Kevin Shattenkirk (Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
The St. Louis Blues appeared ready to trade Kevin Shattenkirk at the draft, but the blueliner remains on the roster three weeks into free agency. However, recent moves could see the Rangers make a play for Shattenkirk as a replacement for Keith Yandle.
After weeks of anticipation, the New York Rangers finally made a significant roster move this summer. On Monday, they dealt center Derick Brassard and a seventh-round pick in 2018 to the Ottawa Senators for center Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round selection.
In shipping out Brassard's $5-million annual average salary through 2018-19 for Zibanejad's $2.65 million in 2016-17, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton freed up an additional $2.35 million. He can put that toward re-signing a restricted free agent forward such as Chris Kreider or Kevin Hayes. He could also use it to his roster via trade or free agency.
Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News speculates Gorton could use the savings to acquire St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. He could then re-sign the blueliner, who's eligible next July for unrestricted free agency, to an extension worth $6-million annually. Leonard also wonders if Kreider could be swapped for Shattenkirk before the winger's arbitration date on Friday.
It's no secret the Rangers need a suitable replacement for recently departed puck-moving rearguard Keith Yandle. The 27-year-old Shattenkirk could be a perfect fit, but there's no guarantee he's still available on the trade market or that Kreider is enough to pry him out of St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong was prepared to ship out Shattenkirk during last month's NHL Draft for a return of “high draft picks and/or top young forwards.” Failing to find any takers, Armstrong instead retained Shattenkirk and sought other options, including bringing back winger David Perron and center Vladimir Sobotka.
If Gorton has his sights on Shattenkirk, Armstrong could be intrigued by Kreider as part of the return. He could also squeeze the Rangers GM to add a draft pick or a top prospect into the deal.
The Edmonton Journal's David Staples, meanwhile, believes Shattenkirk's trade value is dropping. One reason is Armstrong's high asking price, while another was what Staples called Shattenkirk's “mediocre-to-ok” performance in the 2016 playoffs.
If Shattenkirk isn't dealt before the start of 2016-17, Staples thinks he'll become more of a playoff rental player because of his UFA status next summer. If so, that will affect what the Blues could get in return for him.
The Oilers were among the teams believed to have interest in Shattenkirk, but Staples points out the blueliner apparently is only interested in signing with an Eastern club. If so, he wouldn't be a long-term solution to the Oilers' need for a top-two rearguard.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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