The ’12 Days of Christmas’ is a classic holiday song first published in its current form in 1908. In a nod to the classic carol, join The Hockey Writers as we count down the 12 Days of Hockeymas. Each day, we will provide you with a piece of hockey history as we eagerly await the start of the 2020-21 NHL season.
On the seventh day of Hockeymas, the Vegas Golden Knights gave their fans the jackpot with a lucky No. 7. The Golden Knights were able to sign Alex Pietrangelo after a wild start to “Free Agent Frenzy.” Their newest defenseman has decided to let Shea Theodore keep No. 27 in favor of wearing No. 7.
Entering his first season with the Golden Knights, NHL.com has ranked Pietrangelo as the seventh-best defenseman in terms of fantasy value. This should be exciting news for Vegas fans as he is expected to produce as soon as he steps onto the ice. He is expected to be on the top defensive pair for Vegas as well as a key factor on the power play.
Pietrangelo is coming off a shortened season where he had 52 points in 70 games. These numbers were good enough to land the former St. Louis Blue sixth overall in points among defensemen during the 2019-20 season. In addition to this, he finished seventh in power-play points by a defenseman. Going from one powerhouse team to another, Pietrangelo should be able to continue this level of production.
One of the deciding factors in bringing Pietrangelo to Vegas was the contract. Although the Golden Knights were in salary cap trouble at the start of the off-season, general manager Kelly McCrimmon was able to work his magic and clear some space for the big signing. However, this did come at the price of fan favorites.
Pietrangelo’s contract carries an average annual value of $8.8 million. This will make him the fifth highest-paid defenseman in the NHL. The contract seems like a fair price to pay for a former Stanley Cup champion. Also, with him being ranked in the top 10 for active-defenseman, Vegas was certainly able to hit the jackpot.
The length of the contract might be the only negative. Currently, the Golden Knights have Pietrangelo signed until he is 37 years old. With the league transitioning to a faster pace and more skill-based style, this has the chance to hurt Vegas down the line. Despite the shift in play, Pietrangelo is a smart player and should be able to adapt.
Possible Leadership Role
Even though he is a new addition to the team, Pietrangelo does have experience wearing the “C.” He was the captain of the Blues when they won the Stanley Cup and helped that team get past their previous struggles in the playoffs. The Golden Knights are another team that has yet to get over that hump. Although they have only been a franchise for three years, Vegas has yet to capture the Stanley Cup after two Western Conference Final appearances and a trip to the Cup Final.
Vegas could look to their newest signing for leadership to help guide them to the Cup. With multiple former Stanley Cup champions on the roster, the Golden Knights are certainly not lacking postseason experience. He could also help mentor some of their younger players. Being a 12-year veteran in the league, he can be a resource for the younger stars and help make the game and lifestyle simpler.
Overall, by signing Pietrangelo, the Golden Knights hit the jackpot with triple sevens. They signed the seventh-ranked defenseman, who will wear the number seven for a seven-year deal. Ultimately, this move was made by Vegas in an effort to capture the elusive Stanley Cup. So far, it looks like this could be the first step in finally achieving that goal.