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Dear Blues, you should extend Alex Pietrangelo now

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

A quarantine doesn’t sit well with sports fans. We get the idea of them, but liking them is another thing. It’s like the teacher telling you not to fire that spitball at another student. You just have to do it. With no games to take our minds off the truly important shit, they are left to wander adrift constantly.

Being a St. Louis Blues fan during this pandemic just stinks. The team wins it all, looks good to repeat, and then the season is halted. Now, the season could start in a few weeks, maybe in a couple months. Nobody knows what’s going to happen, and the uncertainty extends from the stands to the front office.

But if there’s one thing a quarantine is good for, it’s thinking about the future and wondering how your team is going to look post-coronavirus. For the Blues, they should use this time to reexamine their offer to Alex Pietrangelo, the Captain of the team and a surefire favorite to win his first Norris Trophy-at least until all this coughing bullshit started up.

Let’s be honest. The Blues and Pietrangelo’s team have exchanged some type of numbers and extension structure at this point. There’s no proof for this, but it’s something I have a good feeling about. Both sides didn’t see a likable format in their collective visions, so it got broken off. With hockey on pause, it’s time to revisit the idea.

Short Reason: He’s just too important to this hockey team-at both ends of the ice. Pietrangelo controls the puck so assuredly in the defensive zone, into the neutral zone transition, and has become more of a force in the offensive zone over the past few seasons. I can provide examples for this.

Example #1: He’s taking more shots. Pietrangelo always liked to shoot, but this season is unreal. He collected 216 shots in 78 games two years ago. Last year, he had 168 in 70 games. This year in just 70 games, he has fired 225 shots on goal. The shot isn’t as erratic and finds the net.

Example #2: This season marked the fourth consecutive season with ten or more goals. Pietrangelo set a career-high for regular season goals right before the season was suspended. He has 16 and was easily on pace for his first 20 goal season. More shots equals more goals, especially for a defenseman who simply gets to unload. If Colton Parayko shot like Pietrangelo, the big fella would have 25-30 goals per season easily.

Example #3: He’s making better pinches this season. Pinching being when a defenseman carries the puck down into the zone where wingers and centers usually operate. Parayko is still the best at this of any defenseman, but Pietrangelo has gotten better, especially when it means to getting back for the rush the other way. There’s always been confidence in this regard, but now the brain is getting tuned in.

The Corsi and Fenwick possession numbers have held strong. Pietrangelo doesn’t take stupid penalties, always coming in below 30 over the past six seasons. He’s averaged right around 25 minutes per game over the past few seasons, playing against the other team’s finest talent and putting in the work on the special teams units.

Pietrangelo gives you the offense, defense, and leadership that a team would want from their Captain. There isn’t a drop-off in his play or a red flag. If you found yourself yelling at him from the living room and think he’s the worst, your hockey IQ needs tweaking. He does so much during each and every game that goes unnoticed outside of the “SHOOT” crowd. Do me a favor and watch him even when he doesn’t have the puck. There’s no cruise control there or general laziness going on. Pietrangelo is always alert and waiting for the next play. One could say his hockey sense is firing on every cylinder.

That’s something you want to keep around. Doug Armstrong knows it. Tom Stillman knows it. Try and tell Craig Berube there’s a chance he isn’t coming back to the blue line next season and wait for the knuckle sandwich coming your direction. This team depends on Pietrangelo in a way that differs from the way they lean on Ryan O’Reilly and even Parayko. You take away Pietrangelo and the Blues’ defensive core is fractured.

Pay him the money. He’s earned it. If you wanted more of a complete game, he gave it to you. If you wanted more shots and offense, he gave it to you. What more do you want from a guy who led this team to its first Stanley Cup and had them set to repeat this year?

Whatever it costs. $9 million per season. $9.5 per season. I pull the trigger. He’s too important. If you have to trade Jake Allen in the offseason and FINALLY lean on a young backup behind Jordan Binnington, you pull the trigger. It’s a no brainer and all the arguments against it are nullified.

There may be no hockey right now, but the Blues can still find a different way to get to work.

Extend Alex Pietrangelo. I mean, based on THAT LEADERSHIP ALONE, he’s worth it.