Sep 17, 2013, 8:49 PM EST
“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.
For the St. Louis Blues, we pick … Alex Pietrangelo.
As the fourth pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, much has been expected of the 23-year-old defenseman, but this is the year he’ll be expected to join the true elite level of blueliners. No doubt, he’s still young, yet his $6.5 million cap hit deletes excuses (reasonable or not).
Much like Pietrangelo, the Blues are entering a pivotal point where strong regular seasons are meaning a lot less unless they’re accompanied by a deep playoff run. Pietrangelo’s the second-highest paid Blues player behind Jay Bouwmeester, so people will expect that pairing to make the jump with St. Louis.
That’s especially true if the Blues run into the Los Angeles Kings – a team that’s clearly their kryptonite – in the playoffs once more. Pietrangelo has been compared to Doughty repeatedly, but the difference between the two so far is that the latter has enjoyed deep playoff runs and a Stanley Cup victory.
Pietrangelo’s also likely to be a part of Team Canada’s potentially impressive defensive corps, and it’s easy to see how much pressure comes with that duty.
Young or not, this Blues blueliner carries huge expectations next season.
For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.
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- Goalie nods: Luongo’s first game back with Panthers, Neuvirth makes Sabres debut 11
- Report: Kuznetsov terminated KHL deal, headed to Washington 20
- Canucks’ Bieksa: ‘If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is’ 34
- Luongo has Twitter fun at Canucks’ expense 36
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- Dealing with the Devils: NHL reverses Kovalchuk punishment 49
- Canucks trade Luongo to Panthers (93)
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