With the Alex Pietrangelo situation reaching a critical turn this week after Blues GM Doug Armstrong advised his captain to field some offers in free agency, many around the hockey world are eagerly awaiting the conclusion of this saga, which is likely to occur on or shortly after October 9th, when "free agent frenzy" begins.

The rumour of Pietrangelo having a soft spot for St. Louis due to his wife [and children] residing there, along with her family and all of their friends has been a sticking point for most pundits who have speculated that his desire to remain in Missouri would lead to the 30-year-old settling for a "hometown discount", but Pietrangelo himself has put that baby to bed during an interview with The Athletic's Jeremy Rutherford.

“I think maybe people thought that we’d be willing to do what we had to do to keep the family here. But I’ve always said I’ve got a strong wife and she keeps me going in the right direction. I’m lucky that she and I can go through this thing together because she’s been nothing but supportive.

“We sat down and did our homework on our own and have gone through scenarios, teams that we think can maybe accommodate us and teams that we think are competitive and teams that we think would be willing to raise a family in. It’s not a very fun thing to do when your heart is somewhere, but unfortunately, it’s just the situation we’re in.”

There has been plenty of talk about Pietrangelo having a potential interest in returning home to Toronto, and it does make a lot of sense from a family support perspective. I firmly believe that the captain's first choice would be to remain in St. Louis where he and his wife Jayne would continue to raise their young family, but if plans fall through, as tensions continue to mount between the Blues and Pietrangelo's camp [Newport], knowing that they have another side of the family and another group of friends to turn to in Toronto might make the Leafs a prime candidate in the Pietrangelo sweepstakes.

All of that aside, Pietrangelo is still not ruling out a return to St. Louis next season.

“No, I never will,” he said. “I’ve never once said that I’m ruling the Blues out. I’ve never said that. I don’t think you really move on. Whether you’ve played 12 years in a city or one year in a city, I don’t think you really move on until it’s pen to paper and you’re going somewhere else. I truly don’t believe that, because it’s not official until then. So maybe it’s in our best interest to see what other opportunities we can have, and maybe Doug has felt the same way, but it doesn’t mean that something can’t happen.”

SEPTEMBER 19, 2020  (13H42)