Despite some speculation, the Blues didn’t announce a new contract for captain Alex Pietrangelo before their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Petro is on the last year of a $6.5 million contract deal, and there is some concern that the signing of Justin Faulk to an extension right after the trade that brought him to St. Louis means that the clock is running for Pietrangelo.
Doug Armstrong spoke to TSN and The Athletic reporter Pierre LeBrun, and was asked about the contract negotiations for Pietrangelo. He demurred when it came to contract specifics, as one would expect. Armstrong instead discussed team philosophy, both on the ice and in the contracts:
“Our goal is to have a lot of good players. Our organization has been built not on the back of one or two guys. But the collective whole. We believe we have depth up front and depth on the back end. We have a lot of wealthy players but maybe no really rich players? And that’s the way we believe we can stay competitive in this market.
“I just believe that our method of death by a thousand cuts is the way that you build a team if you don’t have that type of (superstar) player.”
It’s a smart way to spread around the resources that are available, and last season it worked well for the Blues. More reasonable contracts for an increased number of quality players has allowed the Blues to construct a team that is deep from the first line all of the way to the fourth, with three excellent defensive pairs. There aren’t any roster spots given over to a leage minimum player just because that’s all that the team can afford.
Because of good asset and cost management, the Blues’ fourth line can be just as dangerous as the first line depending on the situation.
The issue here, past “will Petro take a discount?” is that sometimes to get the players to take a lower salary, Armstrong has to extend the term by a lot. This could prove albatross-esque, though players like Alexander Steen have found new life in new roles toward the end of their longer term deals.
The roster as it stands is nearly the same as the one that won the Stanley Cup in June. Whether or not Alex Pietrangelo continues to be a part of that core depends on how much he buys into Armstrong’s philosophy.