OReilly named captain of Blues

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Ryan O’Reilly was named captain of the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old center replaces defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was captain from 2016-20 before signing a seven-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 12.

O’Reilly, who is the 23rd captain in Blues history, is entering his third season with St. Louis after being acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres on July 1, 2018.

He led the Blues in scoring each of the past two regular seasons and Stanley Cup Playoffs. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy voted as MVP of the 2019 playoffs, when he scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 26 games to help the Blues win the Stanley Cup for the first time since joining the NHL for the 1967-68 season. He was the first non-goalie in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe in his first season after being traded.

O’Reilly scored 61 points (12 goals, 49 assists) in 71 games last season after scoring 77 points (28 goals, 49 assists) in 2018-19. He scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in nine games in the 2020 postseason, when the Blues lost to the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round.

“He is a good choice,” Pietrangelo said in comments published Sunday by The Athletic. “One of the hardest-working guys I know. Leads by example every day. Has succeeded in this league for a long time, and for good reason. I was happy to have him by my side for a few years. Great person, teammate and player.”

Selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round (No. 33) of the 2009 NHL Draft, O’Reilly has scored 138 points (40 goals, 98 assists) in 153 games for St. Louis and 560 points (195 goals, 365 assists) in 804 NHL games for the Blues, Sabres and Avalanche.

Seven members of the Hockey Hall of Fame have been Blues captain: Al Arbour (1967-70), Bernie Federko (1988-89), Scott Stevens (1990-91), Brett Hull (1992-95), Wayne Gretzky (1996), Chris Pronger (1997-2002) and Al MacInnis (2002-04). Other notable players who were St. Louis captain include Red Berenson (1970-71, 1977-78), Bob Plager (1970-76) and Brian Sutter (1979-88).

There are six NHL teams that do not have a captain: the Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

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