Kevin Shattenkirk.(Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk remains a fixture in this summer's NHL rumor mill, with the Rangers as the most likely target.St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk remains a fixture in this summer's NHL rumor mill. Most of the chatter still ties the 27-year-old to the New York Rangers, suggesting he could be swapped for left winger Rick Nash. During a recent live chat with his readers, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was asked what forward the Blues would have to package with Shattenkirk to land the 32-year-old Nash. Citing Nash's $7.8-million cap hit through 2017-18, Rutherford proposes including Patrik Berglund ($3.7 million) or Jori Lehtera ($4.7 million) with Shattenkirk's $4.25-million cap hit to offset the difference. NBC Sports' Jason Brough believes the Blues would be making a big mistake trading Shattenkirk. He argues they could be undervaluing Shattenkirk's worth to their D-corps. Shattenkirk eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency is the main issue driving the trade rumors. Brough acknowledges the Blues' concern about fitting a raise for him under their cap space for 2017-18. However, the departures this summer of David Backes and Troy Brouwer could alleviate that problem. Brough believes they could still fit Shattenkirk in, especially if they decide to part ways with oft-injured 32-year-old left winger Alexander Steen. At this point, a Shattenkirk-for-Nash swap remains unlikely. With Steen, Jaden Schwartz and Robby Fabbri at left wing, the Blues have considerable depth at that position. They also signed David Perron, who can play either wing. Blues GM Doug Armstrong doesn't sound like he's in any hurry to trade Shattenkirk. Earlier this month, he told ESPN.com's Craig Custance he expects the blueliner to be with the club for the upcoming season. TEAMS STARTING TO LOOK AT HUDLER Jiri Hudler is among the few notable players still available in the free-agent market. He could attract interest from the clubs that lost out in the recent Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes. The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington suggests the Buffalo Sabres take a look at the 32-year-old Hudler. He notes the veteran tallied 16 goals and 30 assists last season with the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers and is only a year removed from a career-high 76-point campaign. CSN Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis thinks Hudler could be a sensible addition for the Chicago Blackhawks. In addition to the winger's offensive numbers over the last two seasons, Roumeliotis cites Hudler's experience and ability to play all three forward positions. With over $8 million in salary-cap room, the Sabres have sufficient space to add a winger such as Hudler. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have a little over $2.4 million of cap room. Hudler would probably seek more than that. The New Jersey Devils could also use another experienced forward. With over $12 million in cap space, they can afford to add a veteran winger. While GM Ray Shero has approval from ownership to spend, he prefers to wait for the right player and the right opportunity. Shero is also waiting to see if long-time Devils forward Patrik Elias makes a full recovery from off-season knee surgery. If Shero decides to bring the aging Elias back for a last hurrah, he won't pursue Hudler.
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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