Alex Pietrangelo signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday. It has an average annual value of $8.8 million.
The 30-year-old defenseman has played all 12 seasons of his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues. He scored 52 points (16 goals, 36 assists) in 70 games last season and six points (one goal, five assists) in nine postseason games.
"Obviously the atmosphere; I mean, I think everybody agrees it's probably the best place to play in the NHL right now," Pietrangelo said Tuesday. "Team-wise, it's a difficult team to play against. I think top to bottom, everybody knows their rule; well coached, good goaltending, good balance, and I think coming from a team that played a similar style, it's definitely a difficult one to play against.
"I think that's part of the reason that brought me here. It fits into my style. They play the way I think the game should be played, so you want to go somewhere you feel comfortable and that you can help."
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Pietrangelo scored 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help the Blues win the Cup for the first time in their 51-season history in 2019. A two-time selection to the NHL Second All-Star Team (2011-12, 2013-14), Pietrangelo has scored 51 points (eight goals, 43 assists) in 92 playoff games.
"With Alex, we get a guy that's in the discussion for the Norris Trophy each year," Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. "He's one of the top four or five defensemen in the game. He's the first over the boards in every situation for his team. ... He's a four-year captain (with St. Louis). He's extremely high-character, very committed to winning, Stanley Cup champion. Right shot. He's 6-foot-3, brings great size (210 pounds) to our blue line. And again, we wouldn't have gone to these lengths for anyone but a player that we think can do as much for our team as Alex can."
The Golden Knights traded defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, clearing space under the $81.5 million NHL salary cap to help them be able to sign Pietrangelo. The 29-year-old has five seasons left on a six-year contract ($5.95 million AAV) he signed with Vegas on Oct. 25, 2018.
"There is only one scenario, one situation, where we would have considered a trade involving Nate Schmidt, and that was exactly the situation that presented ourselves with the opportunity to add Alex to our team," McCrimmon said.
Selected by St. Louis in the first round (No. 4) of the 2008 NHL Draft, Pietrangelo has scored 450 points (109 goals, 341 assists) in 758 NHL games.
"You're going to get a player who's committed," Pietrangelo said. "I wanted to go to an organization that is committed to winning. I wanted to make sure I went to a franchise that has an opportunity to win, and I think I can certainly help in that department. I said to Kelly and (president of hockey operations) George (McPhee), having already won once, it's a funny feeling, because you want to win again. So you want to keep doing that.
"The expectations are high, which is a good thing. When you start off as well as the franchise has in the first couple years, you expect a winning environment, and you want to be part of that winning environment. We had success in St. Louis for the most part the whole time I was there. It's fun to be part of a winning environment, because it pushes you to become better every single year. I think now with the success that guys have had, getting close … I think it certainly pushes guys to get more hungry. They're willing to do what they have to do."
NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika contributed to this report