Earlier this week The St. Louis Blues have parted ways with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, trading him to the Washington Capitals for draft picks and Zachary Sanford.
Shattenkirk, 28, played 425 games (59 goals, 199 assists) with the Blues after he was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche along with Chris Stewart in exchange for Erik Johnson in the middle of the 2011-2012 season. Johnson was the Blues first overall selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Shattenkirk was drafted the next year; Colorado took him 14th overall.
Trading Kevin Shattenkirk Sets Tone for Future for St. Louis Blues
It was a move that turned out to be one of the most favorable decisions of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong‘s tenure in St. Louis as Shattenkirk blossomed into a top offensive defenseman and power play specialist for the club. He was beloved by the Blues faithful and constantly desired a more substantial role on the roster as he matured.
The New Rochelle, NY native spent most of his time in St. Louis on the second defensive pairing and the first man-advantage unit. Stewart led the team in points during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign before being dealt the following season in the Ryan Miller trade (that turned out great, right?).
Time in St. Louis
Shattenkirk, on the other hand, continued to be a cornerstone of a Blues franchise that effortlessly hoped to shed the skin of a playoff choke-artist. They took a monumental step last year after being ousted in the first round for the last three seasons, advancing to the Western Conference Final.
The Blues responded last off-season after being eliminated by the Minnesota Wild by shaking up the longtime player core. Longtime defenseman Barret Jackman chose to pursue free agency (Nashville) while T.J. Oshie was dished off to the Washington Capitals. This off-season further changes were made, with captain David Backes and playoff hero Troy Brouwer both leaving as UFAs.
Things haven’t gone as well this year, and the Blues are fighting for their playoff lives, in a battle with the Los Angeles Kings, and Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Though one of the Kings/Flames is likely to take 3rd place in the Pacific Division.
Where does St. Louis go from here?
The emergence of Colton Parayko on the back-end eased Armstrong and company to let go of Shattenkirk without having to reinvent their structure defensively. Standing at 6’6″, the then 23-year-old made the Blues roster out of training camp last season and has kept his foot on the accelerator since.
Last year, Parayko was exposed to a heavier workload when Alex Pietrangelo went down with an injury mid-season and flourished. His impeccable skating ability paired with his devastatingly powerful slap shot point to a possible superstar in the making. With Shattenkirk off the roster, Parayko will most likely see his role increase once again, and his continued development will be key for the Blues.