And while it’s still possible the 27-year-old defenseman could be dealt in the next few weeks, it looks more and more like he’ll start the season as a member of the Blues, while wearing an ‘A’ on his jersey to boot.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has an informative story on Shattenkirk’s situation, and includes this tidbit about a phone call from head coach, Ken Hitchcock:
The Blues grew concerned about Shattenkirk’s state of mind because of the constant rumors, so Hitchcock phoned him.
“I was kind of in limbo, and I get a call from ‘Hitch,’” Shattenkirk said. “He said, ‘I don’t care where you are a year from now, or two years from now, I care where you are five minutes from now.’ I think that was good for me, to assume that mentality myself and know that I had to come in here and just enjoy it.”
“We talked about, ‘Can he put everything behind him to become a leader?’” Hitchcock said. “Where things go at the end of the year is out of our reach as a coaching staff. But we need to know how locked in you are … and he said he’s very locked in and wants to have a hell of a year. That’s when we put him in the leadership position.”
Shattenrkirk is a pending unrestricted free agent, which is why the trade rumors started in the first place. A realist about the business, he understands that the speculation about his future “is something that I think is going to go on all year.”
A lot could depend on how the Blues fare this season. If they’re good again, trading him at the deadline becomes less likely, at least according to their general manager.
“If you get to a part of the year and you have guys that are unrestricted and your team is no good, then you make those decisions,” Doug Armstrong said over the summer. “But if you have a good team and you have guys that are unrestricted, you just play it out.”