Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud. Today’s player is Alex Pietrangelo.
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In his second season with the Vegas Golden Knights, Alex Pietrangelo provided the team with a steady veteran presence on the blue line. He has been exactly as advertised and remains one of the top defensemen in the entire National Hockey League.
Pietrangelo had yet another solid season in 2021-22, putting up 13 goals and 44 points. With the massive list of injuries, the VGK had this past season, Pietrangelo was the only player to reach 80 games. His two missed games came only because of COVID-19 protocols.
The Golden Knight’s back end was ravished with injuries this past season. This led to more young defensemen being thrown into the lineup. With his leadership abilities and fatherly mannerism, having Pietrangelo on the roster essentially gives the Golden Knights another coach. It has greatly improved the development of guys like Zach Whitecloud, Nicolas Hague, and Dylan Coghlan.
Overall, Pietrangelo is a stalwart defenseman that every contending team needs to have if they want to win a Stanley Cup, something Pietrangelo is familiar with too.
Despite being one of the top players on the Golden Knights, one could say that Pietrangelo had a quiet season in 2021-22. At this point in his career, he is a money-in-the-bank 40-point scorer, and he did it again in 21-22. He scored his 500th career point in the NHL against the Edmonton Oilers in February.
Most of his goals came from the point, and most of his assists came through stretch passes up the neutral zone. The most memorable of Pietrangelo’s goals (even though the puck didn’t go in the net) came at the 2022 NHL All-Star Game where he won the breakaway challenge thanks to a generous score from judge John Hamm.
On January 11th against the Toronto Maple Leafs Pietrangelo set a new career-high in ice time as he skated 32:55. This came at a time when Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez, and Nicolas Hague were all injured. Again, Pietrangelo is able to elevate himself to a new level when needed.
With defensemen such as Theodore and Martinez returning from injury over the course of the season, Pietrangelo’s ice time went back down and the Golden Knights defense operated as a unit rather than one All-Star defenseman trying to carry a group of AHL defenseman.
Pietrangelo is 32 years old and has five years left on his contract. His $8.8 million cap hit might not look great in its final years. But for now, the price tag is more than worth it as Pietrangelo gives the Golden Knights an elite defenseman.
With both he and Theodore on this roster, the framework of the Golden Knight’s defense is solid. Pietrangelo and Martinez can provide the veteran Cup-winning leadership to the young defenseman on the roster. Guys like Whitecloud, Hague, Coghlan, and Miromanov can all take notes from Pietrangelo’s play and leadership capabilities and take the next step in their careers too.