The Kevin Shattenkirk narrative – the one that began last season – is likely to reach its fever pitch in the coming weeks. That’s not to say the Blues will or won’t move the defenseman at the trade deadline, but the chatter certainly isn’t going anywhere.
The Rangers and Bruins have both expressed interest in the New York-bred Shattenkirk and a recent Sportsnet.ca report speculates he’d be open to an extension with Toronto should the Maple Leafs attempt to deal for him.
Per the report:
“[Trading for Shattenkirk] doesn’t seem to jive with management’s long-term philosophy, but it would unquestionably improve the odds of getting in the playoffs. The fact Shattenkirk is believed to be open to signing an extension with the Leafs is notable.”
The report lists former Blues defenseman Roman Polak as a head on the Leafs’ trading block, along with winger Josh Leivo and AHL forward Brian Leipsic. Toronto also owns 1st round picks in 2017 and 2018 as well as three 2nd rounders this year and two in 2018.
But there’s also the fact the Blues don’t yet know if they’re buyers or sellers…What a change a couple weeks and a new head coach can bring. 101ESPN insider Jeremy Rutherford recently shared his opinion on the Shattenkirk conundrum with The Turn.
“I think you definitely have to move Kevin Shattenkirk if you’re not going to sign him and I don’t think they’re going to sign him,” JR said Wednesday. “I think he’s the best available defenseman that’s going to be available, not only at the trade deadline, but he’ll be that way in unrestricted free agency in the summer. So you have to capitalize on that.”
Doug Armstrong knows there’s a potential for torches and pitchforks should he lose Shattenkirk to free agency for nothing after letting David Backes and Troy Brouwer walk last year. The GM has some serious team soul searching to do in the coming weeks. Are the Blues, with their prompt turnaround under new head coach Mike Yeo, really contenders?
“People are getting caught up in the way the Blues are playing. Have they changed some minds? Yeah,” JR added. “I think the coaching change has worked out well for the Blues and even though it’s only been six games, they seem to be playing pretty good hockey.
“But I think you can get caught up in it and think that you have a Stanley Cup contender on your hands, and I don’t think that that’s the case.”
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