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Pietrangelo continues visit with Golden Knights: report

Free agent defenseman says Blues agreeing to contract with Krug 'caught me off guard'

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Alex Pietrangelo continued his visit with the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday, TSN reported.

Pietrangelo, a defenseman who's played his 12-season NHL career with the St. Louis Blues and has been their captain for four seasons, became an unrestricted free agent Friday after he and St. Louis were unable to agree on a contract. He reportedly traveled to Las Vegas to meet with the Golden Knights on Saturday, when he told The Athletic he was surprised to find out the Blues agreed to a contract with unrestricted free agent defenseman Torey Krug on Friday.

"Nothing to say," Pietrangelo wrote in a text message. "It caught me off guard."

Krug signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract ($6.5 million average annual value), but Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said Friday that wouldn't prevent them from re-signing Pietrangelo. 

The NHL salary cap will remain at $81.5 million next season, which is targeted to begin Jan. 1, 2021.

"Trust me, Alex, we tried to sign him," Armstrong told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "I want to give our ownership group a ton of credit, going to the maximum number of years available (eight). ... We used every tool under the (NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement) to ensure we could get something done. It just didn't work out."

Pietrangelo, selected by the Blues in the first round (No. 4) of the 2008 NHL Draft, scored an NHL career-high 16 goals last season, when he scored 52 points in 70 games during the final season of the seven-year, $45.5 million contract ($6.5 million average annual value) he signed Sept. 13, 2013. He has scored at least 13 goals in each of the past four seasons.

"I look back on it, and I'm not really sure why," Armstrong said of failing to reach a deal. "I was hoping to get something done. ... We exchanged offers during the season, during the pandemic, and multiple offers post-pandemic. We just couldn't find something that made everyone comfortable. It's not the first time and won't be the last time this happens in the NHL. You just wish it didn't happen because of the respect and the desire we had to keep Alex here."

The 30-year-old has scored 450 points (109 goals, 341 assists) in 758 regular-season NHL games and 51 points (eight goals, 43 assists) in 92 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Pietrangelo scored 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 26 playoff games to help the Blues win the Cup in 2019.   

He told The Athletic on Thursday that not re-signing with the Blues would be disappointing. 

"You spend your whole career somewhere, and to have a situation where you go through this, the reality kind of hits that there's a chance you're going to be wearing a different jersey one day. … But again, this isn't a blame game on either side," he said. "Both sides have their own opinions, and sometimes things just don't work out."

Tweet from @jprutherford: ���It caught me off guard���: Alex Pietrangelo era ends as Blues sign Torey Krug https://t.co/Io7ie8pdEG #stlblues

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