The NHL announced today that the three defensemen who will be invited to Las Vegas this summer as finalists for the league's best defenseman trophy are Zdeno Chara of Boston, Erik Karlsson of Ottawa and Shea Weber of Nashville. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was expected to get some recognition and likely garnered votes from the Professional Hockey Writers Association, but just didn't rack up enough of them to get into the final three.
Many will say that Pietrangelo was snubbed in this vote by the PWHA, but it honestly would have been more of an upset if he did get into the final three this year. Weber and Chara have been premier defensemen for a few years now and Karlsson's garish offensive numbers got him noticed league-wide.
Pietrangelo, on the other hand, has quietly become one of the best overall defensemen in the league. The key word, of course, being 'quietly'. He finished fifth in points among NHL blueliners with 51, just one point behind Chara and two ahead of Weber, and tied with Karlsson with a plus-16 (behind both other nominees).
Those of us who watched him blossom last year and become the team's number one defenseman this year know that the kid is headed towards great things. But sometimes this information takes a while to disseminate to the rest of the league and the PWHA. He is 22-years-old and probably garnered a bunch of votes for the best defenseman in the league in just his second full NHL season. He will probably be one of the finalists next year and has the opportunity to be a legitimate candidate for the award for the better part of the next decade.
It would have been nice for Pietrangelo to be recognized for his great play this year, but have no fear, his day is coming, and soon.