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The St. Louis Blues are going to trade defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Or at least try to trade the pending unrestricted free agent, whose next contract will be too rich for the team’s salary cap, before the trade deadline on March 1.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, and confirmed by beat writer Jeremy Rutherford, the Blues had a trade in place for Shattenkirk. But the defenseman spiked the deal, which was in the works six weeks ago, when he his camp nixed a seven-year, $42-million contract with the new club.
League sources have independently confirmed that the 28-year-old pending unrestricted free agent turned down the offer. The Blues are now believed to be shopping Shattenkirk as a “rental” player, according to those sources, meaning they don’t expect him to sign a long-term deal with another club before the NHL trade deadline Wednesday.
An extension elsewhere would allow the Blues to maximize his trade value, whereas being dealt as a rental will not garner the team as much in return.
The Post-Dispatch reached Jordan Neumann, Shattenkirk’s agent, Thursday night but he declined comment. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong was unavailable. The swap of Shattenkirk would have been with an Eastern Conference team and believed to be the Tampa Bay Lightning, with whom the Blues have long been speculated to be in trade talks.
The Lightning are a fascinating trade partner. They have restricted free agents in Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and Andrej Sustr. They have one big unrestricted free agent in goalie Ben Bishop. Now, if this deal was in the works six weeks ago, that would put it square in the range of Blues goalie Jake Allen’s struggles – was Bishop a part of the package headed back to St. Louis?
As Rutherford notes, this is the second time Shattenkirk’s refusal to agree to a long-term deal has spiked a trade. The Edmonton Oilers and Blues had a deal that would have sent Taylor Hall to St. Louis for Shattenkirk, but the Blues defenseman wouldn’t commit to an extension.
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