The St. Louis Blues front office had to cringe when the announcement of Roman Josi’s 8-year deal at around $9.1 million a year came out. That makes Josi the third highest-paid defenseman in the league, behind Erik Karlsson and Drew Doughty.
The St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong has been sending a clear message to the captain that the St. Louis Blues are a sum of their parts. No one player will be rich, but a group of players will be comfortable.
There have been no public revelations on what is being discussed behind closed doors between the Blues and Alex Pietrangelo‘s agent. Anyone’s guess is as good as mine. One thing, I think, has become apparent, at least to me. The extension of Roman Josi may signal the end of Pietrangelo’s career as a blue.
I wrote in my first article ever that this was probably going to happen. I argued that signing a player that is nearing 30 to a multi-year, $9 million a year contract would be foolish. If we were to sign Petro it would have to be in the $7 million a season cap hit range and be front-loaded so he isn’t soaking up cap space in his later years.
Well now Josi, Nashville, and Josi’s agent have shown this to be a legitimate cause for concern for the Blues. I still can’t see Doug Armstrong making that kind of deal. At least I hope he doesn’t.
Look, I’ve been on the record stating that Alex Steen‘s contract is a handcuff for the organization. I can’t deny that the guy has been a leader in spades last season and this season so far. Is it worth $7 million a season though (AAV $5.75 million)?
What I can say, with confidence, is a $9 million a year, 38-year-old Pietrangelo will not do much for a Blues organization trying to stay competitive. If the Blues want to remain competitive they need to look no further than five and half hours north in Chicago and see what extensive contracts at too high a cap hit will do to your organization.
The Blackhawks are prime examples of this with aging defensemen Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. The Blues simply won’t be competitive with two overpaid defensemen on the blue line ( Pietrangelo and Justin Faulk) in a league that keeps getting younger and faster.
Secondly, let’s look at another learning lesson being burgeoned by the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks signed Loui Eriksson to a 6 year, $36 million contract guaranteed with a no-trade clause.
Now in the Canucks defense, this contract made sense at that time, but the game changed overnight on them and a player like Loui has been relegated to ineffective at best. He’s too slow for today’s NHL and his style of game has been nullified.
The Canucks can’t even pay someone to take Loui from them. I am not saying this is going to be the case with a 38-year-old Petro, but it does merit mentioning and allowing a pause to thoroughly think things through.
I’d hate to see Army do something like that to the Blues. We are already going to be carrying Faulk at an old age – old in the NHL anyways. I’m 38 so I’d be calling myself old too. Relax readers.
So, the question remains, What is Petro and his camp asking for? Have they even asked? Have the Blues made any preliminary offers? We won’t ever know. I can say that with certainty.
Armstrong knows how to keep everything quiet in that department. Mum’s the word around Army and contracts, trades or any personnel decisions in general.
Over the last few seasons, Armstrong has made some fantastic trades. He’s extended some players to good player and team-friendly deals, aside from Faulk, but that’s my opinion.
That deal makes me concerned in regards to the Pietrangelo talks. We overpaid for Faulk, but not at an unrecoverable amount.
The concern is that Army is indeed still willing to overpay at times. With the number attached to the Josi deal, Petro can and will most likely request the same number. I just hope Army thinks it through and does what’s best for the Blues’ future as well as today.
The age-old saying of “time will tell” is apropos here. I cringed for Nashville when I saw the deal. It was a cynical cringe, because if Army plays his cards right it just bodes well for the future.
I think the true determining factor in the Alex Pietrangelo contract saga is what, where and how much is his wife is looking for. That’s not a shot at Petro’s wife or his marriage or anything like that. They just had triplets. His wife is going to have a whole lot of say about where her husband and kid’s father goes to play and for how much. “Time will Tell”
Drop the puck!