Sportsnet’s “Saturday Headlines” segment was filled with interesting information this week, headlined by negotiations between the defending champion St. Louis Blues and No. 1 defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. The status quo has shifted dramatically over the last two weeks in terms of extension talks between the two sides, as the Blues first acquired Justin Faulk from the Carolina Hurricanes and handed him a seven-year, $45.5MM extension and then signed another impending free agent, Brayden Schenn, to an eight-year, $52MM extension. The team would obviously still like to re-sign their captain, but they have significantly more future salary committed now, as well as more security on the blue line in Faulk if Pietrangelo does leave. How that affects contract talks remains to be seen. Elliotte Friedman reports that GM Doug Armstrong plans to meet with Pietrangelo’s Toronto-based Newport Sports agents when the Blues visit the Maple Leafs this week to open up the conversation. Friedman adds that St. Louis’ preferred contract would be similar to that of Arizona Coyotes top defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who signed an eight-year, $66MM extension in 2018. Friedman implies that Pietrangelo would likely be able to beat an $8.25MM salary on the open market. However, a proportional contract to Ekman-Larsson’s based on either this year’s salary cap or next year’s projected salary cap would place that number between $8.5-8.75MM at least, which could be enough to keep Pietrangelo. The real question is whether the Blues can afford that, with nearly $74MM already committed to 17 players next season.
- Joshua Ho-Sang isn’t opposed to playing in the AHL, just doing so any longer for the New York Islanders. At least that’s what Friedman reports that his camp is telling other NHL teams. Ho-Sang has requested a trade from the Islanders and the club is trying to oblige, giving him permission to talk to other teams. Ho-Sang is letting them know that he is willing to do “whatever it takes” to find a regular NHL role, even if that means starting the process in the AHL. This could potentially broaden the level of interest in the disgruntled winger, who may not have the best reputation but honestly seems in search of a fresh start.
- Chris Johnston reports that Patrick Marleau remains “confident” that he will find a home in the NHL this season. The respected veteran had the final season of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs bought out following a trade to the Carolina Hurricanes this off-season, but so far hasn’t been able to find an ideal fit to continue playing. Much of the speculation had him returning to the San Jose Sharks, with whom he played much of his Hall of Fame career with, but the team was not as receptive to a comeback as expected. Marleau maintains that he would like to stay close to his family in San Jose, making Pacific Division rivals like the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights the likely targets. However, given the Sharks’ 0-3 start and early scoring woes, perhaps the team will come calling after all. Marleau continues to work out and stay optimistic for whenever an opportunity does arise.