Trade chatter has picked up in St. Louis. In last week's 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reported the Blues are “open for business,”claiming there were “few things they won't consider.” The Blues are certainly considering all of the options available, so much so that NHL insider Nick Kypreos previously linked the Toronto Maple Leafs to star blue liner Alex Pietrangelo.
“I don’t think that Armstrong is shopping Pietrangelo, but that doesn’t keep teams from calling … and asking about him,” said Kypreos. “I believe one of those teams is the Toronto Maple Leafs. I think where that would have to start is if Toronto and (GM) Kyle Dubas get St. Louis to possibly bite on (Nikita) Zaitsev’s contract – which is owed another five years at $4.5 million.
“If they can exchange right-handed defencemen, then there’s a chance you could put a package together maybe with a draft pick, a prospect, and then the likes of a young, fast player for St. Louis in the likes of (Kasperi) Kapanen or (Andreas) Johnsson.”
But you have to believe the Leafs aren't the only ones interested in landing the services of the Blues' captain.
On top of the Maple Leafs, Matt Larkin of The Hockey News reveals four other teams in the NHL looking to get their hands on the star blue liner. The competition will be quite intense as Larkin lists the Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights as possible destinations for Pietrangelo.
While more suitors could come into play, especially if the Blues enter a rebuilding and kick off a fire sale, one thing won't change: Pietrangelo’s contract includes a full no-trade clause that he’d have to waive, and he’s reportedly happy in St. Louis.
The Leafs often come to mind when a talented quality defenseman is spoken about on the trade market, seeing that it is still greatly believed Toronto could make it all the way to the Cup finals if they bolstered their back end. The problem with Pietrangelo is that he’s not even a true rental, as he has another year left at a $6.5-million AAV.
The Penguins could surely benefit from adding a blue liner like AP, however, Pittsburgh has given up so many assets and prospects over the years that they could refuse to do so in this situation.
The Avalanche might lack the motivation to pull such a hefty deal with the patient GM Joe Sakic playing it safe, and the Oilers won't have any interest in acquiring an injured player as Pietrangelo.
"Pietrangelo isn’t close to returning from his hand injury. He will be re-evaluated at the end of the month. The Oilers, already having lost defenseman Oscar Klefbom for weeks, can’t even ponder a deal like this until Pietrangelo’s status gets a clearer update," explains Larkin.
As for the Golden Knights, Vegas is always willing to take on a gamble, however, money is getting tight.
"Fitting Pietrangelo’s $6.5 million under the cap wouldn’t be impossible, but it wouldn’t be easy, even with the cap projected to increase to $83 million next season. Vegas has 14 main-roster players already chewing up $72.2 million for 2019-20."
If other contenders join into the Pietrangelo sweepstakes, these five teams will need to step out their game, and their offer, to be able to land the talented defender.