Even though contract talks continue to drag along, Doug Armstrong is confident Alex Pietrangelo’s future is in St. Louis.
“We’ve been clear on what we think of Alex as a person and as a player, that we want him here for the long term,” Armstrong told the Blues website on Wednesday. “We’ve made adjustments to our roster to ensure that we can keep him here.”
Armstrong then shot down the idea of a trade, or possibly losing Pietrangelo to an offer sheet.
“We’ve made it very clear since the summer,” he explained. “Alex will be a St. Louis Blue when he plays hockey again.”
Negotiations between St. Louis and the 23-year-old defenseman have dragged on throughout the summer. The sticking point, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is reportedly money — Pietrangelo’s asking price is rumored to be around to $7 million per season, and the Blues apparently aren’t willing to go past $6 million.
And while the negotiations dragged, St. Louis spent money in a flurry of moves, especially on defense. Kevin Shattenkirk got a four-year, $17 million deal; Jordan Leopold got $4.5 million over two years and Jay Bouwmeester got a five-year, $27 million extension — with a full year left on his current deal.
There’s also the looming possibility of a holdout.
Pietrangelo is represented by Newport Sports’ Don Meehan, who’s client base includes two of the highest-profile defenseman holdouts in recent memory — Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty (who missed almost the entire 2011 preseason, including five exhibition games) and Montreal’s P.K. Subban (who missed the first four games of last season).
Despite that precedent, Pietrangelo says he’s not planning on going the holdout route.
“I’m not even thinking about holding out,” Pietrangelo told the Canadian Press. “I’m thinking about training camp and being there September 11, 12, whenever we’re going to start up, and be ready for the first game of the season.”