Midway Report Card: Alex Pietrangelo
The Blues skated in their 41st game of the year Monday night against Phoenix, which means we can now officially say that the second half of the year is upon us. Some skaters have met our expectations, some have disappointed and some have managed to quietly stay off the radar. One of these quiet and reliable skaters is Alex Pietrangelo, a defenseman that has had a great first half of the season and deserves some recognition. Before looking at the current season, let's look at Pietrangelo's previous experience in the NHL. Petro's brief NHL resume consists of eight games in the 2008-09 season and a whopping nine games in the 2009-10 season. During these two seasons, he contributed three total points (1 goal, 2 assists), had a combined (-9) and registered 14 total shots. Limited impact during limited playing time. The past two seasons make Petro's play this year all the more impressive. Through 38 games, the youngster has give goals and 13 assists for a total of 18 points. These numbers are good enough to make him the highest scoring defender on the squad. The Blues power-play hasn't been anything fantastic, and I fully expect Petro's role with the man advantage to only increase as time rolls on. All statistics aside, I am constantly having to remind myself to follow Pietrangelo around the ice. His play is usually technically sound, and he rarely makes the types of mistakes that make you focus on him. Quiet reliability. This speaks to just how talented the young defenseman is. While he won't be eligible for best rookie honors this year, his experience at the professional level is extremely limited and he is doing an amazing job in what is his first full year in the NHL. He never appears nervous, he never appears to rush his decisions - whether on offense or on defense. These are traits that you'd hope your 4th overall pick from the 2008 Draft would have, but Petro's development has been happening at a rapid rate. Already he makes a great offensive weapon. He already sees time on the power-play, and carries a nice shot from the point. He loves to take on the other team's top line and can hold his own even against opponents with more experience and size. This is one young skater I have plenty of confidence in handling the puck and am eager to watch develop as he gains more experience. Midway Grade: A Comment: Petro still has a long way to develop in his NHL career, but is off to a flying start both offensively and defensively.