The St. Louis Blues came into the offseason with a few tasks, but one stood above all as the priority for the franchise: locking up franchise defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. It took until after the start of training camp, but the Blues were finally able to get it done over the weekend.
The deal will keep Pietrangelo, who was a restricted free agent, in St. Louis for another seven years. The deal is for $45.5 million overall, meaning that it will carry a $6.5 million AAV. For a defenseman of Pietrangelo’s caliber, it’s a good price for the Blues.
As a defenseman, Pietrangelo really is the total package. He’s up there with the elite offensive d-men in the league, capable of moving the puck and making the smart decisions with it. He can quarterback the power play as well. That’s all while providing solid play in his own end as well.
Pietrangelo took that next step towards becoming elite in 2013. He’s only 23 and is coming off of a season in which he averaged up over 25 minutes of ice time per game, going for 24 points overall in 47 games on the season, among the best total for a defenseman.
The cap hit for Pietrangelo puts him right there with the highest in the league for a defenseman. He’s carrying the same hit as the likes of Dion Phaneuf and Erik Karlsson. The easiest comparable for him is Karlsson because of the age. While Karlsson does represent perhaps the largest offensive threat from the blue line on the planet, there isn’t much of a dropoff from him to Pietrangelo. Factor in the defensive play and this is a more than fair deal for the Blues.
The Blues now have a franchise defenseman locked up for the next seven years. Not only did they sign him to a long-term deal, avoiding perhaps paying him even more after a potential bridge deal, but they also bought out multiple UFA years. All in all, this is a fantastic deal for the Blues in more ways than one.