26-Year-Old Defenseman – St. Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with the Blues in September of 2013.
Pietrangelo had a power-play assist in the Blues' 5-2 win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday. He added two shots on goal, a hit and two blocked shots in a team-high 26:29 time on ice.
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Alex Pietrangelo: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Pietrangelo posted his fourth career 40-plus point season in 2014-15, but since it came with a 22-tick drop in his plus/minus rating from the year prior, he likely saw his fantasy value decline in most formats. But by most other metrics, Pietrangelo was just as good, if not better last season, as he put a career-high 195 shots on goal (31 more than his 2013-14 total) and became more of a physical presence by doling out 70 hits. And though it didn't result in an upswing in goals last season, Pietrangelo's increased willingness to attempt shots could portend a return to the 50-point mark if he can notice some expected improvement on last year's 3.6 percent shooting rate. Still in the middle of his prime at 25 years old, Pietrangelo remains one of the game's best defensemen and could come at a discount this year.
At just 24 years old, Pietrangelo has already established himself as one of the NHL’s preeminent blueliners, showcasing both shutdown defensive abilities and imagination as a scorer and distributor beyond his age. Save for a slight downgrade in goals, Pietrangelo’s past campaign was a near carbon copy of his last full season of 2011-12, providing a reasonable baseline of what to expect from the defenseman moving forward. While not possessing the same offensive aptitude as fellow high-end fantasy blueliners such as Erik Karlsson and Shea Weber, Pietrangelo accents his value in other ways, particularly in the plus-minus and blocked shots categories. The Blues’ wealth of capable scorers at both even strength and on the power play might make Pietrangelo more deferential to his teammates than most players of his caliber, but his high floor of production and relatively clean injury history make him a rather stable early-round investment for fantasy squads.
Pietrangelo saw a dip in production during last year's lockout-shortened season. After posting career highs in goals and assists in 2011-12 and talk of many future Norris trophies, the 23-year-old delivered just 24 points in 47 games and saw a dramatic drop off in power-play production. But we're giving him a mulligan for that and fully expect him to return to numbers similar to his 51-point breakout two years ago. He remains a top-five defenseman in the fantasy game and a cornerstone to the Blues and your fantasy squad.
Pietrangelo is the unquestioned leader on the defense for the Blues and the team's leader in minutes played. It was a slow offensive start for Pietrangelo in 2011-12, but for the second straight season, he had a stellar second half -- 40 of his 51 points came in the final 44 games from January through the end of the regular season. Don't get down on him if he's not putting up the offense right away. He will. Like many top defensemen in the league, Pietrangelo is on ice for both special teams, with 24 points coming on the power play. He should be one of the top five defensmen selected in any draft.
It looks like the Blues played it just right with Pietrangelo, giving him just enough time in the AHL to develop before handing him an important role with the major league club in 2010-11. He showed improvement over the course of the season, posting a plus-18 with 11 goals and 32 assists. Though there are better true defenders on the roster, Pietrangelo is the unquestioned No. 1 and offensive leader from the blue line. He’s expected to quarterback the power play unit and we should see more offense as he becomes comfortable taking chances.
Pietrangelo had another productive season at the junior level and will make the jump in 2009-10. Does that mean the AHL or the NHL? At this point, there's an opening for a sixth defender on the Blues' blue line because the team opted not to re-sign Mike Weaver. It appears Pietrangelo will have a chance to earn that spot, and he's created some buzz within the organization and throughout the fan base. The Blues could use the offensively-skilled Pietrangelo in their transition game, but he's not likely to crack the top-four this coming season.
At 19, Pietrangelo sits atop the Blues' prospect pile. He played in eight games for St. Louis last season before they sent him back to Niagra of the Ontario Hockey League, where he had 29 points in 36 games. He's a puck-moving defenseman -- something the parent club needs -- who is a high-end offensive talent. Eric Brewer's absence to start the season should create room on the active roster for him, but he's probably not ready to be a top-four defender yet.
The offensive-minded blueliner was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 Entry Draft. He signed an entry-level contract with the Blues and has an outside chance to make the squad out of camp, considering the injury to Eric Johnson and the Blues' lack of offense from their defensemen last season. It is rare that an 18-year-old defenseman makes it to the NHL, but Pietrangelo could very well buck that trend in these circumstances.