An update on Alex Pietrangelo’s contract talks, plus speculation on the Ducks goaltending.
STLTODAY.COM: In a piece on the Blues beefing up their payroll this season, Jeremy Rutherford noted GM Doug Armstrong has “moved cautiously” in negotiations with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, not because of ownership unwillingness to pay a high price, but to continue following his pay-scale model. That would be re-signing key players to shorter-term deals for reasonable raises. The Blues minority owner, Tom Stillman, praised Armstrong for obtaining contracts ” that are fair to both parties, rather than getting caught up in the emotion of free agency and chasing contracts that are going to overburden the franchise in the future.”
BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa noted the slow progress in Pietrangelo’s contract talks, suggesting his “most desirable comparable is Drew Doughty” (eight years, $56 million), but “the more applicable comparable is Zach Bogosian”, who recently signed a seven-year, $36 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets. Shinzawa believes Pietrangelo and his agent, Don Meehan, hope to avoid a standoff similar to that of another Meehan client, Montreal’s P.K. Subban. He concludes if a bridge deal is the only alternative, Pietrangelo needs to accept it, as he can’t afford to stage a holdout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Pietrangelo camp seeks $7 million per season, while the Blues apparently want something just under $6 million per season. Pietrangelo has no leverage as he’s coming off his entry-level contract, and a holdout won’t do he or the Blues any good. If he can get a bridge deal for two-three years at, say, $5.8 million per season, he should accept it, then push for the big payday in his next contract.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Ryan Dadoun speculates over what the Anaheim Ducks could do to resolve their goaltending situation. He noted Viktor Fasth’s strong debut and Jonas Hiller’s bounce-back performance last season, but believes the latter isn’t the clear starter for the Ducks entering this season. “Anaheim might even trade Hiller and put their faith entirely in Fasth, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them start the season with both goaltenders,” writes Dadoun. He believes in the short term it would be worthwhile to let the two battle it out for the starters’ role, but suggested the Ducks could be forced to make a decision by the end of the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: What’s telling for me is Hiller played all seven games of the Ducks opening round series against the Detroit Red Wings, while Fasth never got off the bench. I believe they’ll keep their tandem intact to start the season, with Hiller having the inside track as their starter. Having already shipped out Bobby Ryan, the Ducks free up sufficient cap space to re-sign their remaining free agents and leave room for Teemu Selanne if he decides to return this coming season. If Fasth or Hiller emerges as the dominant goalie, one or the other could be used as a trade chip to address other needs as required later in the season.