On October 12, 2020, The Vegas Golden Knights announced that they have signed defensemen Alex Pietrangelo to a seven year contract, serving him a mere nine million.
Pietrangelo, 30, posted 50 goals in 70 games during the 2019-20 season with the St. Louis Blues. He has been with the Blues since 2016, making him the team captain ever since. During his whole career, he has a recorded 450 points out of 758 games.
Born in Ontario, Canada in 1990, Alex Pietrangelo was destined to become an NHL hockey star. His father’s cousin, Frank Pietrangelo, was an NHL goaltender for the Pittsburg Penguins. Obtaining the nickname, “Petro”, as a junior, he played with the Niagara IceDogs and Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League.
Pietrangelo was selected fourth overall by the St. Louis Blues at the Entry Draft in 2008. He played his first NHL game against the Nashville predators in November of 2008. While suffering a head injury shortly after his debut, he played his first full season in 2010-11. He was the leading defensemen on the team with 43 points over 79 games.
Once being named captain of the St. Louis Blues in 2016, he was selected for the NHL All-Star Game where he won the All-Star passing challenge. Pietrangelo also set a new career-high in points and goals at the end of the regular season.
On June 12, 2019, the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Pietrangelo scored the winning goal on Game 7. During the 2019 playoffs, Pietrangelo tied with defensemen Torey Krug for leading the league in assists and lead the league in scoring amongst defensemen.
In the final year of his contract with free agency, Pietrangelo and the Blues were unable to come to terms on a contract extension. The Blues and Pietrangelo ultimately broke it off, making Pietrangelo a free agent for the first time in his career. On October 12, 2020, Pietrangelo signed a seven year, $61.6 million, contract with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Like so, many teams were interested in obtaining Pietrangelo. But, general manager for the Vegas Golden Knights, Kelly McCrimmon, pushed to have the all-star defensemen on the team.
“When we looked at free agency, when we looked at opportunities to improve our team, we had what we believed was an incredibly rare opportunity to add a defenseman, an elite player like Alex to our team,” said McCrimmon. “Different positions but for us we really viewed it as a very similar situation to the opportunity where we acquired Mark Stone. Generally, these are players that don’t hit the market.” (https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nhl/news/golden-knights-sign-free-agent-alex-pietrangelo/wyehb3xkmk6y1rnd0jlccx279)
The acquisition of Pietrangelo was also a risky move for the Golden Knights, who went approximately $2.1 million above the offseason limit for the salary cap. Teams are typically allowed to go 10 percent above the cap in the offseason. So, in a corresponding trade, fellow defensemen for the Golden Knights, Nate Schmidt, was traded to the Canucks for a third round draft pick in 2022.
“We determined what the path would look like. We weighed that out. We projected what a contract would be for Alex and then at the end of that process we asked ourselves: Does this make us a better team? Does it improve our chances of winning? We believe quite strongly that it does,” said McCrimmon. (https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nhl/news/golden-knights-sign-free-agent-alex-pietrangelo/wyehb3xkmk6y1rnd0jlccx279)
After becoming a free agent from the Blues, Pietrangelo considered other teams, but only visited Las Vegas and signed there because of the chance to win, a contract worth more than the St. Louis Blues offered him, and control over his future of a “no-movement” clause that is even more powerful than a no-trade protection, because it means a player cannot be waived either.
After being signed onto the Vegas Golden Knights, Pietrangelo had some good words to put towards his new adventure with the team. “I welcome the challenge,” Pietrangelo said. “I welcome something new. I think it’s going to push me to become a better player. I think it’s going to hopefully get me outside my comfort zone to certainly try something that I’ve never done before. This is a good team, and I think I can really help.” (https://sports.yahoo.com/alex-pietrangelo-embraces-challenge-vegas-141106265.html)