Vegas Golden Knights: Pietrangelo every inch the juggernaut this team needs

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues takes a shot past Ryan Johansen #92 of the Nashville Predators.(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues takes a shot past Ryan Johansen #92 of the Nashville Predators.(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 could go down as a defining moment in Vegas Golden Knights history.

It is currently known as the day that elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo signed, and it could be known as the day that the Vegas Golden Knights officially launched a dynasty.

After pulling the trigger on two trades to clear the cap space they needed, the Golden Knights then weaponized that in order to land the biggest prize of Free Agency.

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Make no doubt about it; Pietrangelo is a master of his craft and his signing has immediately transformed this roster from a very, very good one to an elite one.

A Stanley Cup winner in 2018-19, a two-time All-Star and one of the most consistent two-way defensemen in the NHL over the last several years, Pietrangelo ticks all the boxes.

He’s also at the peak of his powers right now, right in the middle of his prime and, as such, the Golden Knights are getting a game-changer in Pietrangelo.

Pietrangelo is right out of Central Casting when it comes to how you want a modern-day defenseman to look in the National Hockey League.

Standing at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, the 30-year-old is an intimidating presence and his hulking size makes him a dominant force at both ends of the ice.

Pietrangelo is a beast when it comes to battling for the puck in dirty areas, he’s elite when it comes to winning net-front battles and he has also averaged at least 45 hits in each of the last three seasons, including 62 in 2018-19.

Then, perhaps underrated sometimes is Pietrangelo’s ability in the offensive zone with the blueliner recording at least 40 points every season in each of the past four years, while he’s also more than capable on the power play with 36 goals and 116 assists throughout his career.

Also boasting a 3.2 wins above replacement and a goals above replacement rating of 18.2 in 2019-20, according to Evolving-Hockey, the eighth-most in the NHL, Pietrangelo is elite and his career-high in goals with 16 in 2019-20 prove that he’s bang in the middle of his prime right now.

Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues.
Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues battles against Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Averaging at least 24 minutes of ice time in each of the last nine seasons, Pietrangelo is the absolute horse on the backend that the Golden Knights have been craving since entering the NHL in 2017 and, with Shea Theodore, they now boast one of the deadliest one-two punches on the blueline in the entire league.

You can’t begin to overstate just how important and a big a signing Pietrangelo was for the Golden Knights, and he should be the final piece in the Stanley Cup puzzle for this talent-laden team.

Able to log huge minutes, play in all situations, quarterback the power play and man the penalty kill, put up big offensive numbers and be an absolute wrecking ball in his own zone, Alex Pietrangelo is the elite juggernaut this franchise needed.

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A proven cold-blooded killer in big game moments in the postseason too, Pietrangelo is perfect for the Golden Knights and it could be the final weapon they need to bring a Stanley Cup to the desert.

And he could well prove to be the catalyst that sparks the start of a championship-winning dynasty in Sin City.