I’m tired of it.
What am I tired of, may you ask? I am tired of Alex Pietrangelo being overlooked by the NHL for being one of the best defensemen in the league. I am tired of seeing the Norris Trophy Finalists being announced, and Pietrangelo’s name being left off the list.
He hasn’t cracked the Top 5 Finalist list since the 2013-14 season even though he has driven up his offense and maintained his strong defense. He’s done this while being a 25 minute-per-game puck controlling beast (check his above average ratings with Corsi and Fenwick) possession) and providing offense.
The Blues don’t win that Cup without Pietrangelo last year. There were out-of-nowhere heroes like Craig Berube and Jordan Binnington, but Pietrangelo was the guy shouldering the load through the nine month season. He was the guy who played in 97 hockey games last season.
The NHL needs to stop with this bullshit.
Now, before I began my Game Time rant Monday night, I wanted to google the exact definition behind the trophy: Who gets it and why? Here is what I found. “The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
Pietrangelo has done that several times, but 2019-20 was something else. Without Jay Bouwmeester and key injuries all over the team, Pietrangelo kept the team above water for long stretches. He has an impact all over the ice. He gives you the minutes and the defense, but he’s also a threat on the power play. In the 70 games this season, Pietrangelo equaled his power play goal output from the past two season (6).
Now, the three defensemen selected today aren’t bad choices. That’s where the dilemma does come into play. There are sound hockey minds out there who could disagree with me if I said one of those guys shouldn’t be there and Pietrangelo should. Roman Josi, John Carlson, and Victory Hedman were the top three defensemen in the NHL when it came to points. They stand right near or slightly above Pietrangelo in Corsi and Fenwick as well as +/- rating. This was the NHL voters just looking at the shiniest toys and saying, “okay.”
Here’s the thing. I think Pietrangelo should have the nod over Hedman. Carlson is going to win the award outright, but Pietrangelo should have finally broken into the top three. He’s right there with Hedman in the statistical categories but when you add in the injuries suffered by the Blues, the intangibles carry him over the Tampa Bay Lightning veteran. Also, in a non-hockey note that has nothing to do with goals and percentage points, the St. Louis Blue has triplets at home!
I rest my case. Alex Pietrangelo should be a damn Norris Trophy finalist right now. That should have happened in his 20’s, but now Blues fans will merely hope he wins one in blue and gold in his 30’s.