With news this weekend that St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo is potentially available for a trade, it’s time to speculate where he could land.
While Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported that the Blues aren’t actively shopping Pietrangelo, he added “one general manager told me he still may be the best all-around defenceman available by the trade deadline.”
Pietrangelo, 28, carries a $6.5-million cap hit for one season after this one and can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. He also has a full no-trade clause. Any team acquiring Pietrangelo would likely need to send at least one NHL skater, one top prospect and a first-round pick, at a minimum, back to the Blues.
Kypreos mentioned Toronto as one team who could be calling Blues GM Doug Armstrong about Pietrangelo. Here are four other clubs who could be interested in competing with the Maple Leafs for his services, and what they each would have to offer to close the deal.
All salary cap information comes from CapFriendly.com.
The trade: Sabres trade forward Conor Sheary, defenceman Marco Scandella (IR), rookie defenceman Lawrence Pilut, and the Blues’ 2019 first-round pick to the Blues for Pietrangelo and defenceman Robert Bortuzzo.
Salary breakdown: The Sabres will save $275,000 in salary.
Why it could happen: These teams have a trade history, coming together on the Ryan O’Reilly trade in July. The Blues owe either their 2019 or 2020 first-round pick to Buffalo from the O’Reilly trade, but the Sabres can return that pick to St. Louis in this deal. The Sabres have followed up their 10-game winning streak by losing five straight and need a spark. The Sabres’ window to win is now while young players are still on entry-level contracts.
Why it won’t happen: Buffalo is close to the cap ceiling and won’t be able to commit to Pietrangelo long-term with a big contract for Rasmus Dahlin on the horizon.
The trade: Avalanche trade forward Tyson Jost, defenceman prospect Conor Timmins (IR) and defenceman Nikita Zadorov, to the Blues for Pietrangelo.
Salary breakdown: Avalanche add $3.4 million in salary.
Why it could happen: The Avalanche are emerging as a playoff contender this season and have over $11 million in cap space. All three players that would be going to Blues are 23 or under and two of them are on entry-level contracts.
Why it won’t happen: The Blues could decide they don’t want to trade within their division.
New York Islanders
The trade: Islanders trade forward Josh Ho-Sang, defenceman prospect Bode Wilde and their 2019 first-round pick to Blues for Pietrangelo.
Salary breakdown: Islanders add $5.6 million in salary.
Why it could happen: The Islanders have over $10 million in cap space and are pushing for a playoff spot in the Metro Division. Pietrangelo brings star power to the Islanders after the loss of John Tavares, and could serve as a future mentor to 2018 first-round pick Noah Dobson.
Why it won’t happen: The Islanders’ arena situation could deter Pietrangelo from waiving his no-trade clause. Despite their success this season, the Islanders may still want to hold on to young assets and rebuild after losing Tavares.
Toronto Maple Leafs:
The trade: The Maple Leafs trade forwards Connor Brown, defenceman prospect Timothy Liljegren, defenceman Nikita Zaitsev and their 2019 second-round pick to the Blues for Pietrangelo.
Salary breakdown: Maple Leafs save $100,000 in salary.
Why it could happen: The Maple Leafs are in a contending window and have been pushing to add defencemen. The Maple Leafs also get more salary cap control by trading the remaining six-years on Zaitsev’s contract. Pietrangelo is from Toronto and was teammates with John Tavares in minor hockey.
Why it won’t happen: The Maple Leafs have cap room this season but new contracts for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner next season will create a crunch. The Maple Leafs may decide they don’t want to part ways with Liljegren this early into his career. The Maple Leafs could look at cheaper additions to their blue line instead.
Vegas Golden Knights
The trade: The Golden Knights trade forward prospect Jake Leschyshyn, defenceman Colin Miller, defenceman prospect Nicolas Hague, and their 2019 third-round pick to the Blues for Pietrangelo.
Salary breakdown: Golden Knights add $2.6 million in salary.
Why it could happen: The Golden Knights came close to landing Erik Karlsson and still haven’t found a No. 1 defenceman since then. They also came within three wins of a Stanley Cup season and still view their window to compete as open. Vegas also has over $4 million in cap space this season.
Why it won’t happen: The Golden Knights could be resistant to trade more young players as they continue to build up their prospect pool. Vegas also has big extensions kicking in for Max Pacioretty and Alex Tuch that would create a crunch next season.