In a vacuum, it’s confounding to imagine the St. Louis Blues trading Kevin Shattenkirk.
He’s a highly productive defenseman in the meat of his prime at 27, and his cap hit is a super-bargain at $4.25 million.
Of course, as is the case with many of the NHL’s biggest steals, the Blues will eventually need to pay up. In Shattenkirk’s case, his bargain deal ends after the 2016-17 season.
That’s a tough enough conundrum on its own, but consider the deals on the Blues’ cap that also expire after next season.
Now, there are also some areas of relief; some will be happy to see the Blues part ways with Patrik Berglund‘s $3.7 million cap hit (unless he plays out of his mind, naturally).
There are also some other things to consider.
A) What if the salary cap rises more than one might expect for 2017-18?
B) Would expansion help the Blues cut a little fat by losing a less-than-ideal contract?
C) Who are the Blues bringing back from this off-season?
Item C) dovetails with Shattenkirk. Will the Blues try to bring back David Backes and/or Troy Brouwer, possibly squeezing out Shattenirk?
There have been rumors about Shattenkirk being shopped around in the past, yet the summer is a great time to make deals. Teams get salary cap leeway, owners may want reboots and new coaches could really value Shattenkirk’s in-demand skills.
For what it’s worth, Shattenkirk would prefer to stay:
There’s a strong chance that Blues GM Doug Armstrong may bide his time, whether he’s inclined to trade Shattenkirk during the season or re-sign him.
Still, the talented defenseman’s situation shows that the Blues have big decisions to make even regarding situations that do not technically demand immediate choices.
One thing seems certain: it won’t be any easy call.
Blues face tough questions
David Backes wants to stay
So does Troy Brouwer