The summer’s hottest potential unrestricted free agent, Kevin Shattenkirk has been swirling around multiple rumors dating back to last season. After nearly striking multiple deals involving the speedy defenseman with Arizona, Edmonton, and Boston, the Blues seemed to have had little to no talks since the Draft. With a little less than a half of a season to go on his contract, the question remaims; what will the Blues do with Kevin Shattenkrik?
The options are simple. Either hold onto the valuable asset and hope to extend him in the off-season, and if not, he hits the open market — or, trade him for some sort of package to regain assets, that I believe, the organization desperately needs after getting nothing for David Backes and Troy Brouwer. Even with half of a season left on his contract, the demands around the league for a top 2/4 puck moving defenseman are drastically high. Shattenkirk is one of the top offensive defenseman in the entire NHL and if a few teams get into a bidding war to acquire, the Blues could have a surprisingly high return.
It is widely believed that Shattenkirk’s next contract will be for 5-7 years for an AAV of $6.5-8 million dollars per season; that will make him one of the top paid d-men in the NHL. Per ESPN’s Craig Custance, the Blues and Shattenkirk have had no talks of extension as of late. The 27 year old future UFA currently has 30 points in 46 games played this season; however, he is also a -14. He ranks 5th in NHL defensemen in points, 3rd in goals, and 2nd in power play points. With the good comes the bad and the questions of whether Shattenkirk can become a team’s top 2 d-man, or a high powered top 4 power play specialist. Shattenkirk ranks 90th among NHL defenseman in time on ice, and has the 10th WORST +/- for NHL d-men at -14.
On Toronto’s Sportsnet 590, Elliotte Friedman noted “there is a belief around the league that he wants to go to the Rangers. Now I don’t know if that’s true or not, but there’s a lot of teams that think it. I do think he’s a Northeast U.S. kind of guy. He’s looking at Rangers, maybe the Islanders, or Bruins, or something like that if they can make it work. Now, there were two teams last year that were given permission to talk to him long term: Edmonton and Arizona. I heard the Arizona thing actually got kind of close, but they couldn’t get it done. To me, I think the only way a Canadian team is getting him is if he’s a rental.”
Elliotte Friedman was also on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 this week. “We went through this dance last year. Edmonton had permission to talk to him and he told them ‘Hey, I appreciate your interest, but I’m not signing long term there.’ Arizona was the other team that had permission to talk to him. Those conversation I heard went somewhere. It got to a point where I think somebody thought it could happen, and then it just didn’t. I’m not sure if it was because they couldn’t agree on a contract, or they couldn’t agree on a trade. But it was moving in the right direction and then it all fell apart.”
Darren Dreger also reported some interesting Shattenkirk news about a possible “trade and extend” situation last night on ‘Insiders Trading’: “Obviously that’s a way that Kevin Shattenkirk can control the process. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause, so he doesn’t have a lot of options unless the Blues can find that right fit. And it sounds like Shattenkirk is willing to consider several options. The Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, the Boston Bruins, Detroit, San Jose, Anaheim, going back to Colorado is a possibility as well. If you’re Doug Armstrong and the Blues, and you can find the right fit, then the asking price for Shattenkirk goes up.” Dreger said. He later noted that there are likely 8-10 teams the future UFA would sign an extension with if he where to be traded there.
The team that interests me the most, in my opinion, is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They provide a good variety of assets whether Armstrong is looking for a “hockey trade” and acquiring a main piece such as James Van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri, or Tyler Bozak. But whats most intriguing, and sets the Lesfs apart from the other suitors, are their deep and very talented prospects. Players such as Gauthier, Carrick, Bracco, Kapenen, Leipsic, Valiev, etc, are all very good trade chips. The Blues would benefit greatly by adding some assets back via trade. They can not afford to have another core player walk in free agency for nothing in return.
Thanks for reading. Tweet me your comments, thoughts, and what you want to see happen @The_STG.