Even after trading Kevin Shattenkirk, the St. Louis Blues might not be done dealing.
The St. Louis Blues basically threw up the white flag on their 2016-17 season on Monday night, trading Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals. With their rebuild now in full effect, GM Doug Armstrong might not be done dealing.
Scottie Upshall, who has been the team’s fourth line left wing for the better part of a season-and-a-half, will be a healthy scratch as the Blues play the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jeremy Rutherford tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that Upshall may be a candidate to be moved at the deadline:
Upshall proved last season that he can be a strong contributor to a playoff team, skating in 17 games while providing exceptional energy and physicality on a line with Kyle Brodziak that featured Ryan Reaves, Steve Ott, and Dmitrij Jaskin on the right wing at various points. He contributed three points, including this beautiful goal against the Blackhawks:
Upshall’s been a strong performer again this season, collecting seven goals and four assists in 54 games.
With that said, the Blues obviously have a desire to justify their investments in Dmitrij Jaskin–who is in the first year of a two-year, $2 million-dollar deal–and Nail Yakupov–who is making $2.5 million this season and also cost them a third-round pick when they acquired him from Edmonton.
With Ivan Barbashev and Magnus Paajarvi forcing themselves into the lineup with their strong play over the past month, the opportunities for Jaskin and Yakupov have been virtually nonexistent, and Armstrong probably wants to see what he has in that duo before the end of the season. That’s especially true because he must make decisions on whether to protect them in the expansion draft and whether to tender a contract to Yakupov, who’s a restricted free agent this summer.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie also suggested a possibility on Tuesday morning that could make Upshall expendable:
Sobotka plays a similar role to Upshall, providing speed and physicality plus the added ability to take faceoffs. The Blues have talked about Sobotka as a top-nine player in the past–most recently when they talked about bringing him back this summer–but it’s difficult to see him fitting in the top nine at this point. At most, he’d probably take Upshall’s spot on the fourth line.
It’s unlikely that Upshall would fetch much on the trade market, considering that the Blues were able to bring him back into the fold for just $900,000 during the offseason. The Blues obviously want to fortify their depth as much as possible–which isn’t a bad idea considering that their AHL roster is currently made up primarily of veteran minor-leaguers acquired from other organizations–so if they can get a fourth or fifth-round pick for him, perhaps they’d jump at the opportunity.