St. Louis Blues: Keeping Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo And Kevin Shattenkirk Will Be Expensive

Alex Pietrangelo

Jasen Vinlove – USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues head into the 2013 offseason with a few big contracts that need to be signed. While they have to decide about bringing back forwards Patrik Berglund and Chris Stewart, on defense it isn’t so much a question of if they should bring back Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo, but what the cost is going to be. Both young blueliners have played a huge role in the success of the Blues the last two seasons, and as they now become restricted free agent the Blues will need to be prepared to match other team’s offers to keep their two young stars around.

Shattenkirk came to the Blues in during the 2010-11 season, in a trade that sent Erik Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche. He’s been a consistent scorer for the Blues and a great asset on the power play. A new deal for Shattenkirk is likely to cost around $4-5 million per season, but the Blues can’t afford to worry about that. He was seventh on the team in scoring this season, and fourth during the 2011-12 season.

Pietrangelo will likely see an even bigger payday from the Blues. He has been an even more consistent scoring threat than Shattenkirk, while many also consider him to be the better all-around defenseman. A deal paying him $6 million or more per season isn’t out of the question, especially with the contract Erik Karlsson signed with the Ottawa Senators serving as a benchmark. Pietrangelo has scored 28 goals and has 120 points with the Blues over the last three seasons, and has never finished with a negative mark in plus/minus. He’s only 23 years old, and will be a contender for the Norris Trophy for many years to come.

The Blues have seen back-to-back promising seasons end earlier than they hoped, and if they want to not only return to the playoffs but get past the first two rounds, bringing back Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk must happen regardless of the cost.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL senior writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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