The St. Louis Blues outright passing on Alex Pietrangelo and signing Torey Krug on the first day of NHL free agency was, if nothing else, surprising.
Pietrangelo had spent his entire career with St. Louis and had been the captain since 2016. The signing of Krug at the time all but certainly marked the end of Pietrangelo’s run with the Blues. That indeed proved to be the case, as Pietrangelo days later went on to join the Vegas Golden Knights.
Signing any player in their late 20s to a deal that long obviously is a risky move. In the eyes of one NHL executive, the Krug signing not only was a risky one for St. Louis, but also a “vindictive and short-sighted” transaction.
“If you look at some of the underlying metrics (on Krug and Pietrangelo), both guys are starting to inch closer to the cliff,” the executive told The Athletic’s Craig Custance. “I understand it if you’re St. Louis. But they signed Faulk and it was probably a mistake to sign him to that deal. Then you basically sign a left-handed version of Faulk … it seemed sort of vindictive and short-sighted to me.”
Krug is the more offensively gifted player of the two and will instantly elevate St. Louis’ power-play. But Pietrangelo is the better overall player and obviously had the respect of that dressing room already.
So while the Blues might have one of the more offensive-minded blue lines in the NHL, it’s also a group that has some defensive shortcomings and has undergone a good but of turnover over the last year-plus.