Former St Blues defender Alex Pietrangelo has been the prize of free agency, and he’s been extensively courted by the Vegas Golden Knights. But the Knights are only a couple million under the salary cap, so they’ve got to clear some space before they sign Pietrangelo for big dollars. On Sunday night, Fox Sports Midwest reporter Andy Strickland said that Vegas will trade defender Nate Schmidt to the Florida Panthers to make that space.
UPDATE, 8:45 PM: Somewhat contradicting the earlier report, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun says the Panthers do not have a deal in play for Schmidt.
Nate Schmidt has not been traded to Florida. Which is not to suggest he won’t be traded. He’s in play. But the Panthers haven’t dealt for him.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 12, 2020
Original story follows:
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) October 11, 2020
Schmidt, 29, has played 200 games as a Golden Knight since he was acquired in the expansion draft by George McPhee, the same GM who signed him undrafted years earlier. Schmidt immediately jumped from third-pairing minutes to a first-pairing role, helping Vegas along to two deep playoff runs in three years. Schmidt was given a lengthy suspension for use of an undisclosed performance-enhancing substance in 2018, his play fell off a bit in 2019-20, though he remains a solid player at both ends of the ice, albeit one with salary-cap hit of nearly $6 million until 2025.
Nate Schmidt is a strong all-around defender who does well in tough minutes signed to a relatively fair deal for the next five seasons. A decent get for the Panthers pic.twitter.com/eeh1plr7sO
— dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) October 11, 2020
No word yet on when the trade might occur or what the terms would be. Meanwhile, Pietrangelo has spent the weekend in Vegas as he and the team get nearer to a deal.