Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, seen as the top free-agent prize in the NHL this offseason, agreed Monday to a seven-year deal worth $8.8 million a year with the Vegas Golden Knights, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The deal, worth a total of $61.6 million and including a no-movement clause, was first reported by The Athletic.
Adding the top free agent available gives Vegas another big-money talent, but the team will need to shed salary to fit him under the $81.5 million salary cap. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defensemen Nate Schmidt and Alec Martinez, and winger Max Pacioretty are among the trade candidates to clear cap space after Vegas already sent center Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets.
Pietrangelo was drafted fourth overall by the St. Louis Blues in 2008. They are the only NHL team for which he has played, with Pietrangelo serving as their captain since 2016 and helping the team to its first Stanley Cup in 2019.
Pietrangelo’s time with the Blues was effectively over after they signed free-agent defenseman Torey Krug, formerly of the Boston Bruins, to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract Friday.
“We had some really good conversations and we just couldn’t get anything done,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong, who said the team offered Pietrangelo a maximum-length, eight-year contract extension. “There’s no good or bad person in this. It’s just the business side of it.”
The Blues previously offered Pietrangelo an average annual salary of $8 million at varying lengths of a deal, including an eight-year contract. But Pietrangelo reportedly wanted a no-movement clause and signing bonus built into the latter years of the contract in case his deal was bought out.
The 30-year-old had a career-high 16 goals plus 36 assists in 70 games during the 2019-20 regular season and one goal and five assists in nine postseason games as the Blues were eliminated in the Western Conference quarterfinals by the Vancouver Canucks.
Information from ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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