The St. Louis Blues named Alex Pietrangelo the 21st captain in franchise history earlier this month and answered one of the biggest questions fans had this offseason.
Twenty men have come before the first-time captain in the role and with some of the most famed careers in NHL history, he’s got a lot to live up to.
Serving as the first captain in franchise history, Al Arbour made his mark on the Gateway City. After four Stanley Cup victories, the veteran Arbour took the ice with the Blues.
He played in a total of 231 regular season games for the note, totaling 23 points and a notable 191 penalty minutes. His experience in the game and successes on the ice made him a great leader for the Blues, prompting them to hire him as head coach midway through his last season.
Although Arbour played in the league when it was quite different than it is today, his lead-by-example style of play and dedication to the game is something the newly named captain can appreciate.
One of the best players to play the game, Brett Hull, captained the Blues from 1992-1995. Hull began his time in St. Louis in 1987 and stayed until he signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars in 1998.
Hull was an offensive powerhouse on the ice and he managed to score 1391 points (741G, 650A) in his 1269 regular season appearances. No. 16 scored 936 of those points wearing the blue note.
Brett Hull went on to win Stanley Cups with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 before retiring in 2005. Pietrangelo can take inspiration from the long tenure that Hull had with the Blues as he faces the beginning of his captaincy.
“The Great One” also wore the “C” for the St. Louis Blues toward the end of his unbelievable career. In late February 1996, Gretzky was traded to the Blues after expressing a desire to leave Los Angeles.
He was promptly named captain and played a total of 31 games for the team, regular season and playoffs combined. In those, he scored an impressive 37 points as the Blues made it to the second round of the postseason.
Gretzky’s time in St. Louis was short as he moved on to join the New York Rangers for the 1996-97 season. Nonetheless, the Blues still had the best player to play the game as their captain for a season.
No. 28 can hope to play the game in a way that makes him as respected as the great No. 99.
The St. Louis Blues are headed down a new path in their leadership and all eyes are on Alex Pietrangelo. The 26-year-old is faced with leading a team that is hungry for a Stanley Cup, while maintaining his personal contributions.
It won’t be easy to pursue the most sought-after trophy in professional hockey, but it will be worth it.