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Alex Pietrangelo Will Wear The 'C' Next Season

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Ontario native set to become Blues captain after Backes' departure

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Looks like the front office took some of Gametime's advice to heart and made the right choice for the vacant captaincy. Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch has reported that the Blues will award the honor to Petro during a press conference on Thursday.

The Blues say they will have a "major announcement" on Thursday afternoon, and the Post-Dispatch has learned that it will be to name the club's 21st captain.

Alex Pietrangelo will be awarded the "C" in a press conference at 2 p.m. at Scottrade Center.

The captaincy became vacant when David Backes, who had held the honor since 2011, signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Boston Bruins. Backes was in Pietrangelo's wedding on July 2, a day after leaving the Blues, and joked that he wanted to wrap up the "C" and give it to the defenseman as a present.Pietrangelo, who has 51 goals and 255 points in 459 games, finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting in 2011-12 and he's received All-Star votes in each of the five seasons. He's been among the top 11 in the league in ice time the past five years, ranking No. 6 last season at 26 minutes, 18 seconds per game.

Backes wasn't able to do that, but less than two months later, the Blues are presenting Pietrangelo with the role as the team's leader.

Pietrangelo has four years remaining on a seven-year, $45.5 million contract he signed with the Blues in 2013. His annual average value of $6.5 million ranks second on the team behind Vladimir Tarasenko ($7.5 million) but first among defensemen.

Pietrangelo will become the 10th Blues defensemen to wear the "C," following Eric BrewerAl MacInnisChris ProngerGarth ButcherScott StevensBarry GibbsBarclay PlagerBob Plagerand Al Arbour.

After the naming of Pietrangelo as captain, 24 of the 30 teams in the NHL will have one player wearing the 'C' and he will be one of only six defensemen. The others are Zdeno Chara (Boston), Mark Giordano (Calgary), Andy Greene (New Jersey Devils), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers) and Erik Karlsson (Ottawa).

[STL Today]

Many had speculated that Steen or Tarasenko were in consideration for the captaincy as well, but Pietrangelo is the cornerstone of this club, logging superhuman levels of ice time while suffocating some of the League's most potent forwards. The leadership vacuum, post-Backes, was a huge area of concern going into this season, and Petro's nomination is an incredibly wise move. While Steen or Tarasenko might have made for good captains, there was only one clear choice once Backes moved on, and those two can hone their leadership skills effectively as assistant captains. He's inheriting the position during a critical juncture, and expectations will be sky high. Anything less than a Conference Final might be considered a disappointment, and the Blues have lost a lot of size and skill up front over the offseason.