The former St. Louis Blues captain inked a new seven-year, $61.6 million deal. His contract also includes a full no movement clause, meaning he is with the team for the duration of the contract. This comes after a year where the former St. Louis Blues captain set his career high in goals (16) and achieved his second highest career point total (52).
Pietrangelo has often been regarded as one of the best two-way defenseman in the national hockey league. He was the focal point of the St. Louis Blues defensive core and helped lead the team to their first Stanley Cup championship in the 2018-2019 season. Pietrangelo will help solidify an already solid defensive core in Vegas by giving it another dangerous offensive weapon, both at even strength and on the powerplay. Pietrangelo has also averaged 24:38 of on ice time throughout his career, and there is no reason to believe that will change in Vegas. He also shoots right-handed, which is something the Golden Knights severely lack. Pietrangelo plays particularly well in his own zone. In the 12 years he has played in the NHL, only twice has he posted a negative plus/minus. This includes playing against the other team's top lines night in and night out.
The Golden Knights currently sit $6.9 million over the $81.5 million salary cap limit. Fortunately, they are allowed to go 10% over the cap limit (approx. $89.5 million) until the end of training camp. In order to become cap complaint once again, Vegas will need to move some money out. This signing also caused Nate Schmidt to be traded to Vancouver for a minimal return (a third round pick). This move does provide massive cap relief, as Schmidt carried a $5.9 million cap hit, but this move alone does not get them under the salary cap. Schmidt may be the first of many to move. Names like, Alec Martinez, Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Marchessault, and Marc-Andre Fleury have all been rumored to have been shopped around by the team. With a flat salary cap this year, it has proven to be a challenge to move contracts out that are high term. Teams knowing that Vegas needs to dump cap does not make it any easier. The Golden Knights are facing the prospect of having to give up not just one or more of these players, but future draft picks and prospects as well. Or, like in the case with Schmidt, receive a menial return. The idea of this may not sit well with some fans, but at this point the Golden Knights do not have a choice.
Despite the inherent risks on this contract, Pietrangelo provides a massive upgrade on an already solid defensive core. While the full no movement clause and $8.8 million per year is steep, it is a worthy price to pay if this team wins the cup in the next few years.
Do you agree with the signing? Let us know what you think of the newest Golden Knight!