The Alex Pietrangelo era has come to an end in St. Louis, and it could not have been a more insulting farewell.
Related Video: Blues Fan Reacts to Pietrangelo leaving
All the rational Blues fans out there knew this was going to happen. Since Justin Faulk signed his new contract, we knew the man we call “Petro” was going to test out the free-agency market at the end of 2019-2020. After 12 valiant years of serving this organization, Doug Armstrong has tossed him aside like a Wendy’s wrapper on I-64.
I am a firm believer that Petro deserves a hero’s sendoff as he leaves for the Vegas Golden Knights organization on a seven-year, $61.6 million contract. Now is as good of a time as ever to reflect on everything he has done for the St. Louis Blues.
“And with the fourth overall pick…”
With Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, and Zach Bogosian (lol) off the board, the Blues took a chance and drafted a right-handed shot defenseman in Alex Pietrangelo, 4th overall in the 2008 entry draft. It was a fantastic addition to an already strong defensive core for the Blues, including Barrett Jackman, Carlo Colaiacovo, and then-captain Eric Brewer. He scored his first NHL goal on 10/24/09 against the Dallas Stars, before being lent to the Team Canada u20 team for the WJC. He wouldn’t make an official impact right away, but his time would come. His time would come very soon.
Making an impact:
Pietrangelo’s first full season as a Blue in 2010-2011 would be one to remember, despite the team missing the playoffs. Making a notable pairing alongside the left-handed Carlo Colaiacovo, he led all blues defenseman in goals, assists, points, and +/- (11-32-48 and +18), beating out the next best defenseman (his partner, Mr. Colaiacovo) by 20 points. He would follow that up with 12-39-51 the following season (good for third on the entire roster and earning him a spot to the NHL Second All-Star Team) and powering the Blues to the fewest GA (165 all year) in the league.
A lockout-shortened 2012-13 season didn’t stop him from scoring 24 points in 47 GP alongside new acquisition Jay Bouwmeester. The following season he put up yet another 51 point season in 81 GP, earning him a 7-year, $45 million extension (which expired this year) and yet another NHL Second All-Star Team designation.
In the 2016 offseason, then-captain David Backes signed with the Boston Bruins, and Pietrangelo was named the 22nd captain of the franchise. He finished with 48 points and his first-ever All-Star game, in which he won the Passing competition. The following year (2017-18), he finished with a career-high 54 points, but the Blues failed to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time since his arrival as a full-time blueliner.
Alas, we all know what happened in 2018-19…
Pietrangelo had a mostly average regular season, going 13-28-41 and leading the team in TOI (24:05). In the playoffs, Pietrangelo led the team in assists (16) and TOI (25:45) and tied all defenseman in points (19, with the Bruins’ Torey Krug).
But more important than any stupid stat out there:
On June 12th, 2019 Alex Pietrangelo became the first player in St. Louis Blues franchise history to hoist the Stanley Cup.
This season, he finished with a career-high 16 goals, combined with 36 assists for 52 points. He appeared in his 2nd All-Star game (in St. Louis!) and was designated to the 2nd All-Star team for the 3rd time in his career, in addition to finishing 4th in Norris Trophy voting.
Any team with Alex Pietrangelo on it is automatically a cup contender. He brought the Blues their first Stanley Cup, and I know he can help bring the Golden Knights a Stanley Cup, too.
Pietrangelo, I hope you know that rational Blues fans everywhere are as frustrated with our GM as you are. We will miss you, dearly. I hope you find a few more Stanley Cups in your cupboard in the coming years. You signed with a team that was dangerous even before you agreed to your new contract.
Nevertheless, Pietrangelo will go down as one of the greatest captains in Blues history, and you can almost count on his jersey hanging from the rafters someday.
It’s too bad Doug Armstrong couldn’t see that.
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