The Vegas Golden Knights hit the jackpot during the offseason in free agency. That is because they signed former Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo to a monster contract to join their club. The contract will see Pietraneglo earn an average of $8.8 million for the next seven seasons. The contract is a little risky as Pietrangelo will be 38 when the contract expires. With someone of Pietrangelo’s skillset, this contract is worth every penny.
The Golden Knights have sprung to the top of the NHL standings this season. They have completely dominated their opponents all season long and are a favorite to take it all this year. As for the St. Louis Blues, their season has gone worse than expected. The whole team hasn’t looked the same ever since their captain walked out the door. His absence is a huge reason why the Blues are playing for their playoff lives right now.
— NHL (@NHL) October 13, 2020
The Replacements Aren’t Filling The Void
When you lose someone like Pietrangelo, you have to have a plan to replace his presence on the ice. The Blues decided to invest their money in a new defenseman this year. That defenseman is former Bruin Torey Krug. Krug is an offensive-minded defenseman who is not afraid to take the body. While Kurg is a very good player, he is nowhere near what Pietrangelo was on this team. Pietrangelo is a leader, an excellent penalty killer, and is great on the power-play. Krug’s specialty is on the power-play and isn’t too reliable in his own zone during five-on-five play.
Another name they brought in last season was Justin Faulk. As soon as he was acquired, the team signed him to a six-year contract. It was not cheap money either. He will be earning an average of $6.5 million until the 2026-27 season. As soon as the Blues made that trade, it was pretty clear they were not going to pay Pietrangelo. Faulk hasn’t been terrible for the Blues since his acquisition, but he hasn’t been spectacular either. These two big-name defensemen the Blues brought in haven’t filled the void that Pietrangelo made when the team let him walk in free agency.
Before anyone get’s out of hand here, Ryan O’Reilly is a fantastic captain. He is one of the main reasons the Blues won the Stanley Cup in 2019. That being said, he cannot do this alone. The retirement of Alex Steen this offseason made the Blues lose some veteran leadership in the locker room. That didn’t help the news of Pietrangelo leaving either.
Besides O’Reilly, the team doesn’t have a certified second in command. Brayden Schenn is still young but has signs of a leader. Tyler Bozak might be up there, but overall his game has dipped and isn’t much of a factor. That leaves David Perron and Mike Hoffman. Hoffman is only in St. Louis as a trial run this season. David Perron has been here for a while so he is probably the next guy. Losing a guy like Piretrangelo is more than just losing a quality defender. You are losing a leader and a mentor for any young defensemen coming to the team looking to make an impact.
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