So, it looks like the Bruins will have to find a puck-moving, “transitional” defenseman elsewhere as Blues D-man Kevin Shattenkirk may be off the market for a while.
Blues President of Hockey Operations and GM Doug Armstrong jumped on with the NHL Tonight crew on NHL Network Friday afternoon and was asked point blank about the trade rumors surrounding the former BU defenseman in the wake of both Troy Brouwer and David Backes bolting in free agency.
It would appear things have changed for the St. Louis bottom line and now the Blues will start the season with Shattenkirk while monitoring how the roster fares during the season.
Considering that the Blues are coming off a good, deep playoff run, it may be that Shattenkirk doesn’t get dealt at all.
“I think the Kevin Shattenkirk thing grew on a life of its own at the draft. What I’ve said internally here is that we’re excited to have Kevin Shattenkirk as a part of our team. In the NHL now you see all the players hitting free agency and moving to [different] teams,” said Armstrong to the NHL Tonight crew.
“Our goal is to try and get Kevin signed if we can, or start the year and him a good. We started last year with Troy Brouwer and David Backes in the same situation, we had 107 or 108 points and made it to the semifinals. I think if you’re always trying to trade players as they enter the last year of their contracts, I don’t know that you’re ever going to have a really good team if you’re running away from free agency. Free agency is part of our game, and you make those free agent decisions.
“If you get to a part of the year and you have guys that are unrestricted and your team is no good, then you make those decisions. But if you have a good team and you have guys that are unrestricted, you just play it out.”
So, where do the Bruins turn after it was clear the Blues weren’t that interested in trading Shattenkirk by asking for both first-round picks and David Pastrnak at last weekend’s NHL draft?
With Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and David Backes all signed to big contracts, perhaps the Bruins explore dealing Krejci for another one of the available transition D-man on the market. Anaheim’s Cam Fowler comes to mind immediately, and Colorado’s Tyson Barrie is another player that could certainly help the Black and Gold if they’re looking to trade up for a high-caliber, top-four puck-moving type.
Still, it sure doesn’t sound like it will be Shattenkirk, 27, who will be looking for an deal in the neighborhood of seven years, $49 million from whatever team signs him to his next contract.