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Vegas trades Stastny to Winnipeg; is move a precursor to a Pietrangelo bid?

Vegas trades Stastny to Winnipeg; is move a precursor to a Pietrangelo bid?

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Vegas has traded center (and former Blue) Paul Stastny to Winnipeg, a move that is likely being done to open up salary cap space for Vegas to pursue Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who became a free agent on Friday.

There was no announced deal between the Blues and Pietrangelo by the start of free agency at 11 a.m. Central time, meaning the Blues captain was officially an unrestricted free agent. Vegas, Florida and Toronto are all considered teams with an interest in Pietrangelo.

Stastny is in the last year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $6.5 million. Vegas was already about $3 million over the cap (teams can be up to 10 percent over it in the offseason), and moving his contract, and trading goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, would give them enough space to sign Pietrangelo.

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This is the second time that Stastny has been traded to Winnipeg. The Blues traded him there at the deadline in 2017-18 there and he was on the team that reached the Western Conference finals. He then signed with Vegas as a free agent in the offseason.

The Golden Knights are getting a fourth-round pick in 2022 and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom, who makes $850,000 a year, in return.

Vegas is a team that would appear to the kind of place that would fit Pietrangelo's wish list, a team that figures to contend for the Stanley Cup in years ahead in an emerging market where he could be part of its history. Teammate and close friend David Perron has spoken highly of his experience during his one season in Las Vegas.

As of 11 p.m. on Thursday night, a player's existing team could no longer offer an eight-year contract, so the Blues are now on equal footing with the rest of the league in being able to offer only a seven-year deal, which will likely increase the annual average value of any contract.

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