The St. Louis Blues ended the Kevin Shattenkirk saga on Monday night, dealing him to the Washington Capitals.
The trade deadline drama surrounding the St. Louis Blues finally came to a climax on Monday night, with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk heading to the Washington Capitals along with minor-league goaltender Pheonix Copley in exchange for a 2017 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick in 2019, center Zach Sanford, and AHL forward Brad Malone. The Blues will also retain 39 percent of Shattenkirk’s remaining salary and cap hit according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Shattenkirk led Blues defensemen with 44 points last season, and he was in position to do so again this season, as he had 11 goals and 31 assists–the second-most points on the team overall behind Vladimir Tarasenko–through 61 games. He was an All-Star in 2015 and played for Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In all likelihood, the greatest benefit for the Blues will come from the first-round pick they’ll receive this summer, though with Washington likely to advance deep into the playoffs this summer, even that player will likely be far from a sure thing to make an impact in the NHL.
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Sanford, a 22-year-old forward who is in his first NHL season after departing Boston College this summer, provides some intrigue because of his 6-foot-4, 203-pound frame. He hasn’t been much of a difference maker this season, though, as he’s collected two goals and one assist through his first 26 NHL games. Since the Blues have gotten strong performances from guys like Magnus Paajarvi and Ivan Barbashev in recent weeks and pretty much have to keep giving chances to Nail Yakupov and Dmitrij Jaskin because of their salaries, it’s very possible that Sanford will get sent to the AHL–at least until the 23-man NHL roster limit goes away after Wednesday’s trade deadline.
Malone is a 27-year-old forward with 176 games of NHL experience for the Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes. It’d be safe to label the 6-foot-2, 207-pounder a “grinder” considering that he’s got just 13 goals and 17 assists in the NHL and has had double-digit points in a season just once, when he had seven goals and eight assists over 65 games for the Hurricanes in 2014-15. He hasn’t seen any action in the NHL this season and has seven goals and 13 assists in 52 games for the AHL Hershey Bears.
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Malone will provide the Blues some NHL-tested depth at the AHL level, which is somewhat needed considering that they’ve lost Landon Ferraro and Robby Fabbri to season-ending injuries and had to move Paajarvi and Barbashev to the NHL. Unless the Blues have another wave of injuries, though, he’s likely to toil in the minors until his contract expires at the end of the season. Thus, it’s possible that he’ll just end up taking away opportunities from young Blues draftees such as Samuel Blais, Conner Bleackley, and Mackenzie MacEachern.
The decision to send Copley back to the Capitals–from whom he was originally acquired as part of the T.J. Oshie trade during the summer of 2015–puts somewhat of a black mark on the Blues’ decision to deal Oshie. The Blues traded Oshie for Copley, a third-round pick that was later dealt back to Washington, and winger Troy Brouwer, who played in all 82 games for the Blues last season and made strong contributions during the playoffs, but departed to sign with the Calgary Flames following the season.
Oshie, meanwhile, has 50 goals and 44 assists over 130 games in Washington. The 30-year-old forward will reunite with Shattenkirk in Washington, and they’ve got a solid chance to bring the Stanley Cup to D.C. this June.
Now, all the Blues have to show for Oshie is an AHL forward whose contract will expire at the end of the season, plus whatever goodwill was derived from Brouwer’s contributions in 2015-16 and Copley’s singular start for the Blues last month.