Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk Favorites for Norris Trophy

Feb 5, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues are having some serious trouble on the defensive side of their game this season.  Brian Elliott has fallen apart the past couple games and the defense seems to have forgotten that they have to stay in position and keep plays to the outside.  With the past couple blow outs the Blues defense is attracting all kinds of attention, but not all of it is negative.

Last season Alex Pietrangelo was in contention to win the Norris Trophy as he played some of the best hockey of his career.  His offensive play was great and his defensive play was better.  This season, Petro has been able to put up big numbers on offense with 10 points in 10 games including 3 goals and 7 assists.  Doug Armstrong even said that, “He is so efficient that his game sometimes goes unnoticed.”

Petro’s is a two-way player, but his offense is setting him apart this season.  According to Kevin Allen of USA Today Sports, Pietrangelo is the favorite to win the Norris trophy this season based on his early play.  St. Louis Blues fans may disagree given the mistakes he has made, but his offensive numbers may tell the story.

Last season Pietrangelo was perhaps the best defensive defenseman in the group on Norris contenders, but Erik Karlsson took home the honor instead.  Why you ask, because his offensive numbers were incredible.

April 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) takes a shot against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period in game two of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

According to Allen, Kevin Shattenkirk is another candidate for the honors, “The long shot in this field, Shattenkirk has posted a goal, nine assists and a plus 3 rating in 10 games. He has been as impressive as Pietrangelo on most nights. Coach Ken Hitchcock said Shattenkirk and Pietrangelo both had improved in the category of “competitive calmness.”  Not panicking under pressure, not panicking at the offensive blue line.  No forcing the issue offensively. … Both of these guys are getting to that level where the game is starting to slow down in their head. They’re able to make better plays under pressure.”

Not too bad for a team that is struggling in their own zone.  Let’s hope both young defensemen can pull their games together to become the complete packages to continue to lead the pack of defensemen fighting for the Norris.

As always, LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan

Tags: Alex Pietrangelo Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis Blues

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