amount of cap space that it could use to re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who is currently slated to become a unrestricted free agent this summer.
In his latest mailbag, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford (subscription required) writes that while those numbers sound promising, the NHL was projected to have a salary cap set at $83MM for the 2019-20 season and it ended up being $81.5MM, which suggests that all teams shouldn’t expect a significant increase. However, as far as Pietrangelo is concerned, the scribe believes that St. Louis has no intention of paying out any more than $9.5MM AAV, and the team would prefer a number closer to $8.5MM regardless of the increase in salary cap. The team believes that if other teams are willing to go to $10MM per season, the Blues will not match that.
Rutherford adds that if that’s the case and Pietrangelo opts to sign elsewhere, the team is unlikely to make any significant additions as there aren’t many significant free-agent defenseman this summer. That means the Blues would then hand the reins to Colton Parayko as the defensive leader next season.
- The Athletic’s Ken Wiebe reports that Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry is likely to return to the lineup Monday for their game against Arizona. Lowry has been out since Jan. 19 with an upper-body injury and should be able to give the Jets a much-needed boost. The 26-year-old has four goals and 10 points in 47 games with 132 hits.
- The Dallas Stars were without Alexander Radulov Saturday due to illness, while forward Justin Dowling was able to re-enter the lineup since late January. Dowling immediately moved onto the top line next to Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. However, with the team desperate to put up some offense after being held to one goal in the past three games, The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (subscription required) writes that if Radulov has to miss extended time, the Stars should consider in recalling forward Jason Robertson. The 20-year-old prospect has 25 goals in his rookie campaign with the Texas Stars and has appeared in three NHL games already.
- NBC Sports’ Charlie Roumeliotis reports that after missing Friday’s game with a wrist injury on Saturday, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Adam Boqvist is expected to enter the Blackhawks lineup today against the St. Louis Blues. He fills a gap with rookie Lucas Carlsson out with a concussion.