It was the biggest signing of the offseason, changing the landscape of the NHL. When Alex Pietrangelo signed his seven-year deal with the Golden Knights the league wildly reacted to the deal and its effect on the franchise.
They don’t lack for boldness. The end of the road map for them, like every team is the Cup. Their path seems to be a lot more direct. I don’t know if it’s going to work. They’re dancing on a wire… The Stastny thing I guess opens the door for Cody Glass. If you take Stastny and Schmidt out of the lineup and just put in Pietrangelo, I don’t know how much better they are. I think Pietrangelo is really good, but you’re taking on two pretty important players. I really don’t know what to think of it.-Ray Ferraro, TSN on TSN1050
Another pundit, however, understood the mindset of the Golden Knights front office aggressive nature.
They’re a no nonsense franchise. They’re all about winning. That’s what Mr. Foley their owner is about. They make no bones about it. George McPhee is all about that. Kelly McCrimmon’s about that… They hate San Jose. They don’t dislike San Jose, they hate San Jose. When Pete DeBoer got fired by San Jose, the team they hated the most and probably the coach they hated the most they hired him because they thought he gave them the best chance to win. They’re about winning they don’t worry about all the other stuff, the window dressing. It’s not everybody gets a trophy in this league. They’re a hard edge organization.-Pierre McGuire, NBCSN to TSN1200
By this point Golden Knights fans are aware of the front office’s hard edge, win at all costs mentality. The massive commitment to Pietrangelo proved that, as well as the difficult decisions to trade Nate Schmidt and Paul Stastny.
I heard the deal in Vegas was going to be 7x$8.5M. It came out 7x$8.8M. It’s got the no move protection. I’ve been told it has the protection that Pietrangelo wanted. The buyout protection later in the deal it’s there, in the form of a signing bonus. I heard it was a grind… I do think there were some other teams that wanted to get in on Pietrangelo but I don’t think Vegas was going to let that happen. No matter how grindy the negotiations got, he was their target, he was the guy they wanted. I think Vegas was always Pietrangelo’s first choice.-Elliotte Friedman, 31 Thoughts Podcast
Friedman relayed some of the information he gathered surrounding Pietrangelo and gave detail to why certain players in the organization were irate hearing their names circling around the rumor mill.
There are some players on the Vegas team who were bent out of shape over this. Some of their agents were and some of the players were. We already know that Fleury’s upset about his situation. Alec Martinez just got traded there and his name was out there in rumors… There were rumors about Pacioretty who’s got three years left in the extension he signed there, and Marchessault who has four-years left in his extension.
Stone got a no-move clause and now Pietrangelo definitely did get one. You just have to know, if you go there this is the organization. They churn, they churn players. It’s not going to be news to the Golden Knights, I’m sure they know that the players are upset. –Friedman, 31 Thoughts Podcast
Another interesting nugget was which players the Golden Knights were willing to trade away and the players that were off the table.
Some teams that Vegas talked to to create cap space they asked for Tuch, who just signed a six-year extension. I don’t believe Reilly Smith was someone they wanted to move. I heard a couple of teams asked about Smith and they were told ‘no we’re not moving him.’ –Friedman, 31 Thoughts Podcast
And lastly comes the hard truth. The Golden Knights were unsuccessful moving Marc-Andre Fleury and his hefty contract, because of that the Golden Knights missed out on acquiring a Hart trophy winner.
I think Vegas was one of the finalist for Taylor Hall. Short-term deal, it was one-year. I would guess they were offering him around $5M but they wanted him. And that would’ve meant they would’ve had to move more… There’s a whole situation in Tampa over Steven Stamkos. I believe Tampa has gone to Stamkos and asked him if he would waive. I think Vegas at least had a conversation about it. Vegas at the end decided not to do it because Stamkos’ health. If you’re doing that you probably have to get rid of Pacioretty. Pacioretty has less term and he’s healthier. –Friedman, 31 Thoughts Podcast
It may have seemed like one mega-deal and two trades, but in reality, the front office explored countless options. They found ways to open up cap space, sign their crush, and build a better team.
Now, it’s time for that hard-edge approach to produce a 35-pound silver result.