Trade rumors are starting to swirl about the St. Louis Blues.
Specifically, about the Blues acquiring Jonathan Drouin from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“To me, the team that’s most interesting to watch right now is probably St. Louis,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said this morning on Sportsnet 960 radio, per Today’s Slapshot. “Not only because I think they’re in on Drouin, but they haven’t won yet since the calendar flipped. There’s a lot of expectations on this team. They kind of lurch forward and lurch backwards.”
We wrote yesterday about the Blues’ recent stretch of blowing leads. They play in Anaheim tonight and Los Angeles tomorrow. They’re still comfortably in a playoff position, but they say they’re not “taking anything for granted.”
So, how might the Blues be able to pry Drouin out of Tampa Bay? Well, here’s a hint from ESPN’s Craig Custance:
…GM Doug Armstrong will soon be faced with a difficult decision regarding defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Multiple sources have said Shattenkirk’s name is in play on the trade front, not because the Blues don’t like him, but because they probably can’t afford to keep him when his contract runs out after next season.
Back to Tampa Bay, where it’s no secret the Lightning covet “a puck-moving, power-play right-shot defenseman.” They have Anthony DeAngelo in the system, but he’s only 20. Shattenkirk, 26, is all those things, plus NHL-ready now.
Just for fun, let’s say Steve Yzerman put a Drouin-for-Shattenkirk trade on the table. The big question may be whether the Blues would do that deal now, or whether they’d insist on waiting until the offseason.
After all, losing Shattenkirk — even if it meant adding Drouin — would be a huge short-term adjustment for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Shattenkirk has 25 points, nine more than any other Blues d-man. That includes 15 power-play points, which is 12 more than any other Blues d-man.
Of course, in that scenario, if the Blues did insist on waiting until the offseason, they may lose out on Drouin.