Sports Column: Doug Armstrong Dropped the Ball on Alex Pietrangelo.

The Blues’ Contract mismanagement resulted in the team not being able to resign their captain.

Alex+Pietrangelo+has+been+captain+of+the+Blues+since+2016+and+has+become+one+of+the+top+defensemen+in+the+entire+league.

photo courtesy of AP Images

Daniel Garrison, Staff Writer

The Blues will look unfamiliar to many next season, as it will be the first year in recent memory that captain Alex Pietrangelo will not take the ice for the team.

 

The former captain hit unrestricted free agency this off season and signed a 7 year, $61 million  deal with the Vegas Golden Knights after the Blues were unable to re-sign him. 

 

It is unfortunate that the Blues were not able to re-sign their captain who has spent the last 12 years with the Blues. Especially given his recent success.  NHL ranked him as the fourth best defenseman in the entire league, not to mention he led the Blues to the Stanley Cup just one season ago. 

 

After missing out on Pietrangelo, the Blues signed former Bruins defenseman Torey Krug to fill the vacuum that Pietrangelo left. 

 

Although Krug is a talented player, he is nowhere near the defenseman that Pietrangelo was, and the Blues missed out on Pietrangelo due to bad salary management. 

 

In 2018, the Blues had more than enough space to sign Pietrangelo before the questionable singing of Justin Faulk. After trading defenseman Joel Edmunson and his $3.5 million contract to the Carolina Hurricanes for Faulk, the Blues extended Faulk to a $6.5 million contract. 

 

This is an absurd amount of money for a defenseman who tallied 5 goals and 11 assists last year. The signing pushed the Blues over the salary cap, meaning they would have to make cuts if they wanted to re-sign their star defenseman.

 

In fact, Blues GM Doug Armstrong did make cuts. Before attempting to resign Pietrangelo, he traded goalie Jake Allen to the Montreal Canadiens for a third round and seventh round draft pick, aka basically nothing. 

 

Jake Allen was a great goaltender and even played better than Jordan Binnington during the Blues’ embarrassing time in the bubble.  His release may have been justified if the Blues were able to resign Pietrangelo. 

 

Pietrangelo’s loss is especially concerning given that the Blues played abysmally in the playoffs last year even with one of the league’s top defenseman. After losing every single game in the round robin, the Blues were upset in six games by the Vancouver Canucks. The defending champs were dominated by a team who is almost entirely led by players under 25.

 

All in all, Doug Armstrong has been a stellar GM for the Blues, but missing out on Pietrangelo is perhaps the biggest mistake of his career.