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Commentary | Thanks, captain: Alex Pietrangelo will always have a place in St. Louis' heart

He probably won't get a statue of his own or his number in the rafters, but Alex Pietrangelo gave us something irreplaceable with that first title

ST. LOUIS — The writing had been on the wall for a while that Alex Pietrangelo would likely not be a St. Louis Blue after the 2020 season. The Blues' signing of Torey Krug Friday night felt like the final nail in the coffin.

On Monday, Pietrangelo signed a new 7-year deal to head out to Vegas and join the Golden Knights.

So now, an era is over.

Pietrangelo will go down forever as one of the most important players in the history of the Blues. No, since he won't play his entire career here, the legacy won't be quite as sweet as it may have been, but 2019 is really all he needs for a place among the franchise's all-time icons.

So thank you, captain, for giving this city a prize it waited on for more than a half-century.

Warranted or not, a team's captain shoulders a lot of the blame and a lot of the praise for a team's performance. Pietrangelo saw both sides of that coin in St. Louis. Heck, he saw both sides of that in 2019 alone.

But a simple fact remains. The St. Louis Blues don't win the 2019 Stanley Cup without Alex Pietrangelo.

Especially in the Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final in 2019, Pietrangelo played like a man possessed, making play after play in the biggest moments. In 26 playoff games in 2019, Pietrangelo recorded 19 points and led the Blues in assists with 16.

He took advantage of a poor Bruins line change at the end of the first period of Game 7 in Boston and scored the eventual game-winning goal to win the Blues their first title.

The moment he lifted the Cup sent a feeling through Blues fans that was unexplainable. It was something we had envisioned for years but were never totally sure we'd see. 

The Blues have had legendary captains over the years. From Barclay Plager to Brian Sutter to Brett Hull to Chris Pronger and eventually David Backes, none of them could win the big one.

Pietrangelo did.

From first-round draft pick to Stanley Cup-winning captain, Pietrangelo grew up in St. Louis and paid off on what the franchise saw in him from the beginning.

He won't get a legacy quite like other defensemen Pronger or MacInnis have in St. Louis. He probably won't get a statue of his own or a place in the rafters. But he gave us something irreplaceable with that first title.

So captain, best of luck in Vegas. St. Louis will always have a special place in its heart for you.

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