Here we are again talking about Alex Pietrangelo.
Just a couple days ago, we talked about the St. Louis Blues and how all the rumours surrounding their captain were probably contributing to an environment of, let’s say, pessimism. There was a tilt at practice and the team’s performance has been generally terrible.
Granted, St. Louis did edge out the Florida Panthers Tuesday with a four-goal performance in the third period to win the game 4-3. David Perron had two goals.
But trade rumours surrounding team captain Pietrangelo haven’t decelerated and that has to be casting a shroud over the hockey club, especially as struggles deepen and the whole world has a few signs about how appalling things are internally.
Perform even the most elementary search and you’ll find a host of articles discussing potential trade destinations for the defenceman, some of which are actually fascinating.
At the top of that fascinating list, we find the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Why is this so interesting? William Nylander starts the story. Kind of.
It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point that the Maple Leafs were seeking out all options with Nylander back when contract talks were breaking down. Trades were on the table and one of the many whispered exchanges involved Pietrangelo. Toronto obviously signed Nylander and the trade was pulled, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something back on the burner for the blueliner.
The Maple Leafs are, after all, one of the best-known customers for defencemen right now. If the believe truly is that this is their year, Pietrangelo makes sense.
Some credit (or blame) Nick Kypreos for starting this little fire last weekend, but it’s a pretty rational idea all the same.
The 28-year-old defenceman has a year to go on his current seven-year deal with St. Louis and he’s got a no-trade clause. Given how fun the Maple Leafs are right now, you have to imagine he’d have little trouble waiving the clause to go to the Six.
The issue following a trade is, of course, a contract. The next one is a big one for Pietrangelo, who’ll want the sort of term the Maple Leafs may not want to fork over. They have Marner and Matthews to contend with in the summer so as to avoid another Nylander sitch, so adding Pietrangelo to the picture may not be ideal.
On the other hand, Kyle Dubas and Co. want to win now and win often. If they can sell the sizzle in Toronto and draw in a big gun like Pietrangelo, we could be looking at an especially dangerous hockey team over the next several seasons.
Given St. Louis’ lack of tolerance with, well, everyone and everything and given Toronto’s desire to forge a winning path, Pietrangelo seems a common-sense fit. If money and term can be sold to Dubas’ liking, it doesn’t take a lot to imagine Doug Armstrong pulling the trigger sooner rather than later.