Alex Pietrangelo: The Latest Young Face for the St. Louis Blues

Joel Dundas@@JRDundasCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2010

TORONTO - SEPTEMBER 29:  Alex Pietrangelo #52 of the St. Louis Blues skates along the side boards during their NHL preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on September 29, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Blues 4-3 in shootout overtime. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Arguably one of the best prospects the St. Louis Blues have had in years, Alex Pietrangelo has really come into his own in the Ontario Hockey League.

Selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry draft, Pietrangelo has seen action in 17 NHL games, but has spent the better half of the past two seasons since being drafted with the Niagara Ice Dogs and Barrie Colts of the OHL.

After being selected, the Blues faced the option of rushing him into the league or send him down for more time to develop.

The choice to send him down came after the maximum nine game limit for rookies was met.

Pietrangelo recorded an assist over that span, but was really lacking the confidence to make an immediate impact.

Pietrangelo rejoined the Dogs and ended up having a very solid year, recording 29 points in 36 games on the back end. This year also saw Pietrangelo bring in a Gold medal on a very solid Canadian squad at the World Junior Championships.

The next season lay the same option for the Blues.

After suffering a minor setback eight games into the season, Pietrangelo still hadn't seemed quite ready for the NHL, and once again the Blues sent him back down to the OHL.

This time however he was acquired in a blockbuster trade by the Barrie Colts.

Pietrangelo joined the Colts, and was dominant on the back end recording over a point a game in 29 regular season games.

He was clearly developing into a dominant performer at both ends of the ice.

The previous year Alex got to represent Canada at the World Juniors and put in a dominant performance recording 12 points in six games, while picking up a silver medal and top honours as the best defenceman in the tournament.

Doug Armstrong now faces a question he's had to deal with for years: Do you keep Alex, or send him to Peoria?

The choice is obvious now. The King City Native has proved to himself and the world that he has what it takes.

Pietrangelo has shown that he has tremendous hockey sense, excellent leadership qualities, and excels at both ends of the ice.

The Blues are looking for a spark that will push them back into the playoffs, and this could be just what the doctor ordered, an offensively gifted defencemen that can protect his own while putting up decent numbers up front.

Combined with the wealth of young talent ready to burst onto the scene in St. Louis, the Blues are facing exciting times.

The league may not pay to much attention to the team now, but that will all change as this team will be very good, very soon.