February 19 marks the one-year anniversary of a truly stunning deal near the NHL trade deadline: Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk going from the Colorado Avalanche to the St. Louis Blues for Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a first-round pick.
Stunning for the players involved, stunning because it happened well after midnight on the East Coast (you know, the center of the hockey media universe).
Oh boy, did it look like the Blues had a steal in this one. Shattenkirk played 19:50 on average last year and is second on the team in ice time this season at 21:31. He has 23 points in 48 games.
Stewart … well, Stewart's an interesting story. He had 23 points in 26 games last season, giving him 28 goals and 25 assists overall. This season, his numbers have plummeted: 10 goals in 46 games, and a points-per-game average of 0.43, the lowest since his rookie campaign in 2008-09.
That regression, the Blues' other lineup needs at the 2012 trade deadline approaches and Stewart's RFA status next summer has Andy Strickland of TrueHockey.com thinking GM Doug Armstrong could move Stewart could at the deadline:
For the right price Stewart is available but it would really have to make sense for the Blues to pull the string here. I'm not a so sure moving this type of potential for a rental would make sense. A strong month from Stewart could easily squash any possibility of a trade. Unfortunately these are the decisions you have to make when you're a budget team.
Moving Stewart wouldn't have even been a consideration entering the season but tough decisions are part of the business and Armstrong has shown he's willing to make them.
As Strickland notes, it could be a move that comes back to bite the Blues, who trumpeted Stewart as a 35-goal man before the season. The Avalanche probably felt the same way after 26 games last season. Now? Well, they probably still miss Shattenkirk.