Under Pressure: Alex Pietrangelo


“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.

For the St. Louis Blues, we pick … Alex Pietrangelo.

With a huge raise comes great responsibilities and immense pressure. Just ask other blueliners who received big pay pumps such as Drew Doughty, Shea Weber … and Brian Campbell.

As the fourth pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, much has been expected of the 23-year-old defenseman, but this is the year he’ll be expected to join the true elite level of blueliners. No doubt, he’s still young, yet his $6.5 million cap hit deletes excuses (reasonable or not).

Much like Pietrangelo, the Blues are entering a pivotal point where strong regular seasons are meaning a lot less unless they’re accompanied by a deep playoff run. Pietrangelo’s the second-highest paid Blues player behind Jay Bouwmeester, so people will expect that pairing to make the jump with St. Louis.

That’s especially true if the Blues run into the Los Angeles Kings – a team that’s clearly their kryptonite – in the playoffs once more. Pietrangelo has been compared to Doughty repeatedly, but the difference between the two so far is that the latter has enjoyed deep playoff runs and a Stanley Cup victory.

Pietrangelo’s also likely to be a part of Team Canada’s potentially impressive defensive corps, and it’s easy to see how much pressure comes with that duty.

Young or not, this Blues blueliner carries huge expectations next season.

For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.


Detroit places Datsyuk and three others on I.R.

Pavel Datsyuk,
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The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.

Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.

The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.

Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.

DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.

As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.

“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”