Things have gotten pretty spicy between the St. Louis Blues and their captain, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
Pietrangelo is of course set to become an unrestricted free agent and although players of his stature are often re-signed well before they ever get close to free agency, Pietrangelo is now just days away from hitting the open market. TSN's Darren Dreger dropped a bombshell last week when he revealed that Pietrangelo had been advised by the Blues to pursue free agency, a stunning development by any stretch of the imagination.
That initial report was only compounded by the fact that Dreger would go on to report that he had spoken to Pietrangelo himself and had gotten a similar comment from the player, with Pietrangelo indicating that both sides were moving forward with the expectation that he would hit the open market on October 9th.
The question now of course becomes which team will Pietrangelo sign with on that day? I've got some thoughts on the way this will all play out so here are my top 3 destinations for Alex Pietrangelo.
#1 The St. Louis Blues
You might be asking yourself why in the hell I have the Blues at #1 after everything I just showed you but let me explain. It seems incredibly bizarre to me that both sides would take this stance several weeks before the actual deadline, and as a result this just screams to me of a negotiating tactic by both the Blues and Pietrangelo himself.
The reality is that Pietrangelo is an integral part of what the Blues do and is just one year removed from having captained that team to a Stanley Cup championship. Furthermore he has a young family and they have established roots in the St. Louis area and I genuinely believe that both Pietrangelo and his wife would prefer to remain in St. Louis if they can.
#2 The Colorado Avalanche
Let's face it, when it comes to big ticket free agents in the offseason there may be no team better equipped to lure them than the Colorado Avalanche. General manager Joe Sakic is a selling point in and of himself and he has a ton of cap space to work with in the offseason. Most suspect that the Avalanche will look to add some offensive punch, with a lot of speculation regarding Taylor Hall as a potential target for that organization, but don't be surprised if they take a shot at getting a big ticket defenseman like Pietrangelo.
#3 The Calgary Flames
I have the Flames at #3 largely due to the fact that they are typically not a team that attracts big name free agents. That being said the Flames and general manager Brad Treliving are expected to make big changes after another disappointing run in the playoffs and there would perhaps be no bigger move than the addition of Pietrangelo. The Flames have TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and 3 other defensemen hitting unrestricted free agency on October 9th so the Flames will definitely have the cap space to make a significant offer and the potential departure of those players will create a natural need on their blue line as well.
I also suspect that the possibility of playing with a defenseman like Mark Giordano could also be an element that makes the Flames a more attractive option.