The Blues have locked up another key restricted free agent.
On Wednesday, the club announced a contract extension for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk — a four-year, $17 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $4.25 million.
Shattenkirk, 24, scored 23 points in 48 games last season, emerging as a key part of St. Louis’ blueline with another pending RFA — Alex Pietrangelo, who has yet to agree to a new deal.
In 2011-12, Shattenkirk tied a career-high in points (43) and finished 18th in Norris Trophy voting.
A former Boston University standout, Shattenkirk was taken 14th overall by Colorado at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and came to St. Louis in 2011 as part of the deal that saw Chris Stewart also head to the Blues (along with a second-round pick that would become Ty Rattie.)
In exchange, the Blues sent defenseman Erik Johnson, forward Jay McClement and a first-round pick (that would become Duncan Siemens) to Colorado.
As for other RFAs, St. Louis signed Patrik Berglund to a one-year, $3.25 million deal on Tuesday, but still needs to secure deals for Pietrangelo, Stewart and Kris Russell.
Blues: We’ll match any offer sheet to Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk, Stewart or Berglund
The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.
You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:
If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.
The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?