The conversation happened before the NHL’s early summer market bazaar.
Jordan Neumann, the agent for Kevin Shattenkirk, and Doug Armstrong, the general manager of the defenseman’s St. Louis Blues, talked about the present and the future. The impression made on Neumann was that the contract Shattenkirk wanted was too rich for the Blues’ salary structure, and that it was “in both of our best interests and the Blues’ best interests that they pursue a trade.”
The NHL Draft came and went. No trade.
The NHL’s free-agent frenzy came and went. No trade.
The hold up is that Armstrong is looking for a deal that makes sense for the team. It’s no secret that they’d like to trade him, but they’re not going to make a deal they’ll regret to make it happen now. The comments from Shattenkirk’s agent, Jordan Neumann, were understandable because they felt that a trade would happened near the draft based on the information that they had been given.
I’ve since asked Armstrong about the situation and he speaks as though Shattenkirk will be a Blue to start the season. That could be posturing to get the most from other teams who want Shattenkirk, or he could really feel that way.
Bottom line, the Blues have plenty of time to trade Shattenkirk before he walks for nothing. Even if he’s here to start the year and has a good year, that only drives up his price. They have until the deadline next year, so to me it’s nothing to worry about. I’m not downplaying the situation, it is a significant storyline but there’s no real rush.
There are a few factors combining here to put this Shattenkirk trade in quicksand.
There’s the aforementioned lack of urgency from the Blues, which then leads to a high asking price because, well, why not? You’re not going to get Jonathan Drouin from the Tampa Bay Lightning or Dylan Larkin from the Detroit Red Wings – two reported asks – but this is how negotiations with a coveted commodity work. And a puck-moving power-play specialist is the NHL’s equivalent of a pass-rushing linebacker.
There are other factors on Shattenkirk’s side. Whoever trades for him is going to want him locked up long-term, and he carries a cap hit of $4.25 million into the final season of his contract. One assumes Keith Yandle’s deal with the Florida Panthers ($6.350 AAV) would be in the conversation on a Shattenkirk contract, perhaps as its midpoint, depending on term.
But that assumes Shattenkirk wants to be locked up by a team that acquires him, which is why Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now. From Rutherford:
On the situation with Edmonton, I don’t believe Shattenkirk would have signed there long-term and that likely prevented a deal. HOWEVER, I don’t think this is all on Shattenkirk. I think Edmonton might have wanted more in return for Taylor Hall than Shattenkirk. Perhaps the Oilers would have taken Shattenkirk without a long-term deal and that’s why they were asking for more than him alone. But I believe what ended any chance of swapping Shattenkirk and Hall was the Blues unwillingness to give up any more. As far as Eberle, etc., Edmonton got their D-man and they’re now down a forward, so I’m not sure if they’re looking to trade Eberle or RNH at this point.
Shattenkirk to the Oilers made a world of sense. But perhaps he was resistant to the McDavid Fever that infected Milan Lucic.
Again, the Blues can be patient. They’re a better team with Shattenkirk, but they’d be dealing from a position of strength on the backend. And perhaps it’s better to see what this team actually has up front this season before flipping Shattenkirk to help address it.
But as we venture deeper into the summer, Shattenkirk twists in the wind. Soon to be former Blues defenseman? Blues defenseman, with the inevitability of being a former Blues defenseman?