Carolina Hurricanes Free Agency Preview: Defenseman

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Alex Pietrangelo

Kicking off this list is arguably the biggest name to potentially hit the open market this offseason, Alex Pietrangelo. The current St. Louis Blues captain is a veteran of over 750 regular season games and is coming off a Stanley Cup winning campaign.

A 12 year pro, Pietrangelo is a top paring right shot, two-way defenseman who is capable of providing offense from the blueline. With 8, 40+ point seasons to his name, Alex is a key member to the Blues’ roster both on and off the ice.

Before the recent stoppage, he was well on his way to set new career highs in assists (39) and points (54), both set back in 17-18, and already set a new career high in goals (16). The 30 year old defenseman, is currently in his fourth season as the Blues’ captain, following David Backes who signed in Boston as a UFA back in 2016.

Another Blue, Brayden Schenn signed a team friendly deal earlier this season, and Pietrangelo is more than likely to do the same. It is rare that a player of his caliber hits the open market in their prime years, especially when they mean as much to a franchise and city in which they play as Alex does.

But, given the recent sign and trade involving former Cane Justin Faulk, anything is possible as they both are similar players who will have massive deals kicking in next fall.

Should he stay in St. Louis, his contract extension would more than likely make him a Blue for life. But on the other hand, if he were to become an UFA there won’t be a shortage of suitors. His leadership abilities and other intangibles make him a desirable player.

When you look at his performance over the past couple of season, he appears as if he should be able to play at an elite level for a few more years without seeing much of a decline, if at all. Given the recent history of all the big contract signings of players on the wrong side of 30, a max term, high dollar deal could still prove to be costly in the final few seasons.

Even if he hits the open market there isn’t much of a fit for the Hurricanes here. While he would be a nice addition to the locker room and an excellent mentor to the young Carolina roster, the Canes already has enough top pairing caliber right shot D. To bring him in would almost certainly require a corresponding move(s) to clear space and cap, making any deal/interest extremely unlikely.