It seems the Rick Nash for Kevin Shattenkirk trade rumors have been around since the New York Rangers were eliminated by Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs in April. Whether the rumor ever had any basis in fact or was completely conjured up by beat writers and bloggers is up for debate. Regardless, this is one rumor that has had quite the shelf life and is one that refuses to go away. They say, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” and there has been a lot of smoke on this one.
Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently answered questions as part of a live chat and naturally one reader asked about this. Rutherford did say, “it still seems quiet right now,” when discussing what his sources had told him about any Shattenkirk rumors. But later he also said he “wouldn’t dismiss the possibility,” of a trade involving the two players.
It makes sense for both clubs to varying degrees to make a move of this nature. The Rangers had issues much of last season involving their defense and have since lost regular defensemen Keith Yandle and Dan Boyle to trade and retirement respectively. Shattenkirk grew up a Rangers fan and idolized former Blueshirt blue liner Brian Leetch. His offensive prowess and puck moving ability would certainly go a long way toward replacing what the team lost when they dealt Yandle’s negotiating rights to Florida. And despite Shattenkirk entering the final year of his deal, his fondness for the Rangers would make him a likely candidate to sign a somewhat team-friendly extension.
On the St. Louis side, adding Nash would help offset the void of veteran leadership and skill created when David Backes and Troy Brouwer left the team in free agency. Nash’s previous experience with head coach Ken Hitchcock in Columbus also lends credibility to the belief the Blues would have interest in the veteran winger.
Not all signs point to the likelihood of heavy interest in Nash, however. St. Louis has made it known that they are focused on getting younger. They are expected to bring back Vladimir Sobotka from overseas to fill one vacancy up front. Plus they have some young prospects they might like to give a shot too before adding an expensive veteran like Nash.
Nash also makes a fair amount more money than Shattenkirk – $7.8MM cap hit but actual salaries of $8MM and 8.2MM over the next two years – but since the Rangers have plenty of cap space they would be able to retain salary to facilitate a move if they chose to do so.
I believe this trade would have already gone down if the Rangers and Blues wanted it to. It’s true the Rangers didn’t execute the deal to acquire Mika Zibanejad in exchange for Derick Brassard until well into the summer but that was due to Ottawa wishing to avoid paying out a bonus owed to Brassard on July 15th. The best guess is that the two clubs will go into the season more or less as they are today. But that doesn’t mean they can’t revisit this concept in-season if both teams are in need of a jolt ahead of the trade deadline.