The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching, and the best player for teams in need of a top-four defenseman to pursue is Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues.
He’s ranked eighth — first among blueliners — on TSN’s 2017 Trade Bait list, and their senior hockey reporter Frank Seravalli provided an update on Shattenkirk’s status in regards to his future in St. Louis.
“The door is now wide open. Shattenkirk is now believed to be interested in testing a short-term fit with a playoff contender. The Blues, who were once more comfortable keeping Shattenkirk even if it meant letting him walk for nothing on July 1, seem to realize their current team isn?t quite as strong as those in recent years.”
Shattenkirk has a reasonable salary cap hit at $4.25 million, but he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season, and as Seravalli notes, will be expensive to re-sign long-term.
The Blues are in a playoff spot as the third-place team in the Central Division entering Tuesday, but they have to look at this situation smartly.
Letting Shattenkirk walk as a UFA and not receiving any kind of asset(s) in return would be a step back for a franchise that isn’t too far away from being a real Stanley Cup contender. Trading him for a package of young NHLers, prospects and/or draft picks could help the Blues re-tool in short order.
The price will be high, as it should be for a player of Shattenkirk’s caliber, but the Blues benefit from having the best defenseman expected to be available before the trade deadline.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images