NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2020
Could a higher salary cap help the Blues re-sign Alex Pietrangelo and the Bruins re-up Torey Krug? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeremy Rutherford was asked if the projected rise of the salary cap to between $84 million to $88.2 million could help the St. Louis Blues re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo. The 30-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He cautions that it could reach the lower projection, pointing out this season’s cap was supposed to reach $83 million but came in at $81.5 million.
Should the cap rise to $84 million, Rutherford believes the Blues will attempt to offer Pietrangelo between $8.5 – $9 million annually. He feels there are probably only a few clubs that can afford to pay him $10 million annually. Rutherford doesn’t know if Pietrangelo would accept a little less than that from the Blues. If Pietrangelo walks, Rutherford doubts the Blues will attempt to replace him via the UFA market, preferring instead to promote Colton Parayko.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $73.7 million invested in 17 players. Assuming the cap climbs to $84 million, they’ll only have around $10 million in cap space. Re-signing Pietrangelo will take up almost all of it. They could be forced to make a cost-cutting move or two to keep Pietrangelo and fill out the rest of the roster.
I’ve seen speculation suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs could pursue Pietrangelo if he hits the open market. With almost $77 million committed to 15 players, they have less cap space than the Blues. Unless they dump salary, don’t expect to see Pietrangelo in a Leafs jersey next season.
BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter believes the projected increase in the salary cap could aid the Bruins in re-signing Torey Krug. Like Pietrangelo, the 28-year-old Bruins defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Should the cap reach the low end, Porter indicates it’ll leave the Bruins $22 million to re-sign Krug, Zdeno Chara, Jaroslav Halak, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman.
The Bruins love Krug and want to keep him, but it’s unclear if they’ll pay him more than $7 million annually. Porter wonders if another team, like the Detroit Red Wings, offers Krug $8 million per season. The Bruins have the advantage of offering up to eight years, which would lower the annual average value slightly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug suggested last fall he was interested in a hometown discount, but he didn’t indicate how much that would be. There’s a belief the Bruins won’t offer him more than first-line stars Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak, who each earn annual average values below $7 million. But as Porter points out, Charlie McAvoy’s actual salary in the final season of his current contract rises to $7.3 million (2021-22). Perhaps the Krug camp points to that as their annual salary number.
If the Bruins fail to re-sign Krug, he won’t lack for suitors. His hometown Red Wings could come calling, as could the Montreal Canadiens.