Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pietrangelo: Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

The Blues went into the season last year trying to determine if Alex Pietrangelo was ready to compete in the National Hockey League. After eight games, they decided that Pietrangelo was not ready to play NHL hockey all season long and decided to send him back to his junior team, the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Coming into this season, the Blues are in that same position in deciding if Alex is ready to play for the St. Louis Blues.

Now, I for one think Pietrangelo is more than ready to play for the Blues this year. He is bigger, stronger, and he thinks the game better than he did last season.

So where are we now? Seven games in and Pietrangelo has played one game. He didn’t really look out of place in this game but he didn’t really fit in either. He finished the game with 13:20 of ice time without recording a point. His +/- stat was at even and he didn’t record any penalty minutes.

After seven games, I expected to see Pietrangelo three, maybe four times. Only playing him in one out of seven games isn’t going to help him progress though. He needs to play and he needs to see ice time, which is something he isn’t getting.

Practicing in the NHL helps compared to his junior practices, but at this point, would he benefit more playing 30 minutes a night in Niagara or just in practices in the NHL? The Blues either need to figure out a way to get him into games with the big club, or send him to Niagara.

Pietrangelo’s OHL team, the Ice Dogs are already 12 games into their season. I truly believe that sending Pietrangelo back to Niagara could stunt his development as his game is miles ahead of the OHL level, but others disagree. Some say that playing Pietrangelo 30 minutes a night could help develop him into a true leader and a work horse. But when you think about it, having Pietrangelo play DOWN to the level in the OHL could hurt his game.

Pietrangelo, drafted by the Blues 4th overall in 2008, can play up to nine games before the Blues have to make a decision on his future, but at the rate things are going now, he might get nine games in around the team’s 63rd game of the season.

All I am saying is, sending Pietrangelo down could hurt his development, but right now, it’s probably better than him just practicing with the team. Unless the Blues can start fitting Alex in to real games, his development isn’t going to go along that well.

Andy Strickland has his opinion on Pietrangelo and his time here so far in St. Louis. You can read it here.

Randall Ritchey


baumerino said...

Petro should stay! And get more playing time, especially on nights when the Blues' other D men are healthy scratches, etc.

Anonymous said...

hes not a healthy fit in the loo i say trade him while his prospect status is still high