The Blues took a leap of faith this offseason in keeping Shattenkirk, who’s set to make $5.2 million in the final season of his current four-year contract before hitting free agency next summer. While most people–including Shattenkirk and his agent–expected him to be traded this offseason, the Blues ultimately decided that the puck-moving skills, power play quarterbacking ability, and veteran leadership that he brings would be more valuable than anything they’d get for him in a deal.
With Shattenkirk back in the fold, the Blues need him to do two things that he’s struggled to do recently: stay healthy (he’s missed 36 games over the past two seasons) and play strong defense in his own end (he had a team-worst minus-14 rating in the regular season and a team-worst minus-8 in the playoffs). The Blues failed to bring back David Backes, Troy Brouwer, or Vladimir Sobotka, so quality protection from their blueliners will be more important than it’s been in a long while, and though the Blues can hide him a bit by reducing his minutes, the Blues absolutely must get quality defensive play from Shattenkirk.
If nothing else, Shattenkirk needs to retain enough value that the Blues can get something for him later on in the season. If they’re clearly non-competitive come early 2017–or if they decide that there’s no hope for an extension and are confident enough in Jordan Schmaltz or Petteri Lindbohm to do his job–the Blues may want to reassess moving Shattenkirk before the deadline.