When Jim Hayes interviewed former Blues captain(drink!)David Backes at a Cardinals game earlier this month, he asked him who should be the new captain in St. Louis. Backes didn’t quiver for a second before saying Alex Pietrangelo. More so, he even told General Manager Doug Armstrong his opinion before he left. That’s good enough for me.
I’m not saying a former player, even one as treasured as Backes, should be making these decisions. I think it speaks volumes when you consider how much this roster trusted and followed Backes that his opinion should be considered. Petro is also just the perfect choice to lead this team.
As a troubling and transformative offseason plows through its final stretch, this can be a step in the right direction for Army. His moves this summer have signaled that of a man trimming the older size and meat off a roster and shaping it as a younger faster moving vessel. He traded/let walk Brian Elliott, Troy Brouwer, and Backes. Three players who were at 30 or sliding down the wrong side of it. There’s a trend in there and it points to passing the baton to a younger roster for a younger coach to take over in one year.
Petro is a damn fine hockey player too. You aren’t enlisting Eric Brewer 2.0 here. Petro has been picking the brain of Blue Note warriors Barret Jackman and Backes during his entire career here. He’s been an alternate captain for three years and is 26 years old. Since he stepped on the ice on the first time back during the 2008-09 season, Petro has evolved into one of the best ice generals in the league. He’s smart, persuasive, fiery, and grows a great beard.
Petro is also signed up in St. Louis for the long term future. He isn’t going anywhere and Armstrong has made that known for quite some time. He sits right next to Vladimir Tarasenko and Jake Allen when it comes to the untouchable Blues. He’s a pillar for this team’s present push and future stock holdings. Put the damn “C” on his chest.
Armstrong knows it deep down. He spoke to the Post Dispatch about it and in this piece, he made it quite simple. (Petro) was an assistant captain at a very young age, and he has leadership qualities that we’ve seen. As he gets more and more comfortable in the leadership role, he’s certainly growing into an elite player on the ice.”
Petro averaged over 26 minutes of ice time in the 2015-16 season, and was a +10 for the Blues. He scored seven goals and added 37 assists. He missed nine games due to a knee injury, but made it back quicker than expected. He’s a durable defenseman and one of the smartest ones in the league. More importantly, his Blues teammates believe in him and will follow him in any battle.
Petro is ready. “I know when things need to be said. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to say the things nobody wants to say, but I have that in me where I can stand up and be vocal and say the things nobody wants to say.”
With Alex Steen’s contract expiring after next season and his return uncertain, the right thing to do is put the patch on Alex Pietrangelo’s chest. Do it now. Make the transition of this team complete and establish the identity. Do the right thing.
In a summer of misfortune and uncertainty, Petro as Captain of the St. Louis is a sure thing.