The St. Louis Blues got some good news last week when they learned from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman when he announced that the 2020-21 salary cap is expected to rise between $84M and $88.2M. With the current salary cap set at $81.5MM this season, that would give the Blues franchise a significant amount of cap space that it could use to re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
In his latest mailbag, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford (subscription required) writes that while those numbers sound promising, the NHL was projected to have a salary cap set at $83M for the 2019-20 season and it ended up being $81.5M, which suggests that all teams shouldn’t expect a significant increase. However, as far as Pietrangelo is concerned, the scribe believes that St. Louis has no intention of paying out any more than $9.5M AAV, and the team would prefer a number closer to $8.5M regardless of the increase in salary cap. The team believes that if other teams are willing to go to $10M per season, the Blues will not match that.
Rutherford adds that if that’s the case and Pietrangelo opts to sign elsewhere, the team is unlikely to make any significant additions as there aren’t many significant free-agent defensemen this summer. That means the Blues would then hand the reigns to Colton Parayko as the defensive leader next season.