St. Louis Blues: 3 Reasons To Keep Alex Pietrangelo

EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 17: Alex Pietrangelo #27 (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, ALBERTA - AUGUST 17: Alex Pietrangelo #27 (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Blues
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – JUNE 06: Alex Pietrangelo #27 of the St. Louis Blues and Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins discuss the call with the referees during the third period in Game Five of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

End not in sight

Speaking of getting your money’s worth, one of the bigger arguments against Pietrangelo’s contract extension is the length of the deal. It is assumed he would want something in the seven to eight year range.

That would make him anywhere between 37 and 39 by the time the contract ended. Those are generally not years that are kind to players.

Some players hit 30 and hit a wall. The Blues could see that kind of decline happening with David Backes and wisely let him walk before they had to overpay him.

At 32, Backes no longer scored 20-plus goals any longer and his overall point totals went down too. Some of that could have been because he switched teams after such a long stay in St. Louis and had a vastly different role. It is undeniable that Backes was not the physical force he was earlier in his career.

The lengthy contract he signed with Boston started looking bad very early on. The worry is Pietrangelo will get his money and tailspin.

The difference is Backes played a bruising style. That does not mean Pietrangelo does not hit anyone, but he’s not constantly battling all game long like Backes did.

Backes got beat up in front of the net, he battled in the corners on the forecheck and just got whacked all the time when possessing the puck. Pietrangelo does not give, nor receive the same type of punishment.

Additionally, defenders generally age much better than forwards anyway. Except for Gordie Howe, forwards tend to have their talents decline much quicker than defenders.

A lot of defenders played well as they aged. Chris Chelios was still averaging well over 20 minutes per game after he crossed 40. The same could be said of defenders such as Nick Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara and Al MacInnis.

At age 39, MacInnis scored 16 goals and 68 points. Only an eye injury prevented him from playing past 40.

MacInnis won his only Norris Trophy of his career when he was 35. He finished second in the voting when he was 39.

Mark Giordano just won a Norris Trophy. He had the best year of his career at age 35. Giordano had never scored more than 48 points and suddenly had 74 points just when some assume guys start thinking about hanging up the skates.

There is no reason Pietrangelo cannot keep up his play, if not continue to improve it. Pietrangelo just had his best career year at 30, scoring 16 goals in a shortened season.

He fell just shy of the 54 points he scored in 2017-18 with 52 points.  Pietrangelo also made his second All-Star team at age 30.

Pietrangelo does not have the overall skill of MacInnis, but he plays a similar style. He’s not throwing his body around with reckless abandon, so he’s more likely to stay healthy. Staying healthy means you’re able to contribute on the offensive end as well as defensive.

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Even if you say Pietrangelo starts declining around 35 and then you’re paying a second or third pairing defender big bucks, that would still be five years away. He is more than capable of providing a high-level five years in that time, if not more.