While defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk remains in St. Louis, there were discussions about moving him to Edmonton in exchange for Taylor Hall in the offseason, reports Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, Shattenkirk was unwilling to sign a contract extension as part of the agreement which nixed the trade. Hall, meanwhile, was later dealt to New Jersey in exchange for blueliner Adam Larsson.
With no trade on the horizon, Shattenkirk will now be asked to fill a leadership role with the Blues after being named one of four alternate captains last month. Head coach Ken Hitchcock isn’t worried about all the rumors being any sort of distraction:
“We talked about, ‘Can he put everything behind him to become a leader? Where things go at the end of the year is out of our reach as a coaching staff. But we need to know how locked in you are … and he said he’s very locked in and wants to have a hell of a year. That’s when we put him in the leadership position.”
As a pending UFA following the season, Shattenkirk acknowledges the questions will be there throughout the season unless a trade or extension gets worked out:
“This is something that I think is going to go on all year, it’s always a story that people are going to run with. But for me, I can only control what I do on the ice and if I’m giving 100 percent out there, whatever happens, happens. I can control it to a certain point, but if something is going to go down, it’s going to go down.”
Shattenkirk is set to earn $4.25MM this season and is expected to receive a sizable raise on his next deal.
Other news out of St. Louis:
- There appears to be no immediate resolution to the Vladimir Sobotka saga with both the Blues and Avangard Omsk claiming they have a valid contract for him for this season. Jeff Gordon, also of the Post-Dispatch, opines that one way or another, the process has dragged on far enough and that an answer needs to be given shortly. GM Doug Armstrong kept enough room under the salary cap to be able to fit in his $2.725MM deal but Gordon notes that the team will likely want to make a move to take his place should Sobotka remain in the KHL.
- David Perron, who started his career in St. Louis, told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Post-Dispatch that he kept in touch with Hitchcock over the last few years and that they’d often meet for a half an hour or longer each time Perron’s teams (Edmonton, Pittsburgh, and Anaheim) came to town. Those talks likely played a role in their decision to bring Perron back on a two year, $7.5MM contract in July. Perron is expected to play a top six role for the Blues after the team lost David Backes to Boston and Troy Brouwer to Calgary in free agency.