Geek of the Week: How Much Petrol Is Left in Petro’s Tank?

by Mike Zacour on June 16, 2019


Big congratulations to the St. Louis Blues and their fan base as the first Stanley Cup has been a long time coming. 

It seems fitting that for our very first defensemen we are going to focus on the man that scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal: Alex Pietrangelo.

Pietrangelo was born in King City, Ontario, and turned 29 in January.  He was drafted fourth overall by the Blues in the 2008 NHL entry draft. 

This was the same draft that saw Drew Doughty off the board second overall followed by Erik Karlsson at 15th and John Carlson at 27th.  It was a deep draft as far as defensemen were concerned.  In fact, four of the top five picks in 2008 were defensemen and 11 defensemen were drafted before Carlson. The Atlanta Thrashers may want a redo on Zach Bogosian at third overall.

Admittedly, Pietrangelo’s age was a tad surprising. It feels like he’s been around forever and that he ought to be older than 29.  Perhaps it’s because he’s always played for the same team while logging big minutes.  Maybe it’s because we’ve seen multiple iterations of the St. Louis Blues over the past decade and he has been the consistent back end anchor.  Can’t quite put a finger on it, but it feels like he should be well into his 30s by now. 

Pietrangelo is heading into the final season of his seven-year contract with a $6.5 million cap hit.  This is one of those contracts that probably looked like a lot of money at the time he signed, but it has aged extremely well.

He has a full no trade clause and there is no reason to expect him to be anywhere but Missouri next year.  Cap leaguers should probably be expecting a raise come 2020-21.

Pietrangelo scored 41 points this season over 71 games, which equates to a 47-point pace.  He had 13 goals, making this the third season in a row that he’s posted double-digit goal totals. 

His shooting percentage was 7.7% and he’s averaged 7.4% over the past three seasons.  It’s a bit high for a defensemen, but Pietrangelo has shown he’s capable of maintaining that conversion rate.

With a standard Yahoo head-to-head points scoring format (private leagues only) we can see where Pietrangelo ranked amongst defensemen this season using the Fantasy Hockey Geek tool:
 

Rank

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SOG

PPP

BKS

Fantasy

Points

16

Seth Jones

75

9

37

1

184

10

133

523

17

Alex Pietrangelo

71

13

28

2

168

15

139

508

18

Ryan Ellis

82

7

34

21

149

5

154

506


Pietrangelo is firmly ranked in the top 20 defensemen, and it’s probably right where he should be.  If he’s able to play a full season in 2019-20 and get back to the 50-point mark, he should easily be in the top 15 in formats such as this.

If we take a look at Pietrangelo’s quarterly breakdown from this season we can see some interesting discrepancies from the first half to the second half:
 

2018-19

Quarter

GP

 

G

A

PTS

SOG

PPP

PPTOI

TOI

1

18

3

4

7

39

1

2:15

24:02

2

10

2

4

6

25

2

2:04

23:03

3

23

4

10

14

51

5

2:11

22:10

4

20

4

10

14

53

7

22:15

24:14


Table courtesy of Dobber’s Frozen Tools (https://frozenpool.dobbersports.com/players/alex-pietrangelo)

Pietrangelo’s numbers tell essentially the same story as the St. Louis Blues glorious/Gloria second-half turnaround that led them to the promised land.

Pietrangelo benefitted from the improved power play as well as all the increased forward scoring that the Blues displayed after Christmas.  He paced for 54 points in the final 43 games versus pacing for 38 points in the first 28 games of the season. 

Pietrangelo saw 56% of his team’s power-play time this season and 54% of the team’s power-play time during the post season.

The next closest Blues’ defensemen was Vince Dunn who saw 45.1% of the team’s power-play time during the regular season but fell to 34.6% in the playoffs.

The always lurking and emerging Colton Parayko saw 27% of the team’s power-play time during the regular season and improved slightly to 32.1% during the postseason.  Parayko was an admitted beast this post season.

That number one spot on the power play is extremely important to the fantasy value of the Blues’ defensemen that owns the position next year. 

The numbers here don’t lie. As good as Parayko was in the post season, Pietrangelo averaged more time on ice and more power-play time. 

When in doubt with these things, just follow the money.  Parayko is slated to make $5.5 million next season versus Pietrangelo’s $6.5 million with a bigger contract coming for Pietrangelo the following year. 

Dunn was also offensively great at times during the season, but it won’t matter barring injuries.

Pietrangelo is a proven 50-point defensemen and was the man the Blues leaned on the heaviest when it meant the most.  He will almost certainly be the power-play quarterback next year for the Blues.

The St. Louis Blues on paper should have been closer to the second half team that we saw than the first half team.  We can likely expect them to be in the playoff mix for the entirety of next season.

This should translate to business as usual for Pietrangelo.  Draft him next season as a 45-50 point defensemen with confidence and expect great peripherals. At only 29 years old, there should be plenty of petrol left in the tank.