If the St. Louis Blues allow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to hit the free-agent market, he will be the top prize and maybe the highest-paid player to get a new contract when the free-agent frenzy begins no later than Oct. 9. According to TSN Insider Darren Dreger, Vegas is on Pietrangelo’s shortlist.
NHL free agency begins on the earlier date: Oct. 9 or seven days after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final.
Pietrangelo, 30, captained the 2019 St. Louis Blues to the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman had 52 points (16g, 36a) in 70 games this season.
Speaking on the daily radio show, Leafs Lunch, which airs on TSN 1050 in Toronto, Dreger discussed the season-long contract saga between St. Louis and the defenseman whom Dreger described as “world-class.”
“It’s not like St. Louis wants to drive this guy to the airport and get rid of him,” Dreger said. “He’s their captain, and they’d very much like to keep him, but if they’ve got to invest $9 million to keep Alex Pietrangelo, either way, he’s coming at the expense of a player or players…”
The NHL flat salary cap at $81.5 million for at least one, probably two, and maybe more seasons is putting many teams in a vice. The extreme loss of revenue across the economy and by NHL owners also means many typical cap teams may not spend to the ceiling, which puts cash-flush teams like the Vegas Golden Knights at an advantage.
“I think that going into the open market, Toronto would be very high on (Pietrangelo’s) list. I think the Vegas Golden Knights would be high on his list, and that list would be relatively short,” Dreger said.
Winning helps, too.
The Golden Knights have appeared in the Stanley Cup Final and Conference Final in two of their three seasons and are still one of the deepest teams in the NHL.
Dreger reported St. Louis has offered a contract with an AAV of at least $8 million per season and likely offered an eight-year term, but Pietrangelo is asking for $9 million or more per season.
The heavy buzz centered on the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Toronto doesn’t have nearly enough salary cap space to make that move yet.
According to CapFriendly.com, the Golden Knights are also short on cap space, with only $4.9 million available. Of course, that figure doesn’t factor in the probable trade of Marc-Andre Fleury, which could save about $2 million if Robin Lehner signs a $5 million per year deal. However, VGK would still be short, and GM Kelly McCrimmon would need to make additional moves to clear enough space to make Pietrangelo a realistic signing.
Of course, when one of the top defensemen in the game wants to play for you, things can change. Stay tuned.
Coyotes End Golden Knights Win Streak At Four
The Arizona Coyotes stopped the Vegas Golden Knights winning streak at four games with a 5-2 victory at Gila River Arena on Friday night.
Connor Garland led the Coyotes offense with a goal and two assists, while Nick Schmaltz scored for the third straight game.
It’s a very difficult proposition to beat a team four times in a row – look at any playoff series. Arizona winning a game, especially at home, was probably due. The Coyotes seemed to have more spring in their step than they did Wednesday night when the Golden Knights handed the Coyotes a 5-2 loss. Several times the Vegas defense allowed odd-man rushes to the Coyotes, and running five defensemen once again likely contributed to some of the errors on the back end.
“It’s definitely different,” said Shea Theodore after the game. “You are rotating through partners (and) you can’t exactly get into the rhythm with one guy… at the same time I don’t think that’s an excuse.”
“We should be able to adapt. We just can’t give up that many odd-man rushes on any given night.”
Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer said he felt it was more the special teams that affected the outcome of the game.
“Penalties really kinda took our momentum out of the game. Both taking them, and obviously their power play goal early, and then a bunch of the other kills we had to have… when they did take (penalties) I didn’t think our power play created any momentum for us. For me that was… the story.”
“Some self-inflicted things tonight,” DeBoer said.
Whatever the reason, Vegas allowed the Coyotes to grow confident by ceding the opportunities and it showed. Arizona seemed to feel better about its game more and more as the game wore on.
Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves to earn the win as Vegas never quite seemed to find the scoring touch it displayed Wednesday night. Robin Lehner struggled, giving up four goals on 25 shots against and will likely want a couple of those goals back. Lehner seemed off the entire night, whether handling the puck, setting himself for shots, or tracking movement. Those games will happen, but they’re highlighted even more when the goaltender in the other net makes the needed saves. Kuemper was definitely the better of the two goalies on the night.
Fortunatley for the Golden Knights, they’ll be able to jump right back into the action against the Coyotes on Sunday afternoon at 4 pm MT, 3 pm PT.
- The game marked the first time this season the Vegas Golden Knights have given up more than two goals.
- Cody Glass returned to the lineup after sitting out a pair of games and recorded a power play goal in the third period.
- Shea Theodore scored for the second straight game, an unassisted marker at 1:19 of the third period.
- Vegas went back to a lineup that featured five defensemen and 13 forwards with Glass back in the lineup. Notably both Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo went minus-2 in the contest.
- Mark Stone keeps his scoring streak intact, assisting on Cody Glass’ power play goal in the third period to give him eight points (2-6-8) in his first five games.
Pietrangelo Scores, Fleury Stops 20; Vegas Tames Coyotes 5-2
Shea Theodore scored twice. Alex Pietrangelo notched his first goal with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights (4-0-0) established a new franchise record for consecutive wins to start the season in a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes (1-2-1) Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena. Mark Stone and Alex Tuch added the other goals for the Golden Knights. Tuch also tacked on two assists for a three-point game.
Marc-Andre Fleury and his golden pads, which match the metallic gold jerseys, made 20 saves for the win.
Production Is Increasing
The Vegas Golden Knights are starting to get some big-time production. Alex Tuch’s three-point night was a welcome sight. Max Pacioretty extended his point streak to four games with an assist. Stone’s goal also extended his point streak to four games. Keegan Kolesar notched his first NHL point with an assist. And perhaps most important is that the VGK notched a power-play goal. Things are starting to come together.
Offense From the Defense
For the first time, this season the Vegas Golden Knights received goals from its defenders. Shea Theodore scored twice, and Alex Pietrangelo scored his first in a Vegas sweater. Alec Martinez and Nic Hague also added helpers. Head coach Pete DeBoer likes his defensemen active and involved in the play, and they certainly were Wednesday night. Here’s to hoping that trend continues in Arizona.
Taking Advantage of the Schedule
As we pointed out before the season, the schedule couldn’t be more conducive to an early run for the Vegas Golden Knights. Already at 4-0 to start the season, they could hit 6-0 and potentially 12-2 or better depending on how things shake out. The difference this year? Going 6-0 to start would be like going 10-0 in a regular 82-game schedule. Getting that far out in front makes it hard for other teams to catch the Golden Knights. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but until Vegas plays the Colorado Avalanche on Valentine’s Day, only two of the team’s first 14 games come against a playoff club from last year (St. Louis Blues).
The Rotation Continues
Marc-Andre Fleury made the start last night for the Vegas Golden Knights, wearing his new gold pads to coincide with the second appearance of the team’s gold uniforms. Fleury stopped 20 shots to earn the win and is now 2-0 on the season.
Take to the Sky
The Vegas Golden Knights will now take to the road for the last two games against the Coyotes in this series. The two teams play Friday at 6 pm PT and Sunday at 1 pm PT to round out the week.
Robin Lehner New Pads Revealed
Earlier today on Twitter, @GoalieGearNerd revealed the new set of gear Robin Lehner will wear courtesy of Brians Custom Sports (@goaliesonly). The new pads feature a black background, gold and silver slash stripes, and the outline of a dismounted knight brandishing his sword.
— Goalie Gear Nerd (@GoalieGearNerd) January 20, 2021
Robin Lehner has worn some standout designs everywhere he’s played, and Vegas is no exception. We can’t wait to see these stopping pucks for the Vegas Golden Knights this season.