Pietrangelo unsure of future with Blues heading for free agency

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Alex PietrangeloThe desire to stay with the St. Louis Blues has not changed, but he admitted on Tuesday that he may have to play elsewhere next season.

“Obviously, I want to stay a Blue. Of course I do, ”said Pietrangelo.The defenseman, who has played his entire 12-season NHL career with the Blues, can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The captain has said he would love nothing more than to be recalled as a Blues player, but realizes his next contract could be with another team.

“It’s the only place I know of in professional hockey,” said Pietrangelo. “Legacy is obviously important. This organization means a lot to me. You see Al [MacInnis] come on, you see all the other elders that are there regularly. It means a lot, right? These are guys who have a great relationship with the organization that exists and who have established their roots in Saint-Louis.

“But whether it’s here or elsewhere, you want to play to the best of your ability and leave a legacy wherever you are. This goes hand in hand with on the ice and off the ice and trying to have an impact on the organization in the community. So whether it’s here or somewhere else, I think it’s important for me to really take my roots anywhere, and I know my wife feels the same. ”

Pietrangelo, who is in the final year of a seven-year, $ 45.5 million (annual average value of $ 6.5 million) contract he signed on September 13, 2013, said he didn’t know when his situation would be settled, mainly because of the NHL schedule. has been modified due to the break in the season due to the coronavirus.

Video: STL @ VAN, Gm4: Pietrangelo scores a power play goal

“None of us really planned that. The League didn’t plan this, I didn’t plan it, [Blues general manager Doug Armstrong] I didn’t plan this, “Pietrangelo said.” We’re just going to sit there until we have a conversation with [Armstrong] or we wait that [the start of free agency]. We don’t really care that much as we are just taking things in stride right now because it’s a weird circumstance for everyone. ”

The defending Stanley Cup champions entered the Stanley Cup playoffs as the No. 4 seed in the West after going 0-2-1 in the playoff round robin. They were eliminated in six games by the No. 5 seed of the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the Western Conference. The lasting image of the elimination game was the Blues striker David Perron putting his arm around Pietrangelo when they skated off the ice.

“I remember the moment,” Pietrangelo said. “I guess when the game is over and I think about the situation I’m in, I know David and I are very close friends. I appreciated. I think he understood what I was thinking at the time. I do not know. know, this might be the last time I wear the [Blues] jersey and the last time I played with him too. ”

Pietrangelo, who accumulated 450 points (109 goals, 341 assists) in 758 regular season games and 51 points (eight goals, 43 assists) in 92 playoff games, scored a career-high 16 NHL goals this season and tied Romain Josi Nashville Predators for second place among league defensemen, behind Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets (20). His 52 points were sixth among all defenders.

« [Pietrangelo is] our leader, probably our best player most nights with [center Ryan] O’Reilly, “said Perron.” The way he’s played this year with this whole situation was extremely impressive. We play our entire career to win the Cup. I think he wants to feel respected. He wants to feel like he has his share of things. I think he deserves it too. ”

Video: STL @ ANA: Pietrangelo hammers home on timer for PPG

Count the keeper Jordan Binnington, among those who would like to see Pietrangelo again.

« [Pietrangelo is] a fairly dynamic player on both ends of the ice, ”Binnington said. “He will score a big goal, he will be in the last minute of the competitive game. He works hard. He’s a great player for us, one of the best players in the NHL. ”

Binnington struggled in the playoffs, going 0-5-0 with a 4.72 goals-against average and .851 save percentage. He lost the No.1 position to Jake Allen after losing Games 1 and 2 to the Canucks. He recovered it for Game 6 but was pulled out in the second period after allowing four goals on 18 shots.

Binnington is entering the final season of a two-year, $ 8.8 million (AAV $ 4.4 million) contract he signed on July 13, 2019 and could find himself in a similar predicament as Pietrangelo when he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season.

“Just take care of what you can control,” Binnington said. “It’s kind of my game and myself. The rest will take care of itself, let the money chase you. “



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