Vegas 'misfits' no more, Golden Knights now expected to win

Former St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has 109 goals and 341 assists in 758 career regular-season games. File

The Vegas Golden Knights signed top free agent defenceman Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year deal worth $8.8 million per season on Monday night.

The 30-year-old was considered the top UFA on the open market.

Schmidt, from St. Cloud, Minn., has produced 29 goals and 140 points in 368 career regular-season games over seven National Hockey League seasons split between Vegas and the Washington Capitals, who signed him as a free agent in 2013 following three seasons at the University of Minnesota.

The 6-foot-3 rearguard is also a proven victor. "If I had to describe, I'd say he's gonna go on as one of the best Blues ever".

Pietrangelo signed a $61.6 million, seven-year deal with Vegas on Monday that carries an $8.8 million annual salary cap hit through 2027. Pietrangelo has a lifetime plus-77 rating and averaged at least 22 minutes of ice time in each of the past 10 seasons.

Pietrangelo certainly upgrades the Golden Knights' blue line, though changes are coming to their roster.

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Before finalizing Pietrangelo's contract, the Golden Knights traded defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2022 third-round pick. He added one goal and five assists in nine postseason games.

St. Louis moved on from Pietrangelo, a homegrown prospect who was the No. 4 pick in the 2008 draft, before he did.

"We couldn't find something that made everyone comfortable", Armstrong said. "It's not the first time, it won't be the last time this happens in the National Hockey League". But Pietrangelo reportedly wanted a no-movement clause and signing bonus built into the latter years of the contract in case his deal was bought out.

The 29-year-old Schmidt appeared in 59 games for Vegas in 2019-20 and recorded seven goals and 31 points.

Hall took the opposite approach of Pietrangelo and Krug with the cap staying flat amid pandemic-ravaged revenues.

St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong said Pietrangelo's legacy in St. Louis would endure.

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