Extra: Robert Bortuzzo
Alex Pietrangelo’s strong play on the left side for Team Canada in the World Cup has created additional options for Ken Hitchcock, as the coach has said that he could consider pairing the new captain with a fellow righthanded shooter such as Kevin Shattenkirk or Colton Parayko. A few things complicate that plan, though; first of all, Pietrangelo just seems to play better when he’s paired with Jay Bouwmeester, and though it might not be ideal to subject the 32-year-old Bouwmeester to so many minutes per game at this point in his career, he really does mesh well with Pietrangelo.
Secondly, based on last season’s performance, the Blues’ top six defensemen are the six guys listed above, an it’s not particularly close. Robert Bortuzzo is a good player and is an especially effective matchup player against some more physical teams, but he’s a lesser defender in his own zone than Joel Edmundson and seems to wear down with extended playing time. To put Pietrangelo on the left side, the Blues would have to either put Bortuzzo into the lineup rather than Edmundson or play a double-lefthanded pair, so it makes more sense to leave things the same way that they were last season. Those pairings, after all, were extremely influential in getting the team to the Western Conference Finals.