Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo potentially available; Leafs a possible fit

The Hockey Night in Canada panel looks at the biggest news and rumours around the NHL, with Alex Pietrangelo talk heating up around the league and the Maple Leafs needing to lock down Auston Matthews.

The St. Louis Blues aren’t shopping Alex Pietrangelo, but it doesn’t sound as if the star defenceman is completely untouchable either.

Pietrangelo has this year and next on a contract that carries a $6.5-million cap hit, and hasn’t had the strongest season so far.

The 28-year-old had four goals and 11 points in 24 games before being put on injured reserve with a hand injury on Dec. 3.

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The Blues entered play on Saturday in second-last place in the Central Division, and fired their coach in November.

“St. Louis is in a position where they’re going to have to make some tough decisions, and what’s happening now is the separation between playoff teams and non-playoff teams, which means the vultures are out right now,” said Nick Kypreos on Saturday’s Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada. “And Pietrangelo, despite a poor start to the season and a hand injury, one general manager told me he still may be the best all-around defenceman available by the trade deadline.”

One team that could be a trade partner for Blues general manager Doug Armstrong? The Toronto Maple Leafs.

“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.”

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