2020 Free Agency: Vegas Golden Knights finally get their hands on the Chosen One

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Vegas Golden Knights finally have their man.

After a long few days of waiting with plenty of twists and turns, the Vegas Golden Knights have emerged victorious after coming to an agreement with elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

It was announced today that the Golden Knights have signed the Unrestricted Free Agent to a seven-year, $61.6 million deal with an Average Annual Value of $8.8 million.

The contract runs through the 2026-27 season and makes Pietrangelo the fifth-highest paid defenseman in the National Hockey League.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet also reports that the contract has a full no-move clause.

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After a long wait the Golden Knights finally have their White Wale in Pietrangelo, who has chosen Sin City as his new home after visiting the City and the franchise over the weekend, before coming to a carefully calculated decision today.

Pietrangelo was the only guy for the Golden Knights and they made signing the former St. Louis Blues Captain a priority from Day One of the off-season.

They dealt veteran center Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets early on in Free Agency in order to create some much-needed cap space, with teams able to go over the salary cap by 10 percent during the off-season.

Vegas will need to make more moves in order to get cap compliant for the start of the 2020-21 season but, for now, they have achieved their ultimate goal in adding a legitimate stud on the blueline and what could be the final piece in the Stanley Cup puzzle.

Pietrangelo is a top-five defenseman in the National Hockey League and he will push the Golden Knights over the top.

This is a huge signing by the Golden Knights and also a massive statement of intent for a team who have made two Western Conference Finals in three years. And they have only been in the league for three years.

Figure that.

But Pietrangelo could well be the missing piece for Vegas, who now boast an elite one-two punch on the backend in Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore.

Drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Pietrangelo established himself as both one of the best and one of the most consistent defensemen in the entire National Hockey League.

He has recorded 450 points (109 G, 341 A) in 758 career regular season games, all for the Blues, scoring at least 13 goals in each of the past four seasons.

Pietrangelo also put up a career-high 16 tucks in 2019-20 on his way to finishing the regular season with 52 points (36 A) in 70 games in what was the final year of a seven-year $45.5 million contract, finishing sixth among all NHL defensemen in points.

He also had the eighth-most goals above replacement in the NHL at 18.2, according to Evolving-Hockey, which is the kind of underlying stat that proves just how elite Pietrangelo really is, as does the fact that he had a 3.2 wins above replacement.

With at least 40 points in every season in each of the past four years, the elite blueliner has been a consistent offensive force in the NHL, while he’s also a weapon on the power play with 36 goals and 116 assists.

Also impressive has been Pietrangelo’s ability to elevate his game when it really matters in the postseason, recording 51 points (8 G, 43 A) in 92 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games.

Pietrangelo was a key cog in the Blues team that won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 2018-19, contributing 19 points (3 G, 16 A) in 26 games while averaging a monster 25:45 minutes of ice time per game.

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues.
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates with the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Not only can the 30-year-old provide offense from the blueline and quarterback the power play, but he can also perform in a key shutdown role and excel in all situations.

A physical and intimidating force at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Pietrangelo can battle hard in the corners, get to the dirty areas, really battle in-front of the net and just provide a physical presence on the ice at all times.

He has also averaged no less than 24 minutes of ice time in each of the last nine seasons, so he would be the horse on the blueline that the Golden Knights so crave.

Oh, and just to add to the credentials, Pietrangelo is a two-time NHL All-Star.

Make no mistakes about it; Pietrangelo would instantly become the elite and most versatile defenseman on this roster, able to thrive in all situations while eating monster minutes in each and every game.

A hidden benefit of the above is that Pietrangelo’s mere presence would free Shea Theodore up to take on an even more offensive role for this team, while the Golden Knights would be gaining two great power play quarterbacks which is a scary thought for the rest of the NHL.

Also, Pietrangelo’s intangibles and the fact that he’s been durable for most of his career suggests that the Golden Knights will get what they paid for for the majority of this contract.

Pietrangelo is in his prime right now and the Golden Knights are built to contend for multiple championships right now, so this is a match made in heaven.

A proven winner too having lifted the Stanley Cup two years ago, Pietrangelo will bring that knowledge of what it takes to go that extra mile in order to win the greatest prize in all of sports, and he should be a perfect fit inside the room.

All in all, the Vegas Golden Knights have positioned themselves as a team designed and carefully constructed to go all out to win, and the arrival of one of the best and most dominant defensemen in the NHL in Alex Pietrangelo should help push them over the top.

How Pietrangelo deal works. dark. Next

We’ll have a lot more on this in the coming days as we break down what Alex Pietrangelo’s signing truly means and what it could all look like for the Golden Knights in 2020-21.