Did the Golden Knights Sacrifice Too A lot to Get Alex Pietrangelo?
Jeff Curry/USA TODAY SportsPieces shortly slid into place on varied NHL bluelines from the second 2020 free company opened Oct. 9, and the Alex Pietrangelo suitors started disappearing. The St. Louis Blues, the crew he captained to a Stanley Cup, the crew he’d spent his complete profession with since being drafted in 2008, walked away and inked Torey Krug. The Toronto Maple Leafs signed T.J. Brodie. In the meantime, the Vegas Golden Knights have been transferring mountains – a.okay.a. cap house – to indicate their curiosity in Pietrangelo, sending Paul Stastny’s $6.5-million cap hit to the Winnipeg Jets. With the opposite touchdown spots dropping out of the race, Vegas Golden Knights shortly grew to become an inevitability for Pietrangelo.After he spent the weekend assembly with the crew and exploring the town, it was all however assured he’d find yourself there, and the information lastly dropped Monday night time: the Golden Knights have signed Pietrangelo, 30, to a seven-year, $61.6-million contract carrying an $8.8-million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. The deal will make Pietrangelo the fifth-richest defenseman within the NHL on an AAV foundation, trailing solely Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, P.Ok. Subban and Roman Josi. The Golden Knights, recent off a run to the Western Convention closing, clearly consider they’re able to win a Stanley Cup, so the rationale for chasing the highest UFA within the league at any place is sensible from an all-in perspective. The Golden Knights tilted the ice for a lot of the post-season earlier than working into some nice goaltending in opposition to the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars. Previously two years, they’ve swung headline-maker trades for Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and Robin Lehner. They’re dedicated to spending to the cap and consider they are often nearly as good as any NHL crew subsequent season, and the arrogance is warranted. They completed the season 15-5-2 after Pete DeBoer took over from Gerard Gallant as coach in January. They have been already on the shortlist of elite Cup contenders for 2020-21, they usually’re clearly including a championship-caliber piece within the large, rangy, well-rounded Pietrangelo. He’s a three-time second-team all-star who has completed top-five in Norris Trophy voting 3 times. He excels at each ends of the ice, can work the ability play or kill penalties equally properly and is relied upon to play half of each recreation within the post-season. Pietrangelo has been a quintessential top-pair defenseman his complete profession.How constantly glorious was he for the Blues? He is performed 10 full seasons within the NHL, throughout which he’s averaged 12 targets and 49 factors per 82 video games, taking part in 24:48 per contest. He’s hit double figures in targets six instances and topped 50 factors 4 instances. In that 10-season stretch since 2010-11, he’s top-10 in targets, assists and factors at his place. He’s additionally recent off arguably the most effective season of his profession. Taking part in simply 70 video games due to the COVID-19 shutdown, he’d already set a profession excessive with 16 targets, and his 52 factors put him on tempo to simply smash his private better of 54. Amongst 99 defensemen who logged 1,000 or extra minutes at 5-on-5 this season, Pietrangelo had the fifth-lowest mark in Corsi Towards per 60. His offensive numbers and power-play acumen stand out, however he’s additionally a very elite defensive participant.So it’s all excellent news for Vegas, proper? Properly…in all probability. There’s no denying they’ve scored a incredible participant who ought to stay top-of-the-line within the league at his place for not less than the primary few seasons of his deal. However including Pietrangelo already meant displacing Stastny, which was a tad regarding for a crew that already wanted extra assist at middle, not much less. Even after transport out Stastny’s cap hit, the Pietrangelo addition nonetheless put Vegas at $88.42 million in spending, a mile above the $81.5-million cap. They needed to make not less than one main commerce to grow to be cap compliant in time for subsequent season. Scratch that: they needed to make a commerce so that they weren’t greater than 10 % over the cap earlier than they may even make the Pietrangelo deal official.It occurred Monday night time: they despatched defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2022 third-round draft decide. It is a steal for the Canucks. He is beneath contract 5 extra years at a $5.95-million cap hit and brings nice pace and the flexibility to play left and proper protection. Per The Athletic’s Jesse Granger, the Golden Knights at the moment are simply $124,105 over the cap. Good on GM Kelly McCrimmon for clearing the house to lock up Pietrangelo, nevertheless it has to harm to lose Schmidt. The best-case state of affairs would’ve been to maneuver defenseman Alec Martinez’s $4-million AAV and/or goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who carries a $7-million AAV and is now the 1B to freshly re-signed Lehner’s 1A. The goaltender market dried up so much over the previous a number of days, nonetheless, with the likes of Corey Crawford, Jacob Markstrom and Braden Holtby discovering new properties. What number of groups nonetheless want a beginning goalie at this level? Perhaps McCrimmon could not discover a crew keen to kick the tires, although it nonetheless would not be a shock to see Vegas work out a cope with the Pittsburgh Penguins or perhaps the Carolina Hurricanes, particularly if Vegas retained some wage. Buying and selling Schmidt creates sufficient cap room to try this. So perhaps McCrimmon nonetheless trades Fleury and/or Martinez. However even when the Golden Knights do not do the rest main, they’ve already given up Schmidt and Stastny, to not point out letting helpful checker Nick Cousins stroll, to usher in Pietrangelo. Is the web consequence a greater crew? Most likely, however it is a bit regarding that it is even a query. The Golden Knights have been already nice defensively, and their best want was a No. 1 middle. Will doubling down on their strengths up their possibilities of profitable a Cup subsequent yr? We’ll see.