Pro: Retaining assets for another deal
The reason why free agency is generally expensive is because teams can try to solve their roster needs without giving up assets.
Getting Tavares provided the Leafs with an elite centre that they didn’t have to give up draft picks, prospects or roster pieces for. Sure, it can with an $11 million price tag but that was the price and he’s been a producer since joining Toronto.
There has been a lot of talk that instead of signing Pietrangelo, the Leafs should be looking to sign or trade for a defenceman that won’t command a large salary. Some have mentioned trade targets like Matt Dumba, Colton Parayko, Aaron Ekblad, and John Manson which are solid options but the obvious problem is the price tag attached to them.
Considering how much the Leafs have given up to try and solve the team’s current needs, signing Pietrangelo would avoid having them try to come up with another trade package for a defenceman. Anything that can save a repeat of the Nazem Kadri trade would be ideal.