The sweepstakes to see who would land defenceman Alex Pietrangelo is over and the winner is… the Vegas Golden Knights. The highly skilled Pietrangelo attempted to remain with the St. Louis Blues, but in the end that didn’t happen. A team like the Golden Knights attracted the former UFA especially when he was invited to visit the city and see for himself what it would be like to play there.
Vegas Golden Knights Can Win a Cup with Alex Pietrangelo
While Pietrangelo has already won a Cup in 2019 with his former team, he now knows what it takes to get there. Certainly, that can be a factor, but a larger consideration is his overall quality as a player on the blueline. His career statistics prove this point. He has 109 goals and 341 assists totaling 450 points in 758 career NHL games. Pietrangelo also is a force on the power play. He has tallied 34 power play goals and 116 assists. He’s also registered 1,375 blocks and 515 hits. He is a workhorse, averaging 24:38 minutes of ice time.
During the past season Pietrangelo had 16 goals and 36 assists for 52 points 70 games. He has excellent puck possession numbers too, with a Corsi For of 53.0, and a Relative Corsi of 3.9. It goes without saying that his production and statistics will certainly help the Golden Knights’ quest for a Cup. They have been close over their three-year existence in the NHL. The Vegas Golden Knights went to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first season. They followed that up with a loss in the first round to the rival San Jose Sharks and then lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Stars most recently.
Golden Knights Roster Has Changed
In this COVID-19 world, NHL teams’ salary cap finances have been thrown into a mixer and chewed to the core. The Golden Knights got it done to get Pietrangelo signed, but it cost them. They traded Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets indicating they were intending to clear cap space to make a run at Pietrangelo. That saved them $6.5 million in cap space. Then, they went even more seriously in their quest to get Pietrangelo when they traded Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks saving another $5.95 million since the return was just a third-round pick in 2022.
Doing the math, those two moves saved the team $12.45 million and thus they were able to go to Pietrangelo with a bag of money. To the likes of seven-years and $61.6 million. To say the least, the Golden Knights acquired the prize of the free agency market for 2020. It came at a cost however; they are now about $1 million over the cap limit and will need to do some more trimming financially.
Pietrangelo/Theodore Blueline Will be Awesome
Still, the moves they made will not hurt their team’s ability to make a run at a Cup. That was the objective, and they went about it aggressively. Certainly, the trade of Schmidt came as a surprise and he will be missed. Some thought either Schmidt or Shea Theodore would need to be sacrificed to gather in an offer for Pietrangelo.
Now, as it stands a first blueline pairing of Theodore and Pietrangelo would be one of, if not the best pairing in the NHL. Theodore has been awesome in a Golden Knights’ uniform. He’s had 31 goals and 81 assists for 112 points in 211 games. Between he and Pietrangelo they will have the puck a lot. Theodore’s Corsi For has been 56.1, and his Relative Corsi is 3.6. Good luck if the opposing team wants to gain puck possession with these two on the ice.
What Alex Pietrangelo Brings to Vegas
He is a winner, number one. He has what it takes to lead the team to raising Lord Stanley’s Cup. So, does that mean he could be the next captain of the Golden Knights? He does have the experience filling that role when he started as captain of the Blues back in 2016-17. His leadership skills are without question. This will be a call made by head coach Peter DeBoer. Even though Pietrangelo will be new to the team, he seems an obvious choice. Perhaps that is why the team has delayed in naming a new captain until the 2020-21 season.
Vegas Team is Loaded, so Can They Win the Cup?
Let’s analyze this for a bit. It won’t take long. YES! They have an offensive power and were ranked 10th in the NHL 3.15 goals scored per game. Their defence just got upgraded adding Pietrangelo even with the loss of Schmidt. They ranked 18th last season defensively with a 2.94 goals-against-average. Certainly, with Pietrangelo in the fold, they look to improve on the blueline. In net, they have both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. That’s tough to beat. And, accordingly the Vegas Golden Knights will be tough to beat when the new season begins.
Adding Alex Pietrangelo may be the missing piece of the puzzle that the Vegas team was searching for.
The search is over.
Will we see Alex Pietrangelo raising the Cup again?
I wouldn’t bet against it.