While it has been speculated that St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would only be open to playing with an American team, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports (video link) that a pair of Canadian squads are on a list of 12 that he would be interested in playing for beyond this season. Those two teams are the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
Although the Blues are playing themselves back into the postseason hunt, many expect them to deal the pending UFA to ensure they get something in return instead of losing him for nothing in free agency. While he doesn’t have any no-trade protection and could be dealt anywhere (including the Oilers who had permission to speak to him last summer but couldn’t reach an agreement on an extension), it’s more likely that St. Louis will look to move him to a team that is on that list of 12, hoping the acquiring team may pay a bit more with the thought they’d have a shot at signing him long-term.
Other notes from the West:
- With the performance of goalie Jhonas Enroth with AHL San Diego, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register wonders if his play could make Anaheim netminder Jonathan Bernier expendable. Enroth has a stellar 1.20 GAA and a .954 SV% since being acquired from Toronto and carries a cap hit of just $750K. Meanwhile, Bernier carries a $4.15MM cap hit (though they’re only responsible for $2.15MM as the Leafs paid his $2MM signing bonus back in July) and the Ducks find themselves using LTIR for Simon Despres to remain in cap compliance. If Anaheim needs to free up some cap space to make a move, moving Bernier and calling up Enroth is certainly an option for them.
- A large reason for Colorado’s current struggles is due to their continued struggles to draft quality defensemen, notes Terry Frei of the Denver Post. Over the past decade, the Avs have drafted several blueliners in the top two rounds but have really only hit on one. (That player happens to be Shattenkirk, who they dealt to the Blues back in 2011.) Now, they’re faced with the prospect of having to deal a top forward such as Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog to fill an organizational void that hasn’t really been addressed under multiple management groups.
- Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek has yet to decide if this is his final season, writes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. The 34 year old is in the final year of a two year contract that carries a cap hit and salary of $3.2MM. However, he was waived early in the year and cleared, in part due to his expensive contract. He’s suited up in 28 games at the minor league level this season and acknowledged he may be in tough to get a guaranteed NHL deal next year. There isn’t a great chance he’ll get moved at the deadline either unless the team is willing to retain a big chunk of his deal (they can hold back up to 50%) or take a similarly bad deal back in return.