Alex Pietrangelo is clearly the biggest RFA for the St. Louis Blues this offseason, but just how much is he worth?
Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong will surely want to lock Pietrangelo up long term and will have to ask Tom Stillman to open his checkbook to do so. At the NHL trade deadline the Blues added a hefty amount of salary when they picked up top defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and his $6,680,000 cap hit through next season. With 16 players under contract for the 2013-14 season, including Bouwmeester, the Blues have $24,610,000 of projected cap space available according to CapGeek.com. Surely the Blues won’t be able to spend to the cap so it should make for some interesting offseason moves.
Assuming that Armstrong would like to keep all of his restricted free agents, what would that mean? Well, the major issue for Armstrong is going to be that Chris Stewart, Patrik Berglund, Evgeny Grachev, Kris Russell, Ian Cole, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Jake Allen are also restricted free agents and all seem to have a place in the Blues plans. If Pietrangelo commands a contract similar to that of Drew Doughty he could be another $7,000,000 cap hit for the Blues. Perhaps Petro will be willing to take a home town discount, but plan on him having at least a $6,500,000 cap hit. That would leave just $18,110,000 for the Blues to lock up the rest of their RFA’s. Shattenkirk is probably due about a $5,000,000 cap hit; Stewart will command north of four but should be close to $3,500,000; Beglund would be looking to get a contract similar to Perron placing him at about a $4,500,000 cap hit; Grachev has yet to prove himself at the NHL level and could be a low cost solution at close to a $1,000,000 hit; Russell is probably able to command about $3,500,000 on the open market and will be looking for a similar offer from the Blues; Ian Cole shouldn’t be looking for much based on his play but will most likely be north of $2,000,000 and closer to $3,000,000 to keep on a longer term basis; Jake Allen should be looking for full time NHL duty and will likely make close to what Brian Elliott is raking in at a cap hit of $1,800,000. With all of those projections, some of which are probably low, the Blues would be $4,190,000 over the cap.
Then, add Jordan Leopold, Taylor Chorney, Jeff Woywitka, Andrew Murray, Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Andy McDonald as unrestricted free agents and Armstrong’s job may be difficult this summer. The first players to be sent on their way will surely be Andrew Murray, Scott Nichol, Jamie Langenbrunner, and Andy McDonald. By letting these aging guys go the Blues will open up plenty of room for younger players that will begin to compete for roster positions, but you have to think that the Blues will want to keep Leopold with the club.
So what is Pietrangelo worth to the St. Louis Blues? Is he promising enough to send Shattenkirk away for a young probable scorer? Should Stewart and Berglund start packing their bags? What do you think that the Blues plans will be in order to stay under the cap and retain the majority of their RFA’s? Let us know in the comments below.
LET’S GO BLUES!