Alex Pietrangelo signs monster free-agent deal with Golden Knights

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 11:   #27 of the St. Louis Blues is congratulated at the bench after scoring a goal during the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on March 11, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Coveted free agent Alex Pietrangelo is officially leaving the Blues and headed to Vegas on a monster deal. (Getty)

For the Vegas Golden Knights, it was a successful — but expensive — courtship.

Alex Pietrangelo has reportedly signed a maximum-term seven-year contract worth just less than $62 million with the Golden Knights after an official visit to the franchise over the weekend, several sources close to the situation are reporting.

Pietrangelo will have a full no-movement clause included in his deal.

In a corresponding move, the Golden Knights dealt Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round draft pick. While it’s possible that more money has to be shed before the Golden Knights optimize their roster, Schmidt’s near-$6 million salary will carve out enough room to add Pietrangelo — the prize of the 2020 free agent period.

Less than 18 months removed from captaining the St. Louis Blues to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, Pietrangelo might be coming off his best season as a professional with 16 goals and 36 assists in 70 games.

Pietrangelo will now form one of the NHL’s very best one-two punches on the Vegas blue line alongside breakout star Shea Theodore. These are two defensemen who are likely to help anchor Team Canada’s roster at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

While the Colorado Avalanche might have an argument, scoring Pietrangelo is a move that could very well elevate the Golden Knights from beyond contender to clear favourite in the Western Conference, and possibly for the Stanley Cup.

With two defensemen considered shortlist contenders for the Norris Trophy, a brilliant netminder in Robin Lehner, and four lines that can dominate teams shift over shift, the Golden Knights have all the pieces in place, it seems, after two meaningful playoff runs in their first three seasons already.

Pietrangelo was believed to be offered $64 million over eight seasons to remain with the Blues, who would undoubtedly raise his No. 27 sweater to the rafters one day had he signed the agreement that would have kept him with the franchise for two decades. While there are many contributing factors — including the Blues signing Torey Krug to a massive deal on the first day of free agency — it still does seem strange that the relationship between the Blues and Pietrangelo soured in the manner that it did given his deep roots with the franchise and community.

What should be considered less of a surprise once Pietrangelo and his family decided on embarking on a new challenge was that they chose Vegas, a city that has quickly become one of the premier destinations for NHL players.

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