The St. Louis Blues are boasting a solid set of defensemen and that extends to the two players we look at today, Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Pietrangelo. Colaiacovo is seeing a resurgence of his career in St. Louis while Pietrangelo is making a name for himself in just his second full season in the NHL.
Carlo Colaiacovo: The Blues acquired Colaiacovo in the Lee Stempniak deal from Toronto and it could not have been a better move for the Blues. Colaiacovo spent 5+ years in Toronto and suffered through injuries (91 games) and poor play (33 points) but has exploded in St. Louis. In 195 games for the Blues, Colaiacovo has 16 goals and 71 assists while posting a +6 rating and all of this has come in 2.5 years.
While Colaiacovo has not fully shaken the injury bug, he still played in 65 games last year and put up nice offensive numbers. Of his 20 assists last year half of them came on the power play and once again this year he will quarterback the top power play unit with Pietrangelo.
Colaiacovo will not put up big offensive numbers but will have another consistant year as the second defensive pairing and will be a big asset on the power play. If the Blues are out of the playoff race look for the team to shop him around as he is on a contract year and could fetch a good return ala Eric Brewer last year.
Alex Pietrangelo: When the Blues picked Erik Johnson, they thought they had secured their defensemen of the future. Little did they know that the player who would be that defensemen would be picked a few years later. Alex Pietrangelo burst on to the scene last year, after two 9 game tryouts the last two years, and allowed Johnson to become expendable.
Petro, in his first full season, suited up for 79 games and had an impact right from the start. Alex led the Blues with 32 assists and was ranked in the top 20 in points by defensemen. As an unofficial rookie, Petro also put up a +18 ranking while leading the top defense pairing against teams top lines.
Alex also stepped his game up against divisional opponents, which will be a huge point this season as well. In 23 divisional games, Petro notched 3 goals and 8 assists and a +2 rating. Along with every other defensemen on the Blues roster, Alex puts his body in harms way to better the Blues chances of stopping opposing goals. Petro blocked 121 shots this year and 44 of thos against divisional opponents.
In his second full season, Pietrangelo must avoid the sophomore slump, but his trial runs have allowed him the luxury to potentially bypass any slumps that come his way. Pietrangelo is on the cusp of becoming a star in the league and a solid season will propel him and the Blues to a playoff spot.
We wrap up our defense preview next with a look at