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Blues GM: Alex Pietrangelo will be a Blue; hopes to reach deal soon

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

More NHL offseason: Rumors | Top 50 Free Agents | Buyout Tracker | Trades | Transactions

Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson aren't the only restricted free agents remaining without contracts, there are a couple of other guys across the league as well. Including star St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

On Wednesday Blues GM Doug Armstrong took the time to update the media on the negotiations with Pietrangelo and as of now it doesn't sound like anything is imminent. Armstrong didn't want to delve too much into dollar figures or contract lengths that are on the table, but he did want to make one thing clear; Pietrangelo isn't going to play for anybody but the Blues.

When restricted free agents remain unsigned as long as Pietrangelo has, the offer sheet question always arises. There aren't a whole lot of teams with the ability to throw out offer sheets this summer but even if they were, Armstrong said he's prepared for it. In other words, don't even waste your time with an offer sheet other GMs.

What he's also prepared for is if Pietrangelo's contract dispute takes longer to figure out. Armstrong said that he's discussed inviting some UFA defensemen into camp should Pietrangelo not be signed soon and right now there are a few options out there, but you know it would be on the cheap if they signed anybody, they must keep room for a new deal with Pietrangelo.

Still, Armstrong is hopeful that his young defenseman will have a new deal before camp opens, even if it doesn't seem all that promising at the moment. I'm sure Ken Hitchcock feels the same as Armstrong on that front as Pietrangelo has quickly developed into one of the best defensemen in the game, a borderline Norris candidate in the past two seasons.

This past season he had five goals and 19 assists while averaging 25 minutes a night; 25 tough minutes as Pietrangelo saw a lot of the opponents' top players (per Hockey Abstract).

While Armstrong didn't give any update on specifics, Bob McKenzie of TSN reported where he thinks the negotiations are right now.

It's very likely going to be a long and lucrative deal, right now it's just a matter of how long and how lucrative. And of course when it will actually be signed.

"This isn't a one-way street on either side," Armstrong said, noting dialogue is constant. "Both sides want to do something that they're comfortable with. Probably both sides will wind up doing something that they're a little uncomfortable with, but we've made it very clear since the summer that Alex will be a St. Louis Blue when he plays hockey again."

 
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