In a recent mailbag feature appearing on CSN New England, Joe Haggerty tackled several Bruins-related questions. Chief among them was a query regarding the possibility of Boston making a move for St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk, who is in the final year of his contract and is expected to be one of next summer’s most coveted free agents, has been rumored to be available at times since the outset of the offseason and Boston, thought to be in the market for a top-four blue liner for just as long, has been linked to the veteran defender previously.
Haggerty reasons that while the Bruins would likely welcome a player of Shattenkirk’s ilk, the fact he has been the Blues best defenseman so far this season and given St. Louis considers themselves Stanley Cup contenders, they would probably not have much interest in dealing him away at this point. Additionally, it’s been suggested the Blues would require a scoring forward in any hypothetical trade of Shattenkirk, and until Frank Vatrano returns from injury, the Bruins don’t have the depth at that position to sacrifice.
Ultimately, while Haggerty expects the Bruins to have interest in Shattenkirk closer to the trade deadline, assuming the Blues do indeed make him available, right now it doesn’t make much sense for Boston.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- One of the reasons Boston could eventually find themselves in the market for a top-four defender is the mediocre play of young blue liner Colin Miller. Haggerty noted in the same mailbag that Miller’s performance so far has been “indifferent,” and while he’s had his moments this season he simply hasn’t played up to his abilities. Miller has just one goal and two points in 15 games this season and carries a minus-6 plus-minus rating.
- Staying in Boston, Bruins winger David Pastrnak has officially been ruled out for tonight’s home game against Winnipeg, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Pastrnak is day-to-day with an upper-body-injury. The Czech winger is tied for fourth in the NHL with 10 goals and has added four assists for a total of 14 points in 14 games.
- The Buffalo Sabres and GM Tim Murray have not been shy about spending owner Terry Pegula’s money the last couple of seasons but still didn’t expect to be a “cap team.” Despite adding Evander Kane via trade a couple years back, taking on his $5.25MM cap hit in the process, and signing unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo this summer to a seven-year, $42MM contract, Murray figured he’d still have plenty of cap space to work with this year. But, as John Vogel of The Buffalo News writes, injuries to several key contributors have forced Buffalo to call up replacements from their farm system and as a result they’ve walked a fine line relative to the salary cap ceiling. The Sabres have four players – Tyler Ennis, Cody McCormick, Jack Eichel and Nicolas Deslauriers – currently on IR. That totals $7.8MM in cap space on the shelf. As Murray noted in Vogel’s piece, Buffalo has 27 players drawing NHL salaries and pushing the team closer to the cap ceiling than they are comfortable being. It remains unclear why Buffalo hasn’t utilized LTIR as that would at least temporarily alleviate the problem. Ennis is out until mid-January after groin surgery and would have been eligible for a stint on LTIR.