Oh, no! Alex Pietrangelo isn't signed yet, and it's August 9th! Why, the start of training camp is around a month away, and horrors! The pre-season begins September 15th!
Wait, we're only a little over a month away from actual live hockey, even if it is the pre-season? About damn time.
Anywho, it's understandable for Blues fans to worry that their top defenseman isn't signed yet. He's the last signing left, and the Blues have $7,624,167 of cap space left exactly with his name on it. Or maybe a little less than that, Who knows, because Norton Sports and Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong haven't come out and given the slightest hint of what Pietrangelo wants and what the Blues are willing to give. Not that they would, but fans sure would like something to speculate about, though.
Pietrangelo has directed his agent at Norton to not worry about offer sheets; he wants to get a deal signed with the Blues. He's not going anywhere, so is him holding out through part of training camp or the pre-season that big of a deal? Appearance-wise, yes. No one liked it when P.K. Subban did it last season with the Habs, who admittedly cracked Subban's will to hold out for a longer term. They wound up giving him a two year contract with a cap hit of $2,875,000, a two million dollar raise from his entry level deal.
You had two schools of thought: you had the "Subban should suck it up and deal" group, and then you had the guys at Eyes on the Prize who basically said no, Subban's the team's number one defenseman and the whole situation is absurd. Do those two schools of thought apply to Pietrangelo? Probably not, because while you can't disagree that both young players are their teams' respective top defenseman, both have a different reputations with fans of the team and observers of the sport. Subban is seen as a firebrand, an ego, which discounts the fact that he's an outstanding defenseman. All of that colored the discussion around him last year. Pietrangelo is seen as a hard worker, a young leader.
What they're seen as should not determine their salary; what they do should determine it. The Habs lowballed Subban, he accepted because he probably didn't want to tarnish his reputation, and then went on to win the Norris Trophy. The Blues aren't in a position to lowball Pietrangelo. They know that they have to give him a decent term and a decent salary. I'm willing to bet the problem now is with the term more than anything else. If it takes until camp to figure that out, or if it takes until the end of pre-season to figure that out, then it's fine.
I would rather the Blues make a smart decision that doesn't cheapen the public's opinion on how the franchise views Pietrangelo, because as we've seen with Subban, that winds up being almost unavoidably tied to how the fans view the player as well.