Blues lock up D Alex Pietrangelo with 7-year deal

ST. LOUIS — Alex Pietrangelo wasn’t a holdout for long — if he ever was one in the first place.

The star defenseman has agreed to terms on a seven-year contract with the Blues, general manager Doug Armstrong announced Friday. The deal is worth a reported $6.5 million per season, or $45.5 million over the life of the contract.

“It’s a day I knew was going to come at some point,” Armstrong said. “I was hoping it was going to be a few day ago. We had a conversation yesterday and a scheduled call today. We were able to wrap up all the loose ends that are there. Talking to Alex, I know he is very excited to be a part of the organization. What I said to him was, ‘This isn’t a seven-year deal. This is a steppingstone to the rest of your career.'”

Pietrangelo, 23, was absent during the team’s physicals Wednesday and first session of training camp Thursday, but coach Ken Hitchcock said Pietrangelo’s delayed arrival is “not a distraction now.”

“He knows the last couple weeks what’s gone on,” Hitchcock said. “The players have kept him up to date. Just missing the first two ice sessions isn’t a big deal. He will catch up to speed right away.”

Whether Pietrangelo was officially a holdout depends on how one defines the term. Some felt because he had no contract in place — he was a restricted free agent — he did not fit he bill. Others anointed him the first holdout in the team’s history.

Regardless, his teammates were prepared to move on without the player the Blues selected fourth overall in 2008.

“That’s a situation no one likes to be in, a conversation no one likes to have,” team captain David Backes said. “But we’ve got a lot of capable bodies on the ice, guys that are willing to fill in and step up if he is absent for an extended period of time.”

That unpleasant conversation is now over.

Pietrangelo’s sixth season will be played in St. Louis, and six more will be waiting after that.

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