NHL Rumor Mill – April 25, 2020
More Alex Pietrangelo conjecture plus some recent Devils speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE LATEST ON PIETRANGELO
STLTODAY.COM: In his latest Q&A live chat with his readers, Jim Thomas was asked how the St. Louis Blues could free up sufficient salary-cap room to re-sign team captain Alex Pietrangelo, who becomes an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. He feels the most likely scenario is trading goaltender Jake Allen and buying out the final season of veteran forward Alexander Steen’s contract.
Thomas doesn’t consider buying out Justin Faulk as an option, in part because it would be more costly to the Blues for much longer than buying out Steen or Tyler Bozak. He also speculated the re-signing of Marco Scandella means at least two players must come off the current roster to re-sign Pietrangelo and doesn’t see Jaden Schwartz being moved in a cost-cutting deal.
If Pietrangelo wants the biggest possible deal, Thomas speculates the blueliner could move on. Despite the possibility of a flat cap next season, he feels there will be enough teams willing to pay big bucks for Pietrangelo. Thomas doubts the Toronto Maple Leafs will be among them, as they have over $76.9 million invested in next season’s cap payroll.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo wants to stay in St. Louis and the Blues want to keep him, but he also wants to be paid what he considers fair market value. Reports throughout this season suggest that’s over $9 million annually.
If he’s unwilling to come down from that or the Blues can’t free up sufficient cap room, he’ll be playing elsewhere next season. Unless the Leafs shed a considerable amount of salary, he won’t be coming to Toronto.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco believes the New Jersey Devils could attempt to bring in a short-term veteran winger or two to bridge the gap until those in their farm system are ready to join the roster.
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak suggested the Devils could attempt to add an impact defenseman in the off-season. He thinks they’ll try to do that via the trade route, like the New York Rangers last summer when they acquired Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets. If they shop one of their first-round picks, Masisak felt it could be for that impact blueliner or a first-line winger.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs are two cap-strapped clubs the Devils could target in the trade market. The Lightning might be forced to part with winger Alex Killorn or Ondrej Palat to re-sign Mikhail Sergachev. Leafs wingers Kaspari Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson could be available, but Toronto would have to include something else if they want the Devils’ third first-rounder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn and Palat have no-trade protection and probably won’t waive it to join a rebuilding club. Kapanen and Johnsson lack such protection and would be more viable trade options.