If you pay any attention to this site then you will be well aware that we strongly think the Vegas Golden Knights need to revamp their blueline.
It is an opinion we stand by and we will be doing a further piece soon on certain defensemen the Vegas Golden Knights can go after during the off-season.
But, for now, we are going to focus our attention on one blueliner in particular who we think could be the final piece in the Stanley Cup jigsaw the Golden Knights are trying to complete right now.
Step forward Alex Pietrangelo.
The St. Louis Blues Captain is one of the premier blueliners in the National Hockey League right now, and he would be a huge addition to this franchise both on the ice and off the ice.
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His resume speaks for itself and he played a key role in the Blues lifting their first Stanley Cup in franchise history last year, so the 29-year-old knows what it takes to win the greatest prize in all of sports.
We’re going to explain why Pietrangelo would be the perfect fit for the Vegas Golden Knights, but it makes no sense running through the pros and cons given that most, if not all 31 teams in the NHL would be desperate to have the stud defenseman on their roster.
That includes the Blues because Pietrangelo is currently in the final year of his seven-year, $45,500,000 contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
So, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Pietrangelo will have a lot of very, very keen admirers should he hit the open market.
The Golden Knights should be at the front of that queue.
And let’s make one thing clear before we continue because we are bound to get comments on this – the Knights will have the cap space. As it stands, Vegas will have around $15 million in cap space next summer, and that isn’t taking into consideration the fact that the salary cap will probably go up.
Pietrangelo is one of the best defenseman in the NHL and he would tick a hell of a lot of boxes for the Golden Knights.
He can log monster minutes and is averaging 24:05 minutes of total ice time a game this season, while his career average is 24:39.
So you know you can rely on Pietrangelo in a number of different situations, while he’s also very durable having not dipped below the 70-game mark since 2012-13, which was a lockout-shortened season anyway so that doesn’t really count.
At 6’3″ and 209 lbs, Pietrangelo is an imposing figure and he uses his huge frame to his advantage with a long reach, while he dished out 62 hits last year alone.
While he is an extremely solid stay-at-home defenseman, the No.4 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft can also provide offense, as backed up by his 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) this year.
He contributed 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points last year, while he posted 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) during the Blues’ successful Stanley Cup run.
In total, Pietrangelo has amassed 415 points (99 goals, 316 assists) in 709 career NHL regular season games, so that gives you some idea as to the level of offensive production he can chip in.
Another intriguing factor at play here is the fact that the defenseman can also man the power play, while playing a vital shutdown role on the penalty kill if needed too.
The veteran has 21 blocked shots, eight hits and nine takeaways to his name through 21 games this season, and his CF% is 50.4 while he also boasts an oZS% of 54.7.
He is, however, a -2 and has 16 Giveaways so far this year but those are only minor blemishes on the copybook.
Pietrangelo is also a high character player and he’s a glue guy in that St. Louis locker room, so he would slot seamlessly into the culture that has carefully been forged within that Vegas locker room.
And, although he will finish this season as a 30-year-old, defensemen typically play late into their 30’s and beyond in some cases. Just look at Boston Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara who is still going strong at 42, so age shouldn’t be a concern.
So, we’ve laid out Alex Pietrangelo’s credentials and it is clear that he’s the absolute horse the Golden Knights absolutely crave on the blueline.
He can become a foundational piece of the defense alongside Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt and Nic Hague and Pietrangelo is also a right shot, which is important because Deryk Engelland is currently the only right shot on the Vegas roster and this could be the veteran’s last year.
As a result, Pietrangelo would add some balance to the defensive pairings and he could be a perfect fit for either Theodore or Schmidt on the top defensive pairing.
Granted, the Golden Knights will probably have to pay Pietrangelo in the region of $8-10 million a year but, given that their Stanley Cup window is wide open right now, it would be a worthwhile commitment.
Defense wins championships after all and the one real flaw on this Vegas Golden Knights roster is their blueline.
If they can make a huge splash next off-season by luring Pietrangelo to Sin City should he hit free agency – and they will have the cap space just to stress again – then they will significantly boost their chances of winning a championship, and maybe multiple Stanley Cups.
Alex Pietrangelo is a warrior, he knows what it takes to win, he can be placed in a plethora of different situations, he’s durable and he’s exactly what the Vegas Golden Knights need.
It should be a no-brainer.