Dreger on Leafs, Pietrangelo, Parayko

How much longer might it be before the St. Louis’ Blues struggles lead to a core player being moved out?

Losses lead to trade speculation, and the latest round involving the Blues hit Monday morning during an appearance for Darren Dreger on TSN Toronto 1050’s First Up.

Dreger was asked by show co-host Carlo Colaiacovo about the possibility of the Leafs and one of the Blues top-end defensemen, either Alex Pietrangelo or Colton Parayko.

“I can’t connect them,” began Dreger. “And it might be a little premature to do that. But I’d be really surprised if Toronto wouldn’t be interested in either Pietrangelo or Colton Parayko. I mean, just based on what they bring to any team, including St. Louis, who is struggling inexplicably this year. That’s why we’re even having these conversations.

“I like Pietrangelo. I’ve always liked him. He’s a heck of a defenseman. The problem that exists in him is he brings a $6.5 million AAV for I think he’s got one year left. 28 years old. You’ve got a great body of work, so you know what you’re getting. The question is who’s going out. And I’m not just talking about the quality of the players that are required to make a deal like this. The money has to matter and match for next season.

“I take Kyle Dubas at his word. I think that they’ve got lots of time in terms of seasons for William Nylander. That would be an easy swap if things didn’t work out. But if Nylander doesn’t work out in Toronto, then why the heck would Doug Armstrong and the St. Louis Blues want him.

“So then you have to look at other pieces. Kasperi Kapanen, plus, plus. Whatever it is, I get it.

“Colton Parayko - age dynamic really, really nice. 25 years old. He’s got three more years at $5.5 million, so you get cost certainty in him. Big right-shot guy. I don’t know that he’s the most mobile - Carlo, I’ll let you assess his play as a defenseman. He does a lot of things right, including absolutely powder the puck.”

“To be honest, you said mobile,” interjected Colaiacovo. “For a guy his size, he’s pretty good at moving around.”

“Yeah, I mean I got to know him fairly well a couple of years ago at the world championship on the bigger ice,” recalled Dreger. “And he was fine there. He was better than that, in fact. So if, if… those rumors of Colton Parayko, they date back to pre-trade deadline last year.

“But look, you have to talk about these things and you have to speculate because the St. Louis Blues are lousy, they’re lousy right now.

“... Armstrong has already fired one coach. He’s not going to throw Craig Berube under the bus, so it’s going to be one of the core guys that gets moved out. So you’re either talking about a stud-like forward, or you’re talking about one of the big boys on the back end. Because he’s not moving O’Reilly, he’s not moving Bozak, and he’s not moving the pieces that he just brought in last summer.”

Pietrangelo - currently sidelined with an injury - has this season and next left on his contract, which carries a $6.5 million cap hit and also includes a no-trade clause.

Parayko is in the second season of a five-year, $27.5 million deal that does not include any trade protection.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly