On Saturday night, during the Headlines feature on Hockey Night in Canada, panelist Nick Kypreos noted that plenty of NHL teams have been buzzing around the St. Louis Blues, namely Alex Pietrangelo, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kypreos said that Pietrangelo, the St. Louis Blues heart-and-soul defenseman, has been the target of interest for a few NHL teams and in Toronto, he's certainly fit what the team needs. The Maple Leafs blue line is considered the weakness of an otherwise very strong team and the Blues are in the midst of a season that has not at all been the success most would have envisioned.
Pietrangelo is currently on the shelf with a hand injury, but that hasn't stopped other teams from showing interest. One GM said that despite the setback, he’s still the best all-around d-man available at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline.
Word is, general manager for the Blues, Doug Armstrong is not shopping Pietrangelo, but the amount of interest being shown and the Blues potential need to shake things up has other GM thinking the Blues captain can be pried from the organization.
Kypreos then suggested that Kyle Dubas would be putting together a package that included Nikita Zaitsev, a first-round pick, and a young player/prospect like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. Whether or not the Blues go for such a deal is uncertain but the Maple Leafs would have to include talent back and salary because Pietrangelo doesn't otherwise fit into an already tight cap situation for the Maple Leafs. Pietrangelo has one more year on his contract at over $6 million per season.
What This Means
If the Maple Leafs could somehow swing this deal, it would be absolutely huge for the team. They'd be giving up some young talent but the organization is so stacked offensively that it wouldn't matter. Toronto would have the defender they needed to fill a major hole on their blue line corps and become immediate favorites to win the Stanley Cup.