Pietrangelo has to accept realities
There is absolutely no reason that any fan should pity Alex Pietrangelo. No matter who he signs with or how long he plays, he will end up in a situation where one year’s salary is more money that most of us will earn in a lifetime.
That said, even I can feel a little bad for him. Based on the complete game that he plays, plus being right handed, he would have had a gigantic payday under normal circumstances.
Fully admitting bias, I feel like he is a better overall player than Roman Josi. So, there is a strong argument to be made he should be paid more than Josi and Josi just signed a deal worth over $9 million.
Therefore, $9.5 would have been quite fair for the Blues captain. Under normal circumstances, $9.5 might have been a starting point with other teams pushing their deals closer or over $10 million.
This is not a normal circumstance. This is not a normal offseason.
To be frank, the NHLPA was probably quite lucky the league decided to keep the salary cap at $81.5 million. If they lowered it, which was rumored, there would be a lot of guys with gas still left in the tank that would be out of jobs.
According to reports from Andy Strickland, Jeremy Rutherford and even national names, Pietrangelo came to the Blues with a starting off of $9.5 million. Again, in a normal year, the Blues might have jumped on that as a deal to keep him under the eight-figure mark.
This is not normal and we may not get back to “normal” for a long time. While nobody knows for sure, most analysts are saying the cap might not go up for three to four years and some say longer.
That’s a long time to hope you can fit $9.5 million and give other players raises under your cap. It’s just not realistic.
We can say that is just a starting number and they would meet in the middle, but it’s also just not realistic in today’s situation.
That is not to say Pietrangelo should leave money on the table if he feels someone else is willing to pay. However, he has to realize the Blues are not the only ones in this situation.
Trying to build up a bidding war won’t be as successful as it might in years past. Right now, barring moves and unforeseen circumstances, there are two options for Petro.
The captain can chase money, pure and simple, but go to a team that is not a contender and might not be a contender for years. The second option, whether it is with St. Louis or someone else, is to sign with a winner for less money because the money just isn’t there the way he and his agent thought it would be.
As of late-September, half the NHL had $10 million or less in cap space. 20 teams have $15 million or less in cap space.
The vast majority of those teams have several free agents, restricted or unrestricted, to sign if they want. Pietrangelo might be a good (bordering on great) player, but teams are not going to be lining up to spend the vast majority of their remaining space on one player if they have three to five slots to fill.