By STEPHEN WHYNO and JOHN WAWROW, AP Hockey Writers
Alex Pietrangelo is Vegas certain, and the Golden Knights are shuffling the deck to suit him in.
Pietrangelo signed a $61.6 million, seven-year cope with Vegas on Monday that carries an $8.Eight million annual wage cap hit via 2027. It is the fifth-biggest cap hit for a defenseman within the NHL.
Including the highest free agent out there offers Vegas one other big-money expertise, however the group wanted to make one other transfer to shed wage simply so as to add him. Basic supervisor Kelly McCrimmon stated the entrance workplace knew that moving into and dedicated to creating it occur to signal Pietrangelo.
“After we checked out alternatives to enhance our group, we had what we believed was an unimaginable uncommon alternative so as to add a defenseman, an elite participant, like Alex to our group,” McCrimmon stated. “We projected what a contract can be for Alex after which on the finish of that course of requested ourselves, ‘Does this make us a greater group? Does it enhance our possibilities of successful?’ We imagine fairly strongly that it does.”
Earlier than finalizing Pietrangelo’s contract, the Golden Knights traded defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2022 third-round decide, clearing his $5.95 million cap hit off the books. McCrimmon stated this was the one state of affairs during which Vegas would have thought of buying and selling Schmidt, and Vancouver grew to become the beneficiary.
“Nate has been one of many high defensemen in our division lately,” Canucks GM Jim Benning stated. “He’s a dynamic participant who competes laborious everywhere in the ice. I believe he will likely be a extremely good slot in our group.”
After already sending middle Paul Stastny to Winnipeg, the group doubtless must make another commerce to develop into cap compliant, which McCrimmon assured would be the case come opening day. That transfer won’t be a commerce of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, even after committing long run to Robin Lehner, who is predicted to be prepared for coaching camp after present process clean-up shoulder surgical procedure this week.
“We see the goaltending place being extremely essential this 12 months,” McCrimmon stated. “Marc and Robin are going to be our goaltenders as we go into the offseason, into coaching camp and into the season.”
Goaltending wasn’t the Golden Knights’ subject in shedding to Dallas within the Western Convention last. Scoring was, as they’d simply eight targets in 5 video games.
Pietrangelo, 30, is coming off posting a career-high 16 targets regardless of the season being reduce brief at 70 video games. He completed fourth in Norris Trophy voting and is among the greatest right-shooting defensemen within the league, so including him does make Vegas higher, even on the expense of buying and selling a preferred teammate in Schmidt.
“He is one of many high 4 or 5 defenseman within the sport,” McCrimmon stated of Pietrangelo. “He’s the primary over the boards in each state of affairs for his group.
Pietrangelo leaves the St. Louis Blues after serving as captain of their 2019 Stanley Cup championship group. He has 109 targets and 341 assists for 450 factors in 758 regular-season NHL video games and had a postseason-best 16 assists and averaged nearly 26 minutes of ice time throughout the Blues’ Cup run.
“He has been a stalwart participant for us, for this group for quite a few years,” Blues basic supervisor Doug Armstrong stated Friday night time. “An enormous a part of a championship-caliber group. He’s going to go down as far as top-of-the-line Blues ever.”
St. Louis moved on from Pietrangelo, a homegrown prospect who was the No. four decide within the 2008 draft, earlier than he did. The Blues signed former Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug to a $45.5 million, seven-year contract Friday, primarily ruling them out of preserving Pietrangelo after greater than a 12 months’s price of negotiations could not quantity to an settlement.
“We couldn’t discover one thing that made everybody comfy,” Armstrong stated. “It’s not the primary time, it gained’t be the final time this occurs within the NHL. You simply want it didn’t occur due to the respect and the will we needed to hold Alex right here.”
Pietrangelo grew to become the final of the top-tier free brokers to discover a touchdown spot, after Taylor Corridor signed an $Eight million, one-year cope with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. Krug was the opposite, and winger Mike Hoffman is the highest participant left in the marketplace after a 29-goal, 59-point season with the Florida Panthers.
Corridor took the alternative strategy of Pietrangelo and Krug with the cap staying flat amid pandemic-ravaged revenues.
“We knew it was going to be a singular market coming into free company,” Corridor stated Tuesday. “As soon as free company began, I believe we had been made conscious fairly rapidly at how a lot issues had modified and the way COVID had affected a number of various things. So, it sort of modified our decision-making from there.”
Pietrangelo had wished to stick with St. Louis, however the signing of Krug altered his decision-making. The Toronto space native flew to Las Vegas on Saturday to satisfy with the Golden Knights brass and proprietor Invoice Foley, a go to that paved the way in which for this contract.
“It was clear to see how anxious he’s to proceed to win,” McCrimmon stated. “He made the remark that successful a Stanley Cup has made him even hungrier to do it once more, so the dedication to successful is definitely a extremely large think about his selecting to come back right here for the subsequent stage of his profession.”
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