NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2020

by | Mar 9, 2020 | Rumors | 32 comments

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.

Can the St. Louis Blues afford to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

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.


  1. Much like David Backes, I think the issue with Pietrangelo will come down to term not dollars. At 30 yrs. old, I hope that Armstrong does not extend the contract beyond 5 (or maybe 6) years,

  2. Why is it every potential UFA is going to Toronto? Absurd as usual.

    • I don’t think it’s a case of every potential UFA going to Toronto. The Pietrangelo speculation is based upon the Leafs’ real need for a true top-pairing right-side defenseman. Pietrangelo is the best blueliner available in this summer’s UFA market, so naturally, some folks will wonder if the Leafs will target him.

      • I agree with Lyle kind of. But then again the Leafs had no problem signing a one 30 goal scorer and never close before or after to a $6 mil per year in David Clarkson

    • Why is it absurd that a team needing defense could pursue the bvest UFA defensemen available? Didn’t even say they were, just that people were speculating that Toronto could have interest in him. Would be ridiculous for them NOT to look at him, just like most other teams in the league who need a top pairing defenseman would look at him. The ridiculous thing is people getting bent out of shape at the suggestion that Toronto might want to sign good players. By your logic even though everyone says Tor needs to upgrade their defense it’s ridiculous for them to want to upgrade their defense? Makes sense to me.

      • its absurd because they have no cap space to begin with! how are they gonna add a guy for 9 million plus when they have zero! cap up they still dont have 9 million in space!

        new rule – no more articles about UFA’s going to Toronto

  3. Several teams will kick tires on Pietrangelo. His skill set, leadership and Stanley Cup expérience are all huge factors. The question here is; does HE want to leave St. Louis and would he be willing to apply a home town discount per year for longer term? Expect several teams to enquire even teams like The Habs and Oilers where he won’t fit logistically or financially could ask just to determine market prices.

    • Hey Andy, agree plenty will kick the tires, but I don’t think The Oil will.
      They are happy with where there D is headed. Have depth now by promoting guys from the AHL and they have performed for the most part and should continue to improve.
      Plus each of there last 2 1st rd picks were D. Bouchard at 10 and Broberg at 8.
      Focus this July should be resigning RNH to an extension before the season starts.
      If the B’s give Kruig more than 6.5 for 6 I think it would be a mistake.
      Great PP guys and drives offence, but also has his warts due to his size. Seems like a guy that may not age well.
      The comparison Porter made to McAvoy doesn’t hold water IMO. Who would you rather have 3 years from now Krug at $7.3 or McAvoy? Pretty simple call for me.

      • Ray, the Oilers have continually solidified their overall game as the season has unfolded, and among teams who have elevated their game to the highest since the half-way mark (41 games) they are tied for 2nd so far in the 2nd half. Here are the 10 teams with the biggest overall positional gains (so far) in the 2nd half (1st half position, followed by current position in the 2nd half, then gains made):

        N.J. 30th 14th +16
        NYR 22nd 8th +14
        Edm 19th 5th +14
        Minn 21st 9th +12
        Pha 11th 1st +10
        Clb 17th 7th +10
        Veg 16th 6th +10
        Nash 20th 12th +8
        Cgy 18th 11th +7
        Ana 28th 21st +7

        By comparison, here the the 10 with the biggest drops (so far)

        NYI 4th 29th -25
        Wash 1st 15th -14
        Pitt 5th 18th -13
        Van 12th 24th -12
        Ari 15th 25th -10
        Car 8th 17th -9
        StL 2nd 10th -8
        Tor 10th 16th -6
        Fla 13th 19th -6
        Wpg 14th 20th -6

      • Ya George, Edmonton seems to have turned a corner. Had significant injuries to deal with for stretches too. Entire top line (on paper anyway) was out, and their #1 dman at the same time.
        They hung in there and are now getting healthy.
        Holland deserves some credit for bringing in cheap bottom 6 forwards that play hard and responsibly. Not much offense added, but they stopped the bleeding when those lines are on the ice. Tippet & Smith helped too.
        Seems the entire organization got calmer and more focused. Stabilized and stopped rushing prospects (PC stopped doing that too)

  4. The Blues also need a new contract for Vince Dunn on defense. They have several young d’men who need an opportunity, but I still hope they can get Pietrangelo resigned–5 yr./$9 million. Mikkola, Pouliot, Walman, Borgman, and maybe Perunovich need a closer look next year.

  5. Being able to offer Krug a 8yr contract is a disadvantage not an advantage.

    5yrs max at $6.5 signing bonus of $2.5m per season year 1 to 3 last two season actual salary $2.75m just incase you need to move him and need see the saving on the cap hit.

    • Agreed, my worst fear is that they sign him to a 7/8 yr deal at 7+ million. Then we’ll be talking about how to get rid of that money.

      I still think that they go after one of the few scoring wingers this year in FA, as the bruins window will still be up a couple or so more years.

      • That’s your worst fear? Even worse than clowns, or even being buried alive in a box?

      • The clown thing is weird. Many have it, myself included, I just don’t know why.
        I feel better just talking about it. Thanks Chrisms.

      • Funny and great advice! Bob was great, wasn’t he.
        If you want to watch the Citizen Kane of Alcoholic Clown Movies – Shakes the Clown.

  6. Off topic, but what has happened to the Buffalo Sabres?! I hadn’t been paying attention and noticed in the standings today that NJ has passed them and Ottawa is only 4 points back.

    Can’t see how Krueger isn’t fired and Botterill could be in trouble too. In hindsight, the O’Reilly trade looks horrible from Buffalo’s perspective and is a fireable offense by itself. How can the Sabres be that bad when they have an elite #1 center and potential franchise defenseman?

    • I thought it was weird that Buffalo hired a head coach who had been running a soccer team for the past 5 years or so.

      • …and to me, the most mystifying part is that they are up against the CAP. Where is all that money? It doesn’t seem to be on the ice. I realize Eichel and Skinner eat up a decent chunk ($19M combined), but the value they get from the other ~$63M is shockingly bad.

      • …oh, and that includes two of their better players, Oloffson and Dahlin, who are on bargain deals.

    • Six game losing streak started off on a tough 4 game trip out west, and all 6 games have been against contenders. Goalies were sub .900 in all but one of the loses and Eichel has been playing with some undisclosed injury. If he’s not producing, the team isn’t winning.

    • Actually Van, Buffalo has been consistently mediocre all the way. At the 41-game mark (half-way through the schedule) they were in 25th place overall with a record of 17 17 7 for 41 pts (a .500 pace), while scoring 121 goals and giving up 131 for an aggregate -10. At that time they were 4 points up on Ottawa whose record was 16 20 5 37 pts.

      So far in the 2nd half they’ve played 27 game and have a record of 12 14 1 25pts, scoring 71 and giving up 84 for a an aggregate -13 (a .463 pace) and sit 27th in the league. That puts them 4 pts up on Ottawa who have played 28 games, going 9 12 7 25 pts.

      • Their depth scoring is an issue along with special teams play disappearing after a hot start. 5v5 only 11 teams have given up less goals, but 20 teams have scored more. They have the worst PK in the league and dropped to 20th on the PP after having a top five PP after the first month. Add giving up the most SH goals and it only adds to how much the special teams play hurt the team this year.

    • I’m a Krueger fan and his hockey coaching record was actually pretty good coming into this season. Did a good job in Edmonton the short time he was given a chance.
      He is an asset they should hang on to and isn’t the problem IMO.
      It takes a long time to change the culture in losing organizations.
      I think they will regret the Skinner signing.
      The rest of their roster has serious holes, and this will take some time. Keep drafting and start developing better as they have some good pieces, but need more that are cost effective even though they have some real cap space coming this off season. Quick fixes rarely work when a team has struggled for this long.
      Krueger is the right guy to do this. Smart dude, Eichel respects him.

      • Agreed on Ralphie.
        He’s a brilliant guy.

      • Ray I am with you on Krueger, he is a very smart coach. Get some of the dead wood off the boat this summer and am sure sailing will be better next season.

  7. Pietrangelo is very good but at start of next year he will be 31, do you want to pay a guy 8 million or more for 8 years? Guys refuse to sign for less when old. A 4 year deal would be best but guys don’t care about team loyalty they rather hold on until 40 milking that cash when washed up.

    • Leafs are cap masters and can fit pietrangelo no problem 5 years 9m to coincide with his buddy tavares. Front load mostly bonus money. Shedding barrie ceci at 7m can trade kerfoot and or johnsson for futures as they have good cheap talent for 3rd line in micheyev engvall korskov bracco etc. Kappy goes to top 6.

      • Wendel17Higgins, just to be clear, the Leafs have $76,908,538 tied up in 15 players and that does NOT factor in their UFAs like Ceci and Barrie. Should the cap go to $84 mil that gives them $7,091,467 to sign 8. Not saying in can’t be done – but a $9 mil off the cap deal WILL need to involve moving a big salary.

  8. Id think it would be every teams due dilligence to check with any fa theyre interested in. It cant hurt to at least get a sense of what they might want.

  9. If Krug wants to be a Bruin than he will need to sign around a five year deal at 6 million a year he has way less value than a Marchand or Pasta. I value Carlo as Boston’s best D man and his next contract will be a huge raise. Krug is a great power play QB but is under sized and is easily pushed off the puck. Boston needs to win cup so Chara rides off into the sunshine even though short handed he is very good. Carlo Krug – Grzelcyk Charlie-Lauzon Clifton with Moore Zboril and Vaakanainen as depth.