In his first three full seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Alex Pietrangelo has grown into one of the NHL's best young defencemen, which is pretty much ideal for him because after three full seasons, young players get to negotiate new contracts. Sweet!
It's less ideal if you're the team that has to pay him, of course, and the Blues resisted giving Pietrangelo all the money for all the years for as long as they could, but even they had to know how this was going to turn out: the kid was going to get paid. On Friday, St. Louis made it so, announcing a seven-year, $45.5 million contract for their number one defenceman, an identical deal to the one Erik Karlsson signed with the Senators last summer. From the Blues:
St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager/Alt. Governor Doug Armstrong announced the club has agreed to terms on a seven-year deal for defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
“We’re excited to have Alex in the fold for the next seven years as he will continue be a key component of our franchise,” said Armstrong. “He is an elite defenseman in this league and will be for years to come.”
The seven-year deal means that Pietrangelo is surrendering three years of unrestricted free agent status, and the contract is structured to reward him for doing so, jumping into the $7 million a year range just as he'd likely be able to command it on the open market (unless he falls off in a big way, in which case, whoops, shoulda done a bridge deal, I guess).
Here's the breakdown of Pietrangelo's contract: $5 million, $5.5, $6.5, $7, $7, $7, $7.5 #stlblues
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) September 13, 2013
It's possible that the Blues could have shaved this down a little bit with more time, but doing so likely would have required letting him miss the rest of training camp and, potentially, the beginning of the season. That clearly didn't appeal to St. Louis.