St. Louis Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, left, and Kevin Shattenkirk (22) celebrate after Shattenkirk scored against the New York Rangers during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. The Blues defeated the Rangers 2-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Pietrangelo achieves Blues first, Shattenkirk poised to follow


The St. Louis Blues should consider themselves lucky to have a defenseman like 24-year-old Alex Pietrangelo. It’s incredible that they have a spare.

Back on Thursday, Pietrangelo became the first St. Louis Blues defeseman in history to record at least 40 points in each of his first three full campaigns. Given that it wasn’t a full campaign, the shortened 2013 season doesn’t factor into this.

Before Pietrangelo, the last blueliner to accomplish that feat in the NHL was Dion Phaneuf, who did so while playing with the Calgary Flames from 2005-08. We’re probably not going to have to wait another six years to see it happen again though. In fact, barring an injury, Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk should replicate Pietrangelo’s accomplishment by the end of March (albeit not exclusively with the Blues in Shattenkirk’s case).

Shattenkirk, 25, already has eight goals and 36 points in 56 games this season.

This is just the latest example of how rare it is to have a defensive duo this good. The Blues are fortunate to have them both locked up too, as Pietrangelo is in the first season of a seven-year, $45.5 million contract while Shattenkirk has begun his four-year, $17 million deal. Throw in Jay Bouwmeester and Barret Jackman and their defense has been one of the Blues’ strengths this season.

St. Louis will resume its season on Feb. 26, but in the meantime, Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester will play for Team Canada while Kevin Shattenkirk will represent the United States.

Sharks name Pavelski captain; Thornton, Couture alternates

Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton
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Joe Pavelski is the new captain of the San Jose Sharks. The club made the announcement today via Twitter.

The former captain, Joe Thornton, will be an alternate captain, along with Logan Couture.

Pavelski, 31, was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season, finishing with 37 goals and 33 assists. He’s also signed through 2018-19, so giving him the ‘C’ makes sense from a long-term stability perspective.

Couture, 26, is also signed through 2018-19, while Thornton, 36, only has two years left on his contract.

The Sharks had four alternate captains (Thornton, Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in 2014-15, but no captain.

Related: DeBoer says Sharks will have a captain next season

After PTO, Upshall signs one-year deal with Blues

Florida Panthers v Ottawa Senators
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Scottie Upshall has parlayed his training camp tryout into a contract with St. Louis.

On Monday, the Blues agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the veteran forward, worth $700,000 at the NHL level. The deal comes after Upshall spent all of training camp and the preseason impressing the Blues his speed and skating ability, no small feat for a 31-year-old veteran with over 500 NHL games on his odometer.

But where Upshall fits in the Blues lineup — and within the organization — remains to be seen.

The club has plenty of depth up front and Upshall isn’t coming off a terrific campaign, having scored just eight goals and 15 points in 63 games with Florida last season. That said, he showed enough to be just one of a handful of veterans on PTOs to score a contract.