This offseason has seen Jeff Gorton make many solid moves. If he can find a way to add Kevin Shattenkirk at the right price, his first summer on the job would surely be considered a success.
After the St. Louis Blues were eliminated in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals this past season, many people believed that defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had played his last game with team.
Shattenkirk is entering the final year of his contract and with the Blues having a ton of depth defensively and limited cap space, the six-year veteran was likely to be shown the exit door in St. Louis.
Come July 25, Shattenkirk is still waiting for directions to find this exit door and as each day goes by, the possibility of him playing out the final season of his four year contract without the Blues getting anything in return only increases.
This offseason has certainly seen many moving pieces since the Pittsburgh Penguins lifted the Stanley Cup in June, but Doug Armstong’s inability to move the right-handed point man is one that has surprised many around the National Hockey League. What happened?
Now don’t get me wrong, it certainly hasn’t been due to a lack of interest. Teams around the league have been vying for Shattenkirk’s services all summer without much luck. However, there have been some close calls.
The Edmonton Oilers were rumored to be close to a deal, but Shattenkirk was apparently unwilling to sign an extension in the heart of Canada.
In addition, the Blues asking price for Shattenkirk is probably high. Being that this year’s free agency class was rather thin defensively, Armstrong is in a situation where he can command a lot for the 27-year-old and likely get something close to the return the Blues are in search of.
Clearly, St. Louis hasn’t found what they are looking for yet.
One team that has been said to be interested in the Blues point man is the New York Rangers. They are definitely in need of a point scoring defenseman after the departure of Keith Yandle to the Florida Panthers. Shattenkirk could very well be that guy.
Actually, if you look deeper into each of their statistics, they are eerily similar. Yandle had 47 points in 82 games, while Shattenkirk put up 44 points in 72 games. Also, the two each had 22 and 26 power play points, respectively.
It would be really hard to find someone who could replace Yandle other than Shattenkirk. The Connecticut native would absolutely fill a need in New York.
The Blueshirts and Shattenkirk are a match made in heaven. The former first-round pick grew up in New Rochelle and has said he has always dreamed of playing in the World’s Most Famous Arena. His twitter account bio even says, “New Yorker at heart.”
He would fit in perfectly on the first pairing with Ryan McDonagh and would be a staple on the right point of the first power play unit for Alain Vigneault’s squad.
Another positive for the Rangers is that Shattenkirk would be more than open to an extension. The Boston University product will likely command around $6-7 million in his next contract, but has said that he would take a pay cut if he came back home.
That is essential for the Blueshirts considering they only have about $3.5 million in cap space at the moment. It would also assure that Shattenkirk’s addition would be long term.
With that said, bringing him home would certainly be no easy task. One name that has been thrown around in Shattenkirk talks is Rick Nash. If Jeff Gorton does send Nash to St. Louis, there would no longer be any issues with cap space with his $7.8 million coming off the books, but Vigneault would be losing one of his top wingers.
The Blues have to replace David Backes somehow and although Nash isn’t a center, his big frame could help replace the former St. Louis’ captain’s large presence up front.
A trade for Shattenkirk would leave the Blueshirts with a defensive logjam. Even though they do have a need for a puck-moving defenseman, they still would have too many defenseman on the roster.
The additions of Nick Holden and Adam Clendening would be an issue for the Rangers going forward, leaving them with nine capable defenseman (including Shattenkirk). With that being the case, Gorton may be forced to send a defenseman to St. Louis like Dylan McIlrath or, if they get lucky, Dan Girardi or Marc Staal.
Some combination of a forward (possibly Nash), a young defenseman, and a pick for Shattenkirk could be enough to pry away one of St. Louis’ top defenders.
Any trade for Shattenkirk would be tough to get done, but at the right price it would be a no-brainer for Jeff Gorton and company.