Alex Pietrangelo is going to be a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The free agent defenseman has agreed to a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with the Golden Knights on Monday after weeks of speculation that he would end up with them.
That comes out to a salary cap hit of $8.8 million per season, which is the fifth-highest number in the league among defensemen behind only Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, Roman Josi, and P.K. Subban.
The deal also reportedly will carry a full no-move clause.
It is an absolutely massive addition to a Golden Knights roster that is already one of the league’s best. They have reached the Western Conference Final in two of their first three NHL seasons (including one Stanley Cup Final appearance) and should continue to be a contender for the foreseeable future.
The signing of Pietrangelo is just the latest big-splash addition the team has made in its young existence. In recent years they have also made big moves for Paul Stastny (traded last week), Max Pacioretty, and Mark Stone.
Pietrangelo, who will turn 31 in January, is still a great defender that can also make a big impact offensively. He scored 16 goals to go with 36 assists in 71 games this past season and finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting. That is the third time in his career he has finished in the top-five for the award.
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Over 82 games he is going to give you around 15 goals and 50 points offensively while also playing shutdown defense. That is a game-changer for any team.
The only downside to this contract it is Pietrangelo’s age and what the contract could do to their cap in a few years when he eventually slows down. He is an elite player now, but how long will he be at that level? That is always the risk in free agency.
Now that the Golden Knights have their man, another move (or series of moves) has to be coming to make the team cap compliant. Pietrangelo’s signing, as well as the new contracts for Robin Lehner and Chandler Stephenson this offseason, puts them way over the league’s $81.5 million cap, even after trading Stastny back to the Winnipeg Jets.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been a hot topic in trade discussions given the return of Lehner, while Nate Schmidt and/or Alec Martinez could also be shipped out to create cap space. [Update: Schmidt has been dealt to Vancouver for a third-round pick.]
They need to shed roughly $7 million in cap space to become cap compliant. It turns out that is the exact same salary cap hit that Fleury’s contract carries. The problem is going to be finding a team to take him. All of the goalie movement around the league so far this offseason has severely cut down on the number of potential landing spots.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.