Next month will be a year since the Vegas Golden Knights persuaded Alex Pietrangelo, a Stanley Cup-winning captain with the St.Louis Blues, to sign with them and help them in their push for their very own Stanley Cup. At the time this was considered a bold move by Vegas management, and showed that they were “all in.”
Pietrangelo would end up being signed to a seven-year contract worth a total of $61.6 million ($8.8 million annually), which left the hockey community with some questions, one of the most prominent being, “was it an overpay made by the Golden Knights for an aging defenceman heading into his 30s?” With the contract handed out to him, the King City, Ontario native became the seventh highest-paid defenseman in the NHL (a funny coincidence seeing as he wears the number seven on his jersey).
Expectations would be high for any defenseman playing in a new city for that much money, so how did Pietrnagelo fare last season under his new contract? Also, with six more years of his cap hit on the Golden Knights, is his contract still worth it? These are all questions we will be looking at in this article. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
We Have to Talk…About Last Season
In March, I was invited onto a St.Louis Blues podcast hosted by some now-good friends. One of the questions I was asked, seeing as I cover the Golden Knights, was if Pietrangelo had surpassed or faltered on his expectations for the season. My answer; faltered.
And who can blame me? During the 2020-21 regular season, Pietrangelo managed to produce 23 points in 41 games. Not bad for an average defenceman, but this is Pietrangelo we’re talking about; the same guy that has put up multiple 50 point seasons, multiple double-digit goal seasons, and captained a team to the Stanley Cup.
The 23 points put Pietrangelo in 42nd place among defensemen in 2020-21 when it came to scoring, something that isn’t too motivating when you’re shelling out $8.8 million a year for a player. Although he may have faltered in the regular season, Pietrangelo surely came alive in the playoffs, exploding for 12 points in 19 games, tying him for second among defensemen in scoring.
As I’ve stated in earlier articles, Pietrangelo was a force to be reckoned with during the playoffs and was often the best player on the ice for the Golden Knights. His plus/minus rating of plus-8 only serves as a testament to how much value he held to the team in the playoffs, and how good of a player he is when the pressure is on and there is something on the line (the Stanley Cup).
As for the regular season, I wouldn’t look too deep into it. Just as anybody else, hockey players have a job. Just like when you switch jobs, or move to another department, and need time to learn about their operating system and how they do things, the same goes for hockey players. Last season, Pietrangelo was getting his feet wet and learning the new system, so I am positive he will have a more fruitful regular season during the 2021-22 season.
Does His Contract Still Hold It’s Value?
As you can probably tell, I am not an NHL general manager. Truthfully, I am not in a position to discuss whether his contract still holds value for the next six years. Pietrangelo has only played one season under his massive contract, and it would be unfair to judge a player, who has accomplished so much in his career, based on one season.
For now, in my opinion, the contract still holds its value, as Pietrangelo still has the legs ( as we saw in the playoffs) to keep up with the best of them. Even though the Golden Knights are strapped for cap space, there are plenty of other contracts that should be rode of before Pietrangelo’s. If he can get back to his normal, point-producing ways in the regular season, then I am sure that fans will stop feeling disappointed and finally see that he is worth every penny.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article in which I explained how Pietrangelo would be slated to contend for his first-ever Norris Trophy this year; that is how deeply I believe he will have a rebound season. Many people often forget that this man is two years removed from a 52 point season, as well as four years removed from a 54 point season.
We’re all waiting for Pietrangelo to return back to his peak playing form, and after watching him dazzle in the playoffs, hopefully, that momentum carries on into the 2021-22 season!
What are your thoughts? Do you think his contract still holds its value? Is Pietrangelo slated to compete for a Norris trophy this year? Let me know in the comments below!
Michael Vidakis is a Montreal native who writes for the Vegas Golden Knights team here at The Hockey Writers. In his spare time, he enjoys the finer things in life such as Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, staring aimlessly outside windows and tangerines.