By Patrick Kelly
This year’s free-agent frenzy was different than anything seen before. Forget the fact that it’s October or that several former Vezina finalists are unrestricted free agents, but it was unique to St. Louis Blues fans as they awaited the fate of their captain Alex Pietrangelo. The first hour came and went without any word on Pietrangelo other than that he was looking at his options and apparently hadn’t ruled the Blues out.
All this seemed to change around 7 o’clock when Elliott Friedman of Hockey Night In Canada tweeted that defenseman Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins was signing with the Blues. The term, seven years with an average AAV of $6.5 million, which is the exact same cap hit Pietrangelo had prior to today. The contract also comes with a five-year no-trade clause with a modified 15-team list the last two years, according to 590’s Andy Strickland.
This was a deal that had first been rumored at the beginning of the day when it started to become clear that Pietrangelo was seriously considering other markets such as Vegas. Krug spoke with the media and he said he had no communication with the Bruins Friday and the last offer he was given was over a year ago. The Blues, on the other hand, reached out to him in the beginning of minutes of free agency opening.
General manager Doug Armstrong also met with the media Friday where he touched on the Pietrangelo situation. He said that this doesn’t mean that Pietrangelo is out of the mix yet and he is hopeful they can still get something done. With Krug signed now, the Blues would have to move something to make that happen. Their big contracts that could be moved are Justin Faulk, Tyler Bozak, or Alexander Steen if he is possibly bought out.
Krug had an impressive season and finished with 49 points in the shortened season, with 40 of those points coming from assists. Krug is also well known to the Blues, having played them in the 2019 Stanley Cup final and mainly being remembered for knocking Robert Thomas out of the series, something that was talked about on Twitter by Thomas. https://twitter.com/RThomas_27/status/1314752694129750016 Krug also was a big contributor offensively that series and became the first Bruin in Finals history to have four points in one game.
Armstrong’s move rocked the league and added more questions to a team that already had a lot. One thing that is clear though is Armstrong is not close to done and this Blues team will still be tweaked before the puck is dropped on opening night.