June 20th marked a busy day for the National Hockey League, as trades went down left and right as we jumped rather quickly into the off-season fun. It was a day of big names, heavy speculation, and hefty deals, and, some might say, a big missed opportunity for the Boston Bruins.
It’s no news that the Bruins are desperate for some defensive changes. As it stands, the Bruins’ blue-line is made up of past-their-prime veteran defenders (i.e. Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg), and a few guys who you wouldn’t be calling “elite” (Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller). They are in dire need of a couple defensive upgrades – one player alone will not save this blue-line.
One of those opportunities was lost on Monday when the New York Rangers traded Keith Yandle’s rights to Florida. You may remember Yandle’s name being thrown around with tags to the Bruins at the trade deadline. You can be sure that the Bruins had their eye on Yandle coming into the off-season, who is set to enter unrestricted free-agency this summer. All hope is not lost on Yandle, who has until July 1 to sign with Florida before entering free agency, but if the Panthers can get the job done, then Boston will be out of luck.
In the meantime, the Bruins have been linked to Blues’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who has one year remaining on his deal with St. Louis. The assumption is that the Blues won’t be able to afford to re-sign Shattenkirk, which opens the door wide for a trade as they look to pull something back in return for him.
Assuming that Shattenkirk is really available — and all signs are pointing towards that being true — he’ll be a player that will come at a pretty hefty price tag.
In his six years of NHL experience, Shattenkirk has made a name for himself — both defensively, and production-wise. He’s tallied 44 points in each of the last two seasons, reaching a career-high fourteen goals last season. In his 2014-15 campaign, he reached 44 points despite only appearing in 56 games.
Point being, St. Louis isn’t going to let him go cheap.
Pierre Lebrun reported on his availability on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 on Monday:
“There are calls right now coming in on St. Louis on Kevin Shattenkirk, who has a year left on his deal. Can the Blues sign him to an extension, or do they have to move him? They’re pretty deep on defense, especially with the advent of Parayko this year behind Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester. The Blues are in a pretty good position of strength to probably move Shattenkirk, if they want, in an offseason in which there are a lot of teams looking for D.
“Think of the Boston Bruins. Think of the Edmonton Oilers. Those among the teams that have already spoken to St. Louis here of late regarding Kevin Shattenkirk.”
So the Bruins have at least been in discussions for Shattenkirk. That’s step one.
Step two, of course, would be working out a deal in which the Bruins can afford him. For the Bruins, a one-year rental of Shattenkirk would be outright stupid – that’s not what they’re going for. If the Bruins make a move for Shattenkirk, it’s because they know they can re-sign him to an extended deal. The issue then, of course, becomes clearing out cap space for the 27-year-old defenseman.
Bringing in Shattenkirk would mean the Bruins would certainly have to make some supplementary deals. On top of that, Shattenkirk is highly sought after in the trade market, and St. Louis will probably receive some intriguing offers, which means the Bruins may have to dish out in order to get their hands on him.
It’s a move that Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney will have to think long and hard about, especially given the status of other free-agents such as Loui Eriksson, Torey Krug, and Chris Kelly.