Alex Pietrangelo — arguably the most prolific restricted free agent still without a new deal — says he’s not contemplating withholding his services from the Blues.
“I’m not even thinking about holding out,” Pietrangelo told the Canadian Press on Monday. “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.”
Negotiations between St. Louis and its prized young 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.
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 more to the holdout talk than just money, though.
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’ve just kind of been moving forward as if I’m going to start the season like a regular year,” he explained. “I’ve been working hard all summer, trying to put it behind me here [at Canada’s Olympic orientation camp] and trying to enjoy this process and hopefully something gets done here in the short term.”