St. Louis Blues Trade for San Jose Sharks Prospect Konrad Abeltshauser


The St. Louis Blues made their first official transaction of the 2015-16 offseason on Monday, trading a conditional 2016 seventh-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for minor-league defenseman Konrad Abeltshauser. Abeltshauser, a 2010 sixth-rounder, is a 6-foot-5, 225-pound defenseman that was originally born in Germany but played the entirety of his junior hockey career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Abeltshauser is largely an unknown, but he’s rather highly-regarded for a former sixth-rounder. According to, Abeltshauser is “a big, yet mobile defenseman” who “likes to join the attack and is a leader on and off the ice”. Hockey’s Future states that “he could conceivably play anywhere from first pairing minutes in the NHL to never quite making the jump.” The biggest criticism of  Abeltshauser seems to be that he doesn’t play a physically bruising style that you’d think a 6-foot-5, 200-plus-pound defenseman (like current Blues blueliner Robert Bortuzzo), and that limits his ability to get away with a lack of speed or change-of-direction skills that are found in smaller defensemen.

In his second professional season, Abeltshauser played 50 games for San Jose’s AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks, while also making a trip to the ECHL to play six games with the Allen Americans. He had three goals and 16 assists with a plus-minus of plus-2 at Worcester, while adding five goals and two assists during his brief time with the Americans.

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Abeltshauser is actually quite similar to Blues defensive prospect Jani Hakanpaa. The two European-born defensemen have spectacular size that they haven’t exactly taken advantage of during their respective young professional careers. Both players were born in 1992, and after hopes that they could eventually develop into top-pairing defensemen while contributing in some form at the NHL level in rather short order, they’ve both failed to do much in terms of offense during their time in the minors. Abeltshauser has 14 goals and 33 assists over 113 professional games, while Hakanpaa has seven goals and 14 assists over 134.

With the Blues currently lacking a clear seventh defenseman at the NHL level, it’s possible that Abeltshauser could make a push to be on the opening roster as an extra blueliner. There are others in similar positions to Abeltshauser, such as Joel Edmundson, Colton Parayko, and Jordan Schmaltz, who could also theoretically push for that type of role, but all three of those defensemen have less professional experience than Abeltshauser, and if it comes down to someone among that group and all things are equal in terms of preseason performance, the Blues would almost certainly prefer to have the latter three continue to develop at AHL Chicago. With that said, Abeltshauser will need to make a big improvement in terms of on-ice results to quickly become a candidate for an NHL roster spot.

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