Roughly four hours into the 2020 NHL Free Agency period, Alex Pietrangelo hadn’t signed a deal with anyone. In fact, as reports swirling around the player rise and fall on Twitter, something dawned on me.
Pietrangelo hasn’t signed yet because he can’t get what he wants… yet. Follow me for a moment.
From a Vegas Golden Knights standpoint, the cap room does not yet exist for him to sign the deal he desires. Bringing Pietrangelo in will likely require a commitment of around $9M AAV. The VGK still need to move out some salary. The goalie market has to settle before Marc-Andre Fleury moves. Nate Schmidt requires a team to really commit. Other smaller deals are do-able in the meantime for the Golden Knights but those tend to be on Day Two and beyond.
My theory: Pietrangelo has chosen Vegas and is waiting for them to clear the room to acquire him.
It makes sense. The Blues don’t know what’s going on. Toronto has said it spoke to Pietrangelo’s agent but not the player directly. We haven’t heard anything really from other teams. The Golden Knights themselves have kept quiet on the matter. And the silence says a lot to me. It means wheels are turning behind the scenes, but it’s going to take a little while to play out because of how complicated the flat cap has made things.
In sending Paul Stastny back to Winnipeg, the Golden Knights unloaded a $6.5M cap hit for this season. That moved them back under the cap by roughly $3.5M after signing Robin Lehner. The remaining high salaries (AAV in parenthesis) are Mark Stone ($9.5M), Max Pacioretty and Marc-Andre Fleury ($7M), Schmidt ($5.95M), William Karlsson ($5.9M) and so it goes from there. Check the complete Vegas cap situation over at PuckPedia.
I’m sure you can deduce who makes sense to move and who does not. The problem is finding willing dance partners. And sometimes a player isn’t “in play” until someone calls on him. As I’ve said before, you have to make sacrifices to make yourself better in the cap era.
Once those moves are made and the room is cleared, I’d expect something to happen quickly. But don’t get too antsy. I really do think this is going to take a few days or more to sort itself out.
What do you think – will Alex Pietrangelo be wearing Vegas Gold next season?