Alex Pietrangelo is one of the finest defensmen in the NHL, and will be in contention for a Norris Trophy as well as a Stanley Cup this upcoming season. The Blues are extremely lucky to have such a great young star leading their team at such a reasonable price. This is all well and good until it comes to contract time, and unfortunately his entry level contract expires at the end of the 2012/2013 year. There is no extreme level of worry as the St. Louis Blues still own his rights through the 2013/2014 season, which means the Blues will be able to match any offer that is made upon him by another team. However, if another team makes an unreasonably high offer to Pietrangelo, it will crippling. Whether the Blues decide to match the offer (see Weber in Nashville) or let their star defenseman go, the financial hit would send a ripple affect through their roster, forcing them to cut spending in other areas. It would be in the Blues’ best interest to sign him during this season to a long team contract. The contract he gets may end up being the biggest in Blues history but it would still be less than what he will get in an offer sheet or the open market in two years. Let’s compare Pietrangelo’s numbers to some other big signings for defensmen this off season.
(Player, contract, 2011/2012 stats, comments)
Alex Pietrangelo, TBD, 12G 39A +16, solid on offense, defense, powerplay and penalty kill, one of the best
Dennis Wideman- 5yr 25.25 Million with Calgary, 11G 35A -8, a second pairing defensmen on most teams, has offensive talent but not great in his own zone, included just to show excessive contract for a decent defensmen
Ryan Suter- 13yr 98 Million with Minnesota, 7G 38A +15, a solid defensmen with a huge contract but not as good offensively as Pietrangelo, although he is much more of a physical presence.
Shea Weber- 14yr, 110 Million with Nashville (matched offer sheet by Philadelphia), 19G 30A +21, solid in all facets of game, only one on list that is probably currently better than Pietrangelo, contract may cripple Predators in future.
How good Suter and Weber will be without one another remains to be seen but their contracts set a good bar of what a desperate team will pay for Pietrangelo. Hopefully the Blues can lock up Pietrangelo through his prime years and well under 100 Million, so we can all take a huge sigh of relief.