Rumor Season....Plus updates on McDonald and Steen
We are entering rumor season in the NHL as the trade deadline is just over a month away.
The St. Louis Blues are sure to find themselves in the middle of it as GM Doug Armstrong looks to strengthen his roster. The Blues came into the season with high hopes and a long playoff run this spring should be expected.
While the rumor mill is fun it’s often more fantasy than reality. As is the case with the Blues and Flyers rumored to be discussing a trade that would’ve sent Danny Briere to St. Louis in exchange for budding star Kevin Shattenkirk.
When you consider Briere is 35 and his best days are behind him and Shattenkirk is 22 and has a chance to be great it makes zero sense for the Blues.
Shattenkirk leads the NHL in scoring among D-men and will be eventually signing an extension with St. Louis. The two sides kicked around numbers before the lockout and will eventually resume talks at some point. That could wait until after the season.
Shattenkirk has arbitration rights and when you see some of these contracts recently handed out he appears to be in position to collect north $3 Million a year from the Blues.
When you compare Shattenkirk to a number of young D-men who’ve recently signed his numbers compare favorably.
Look no further than Cam Fowler, Tyler Myers, Victor Hedman, John Carlson, and Luke Schenn just to name a few. I’ll have more on this at a later date.
The Blues could use some depth defensively and one can assume Armstrong is exploring all possibilities. Toronto, Winnipeg, Phoenix, and San Jose are just a couple of teams who could be looking to unload a D-man or two. A team now has the ability to take back salary which could allow St. Louis to take on a contract they typically would have little interest in.
A Blues source laughed when I ran the Briere for Shattenkirk rumor out of Philly past him.
I asked Ken Hitchcock yesterday if he had ruled Alex Steen (shoulder) out for tonight and he replied no. He appeared fairly optimistic. We should know soon.
Andy McDonald on the other hand is listed as week to week but I don’t expect him back for at least two weeks.
Kris Russell will help fill in on the power play should Steen be unable to go.
Wade Redden is expected to sit his third straight game.
Vladimir Sobotka will see additional PP time in the absence of McDonald and Tarasenko.
Chris Stewart skated yesterday with Chris Porter and Jaden Schwartz at center. Stewart had been playing with Steen and McDonald which means he’ll have to adjust from playing on a rush line to more of a forechecking line.
Is Battle Drill now trending on twitter?
There’s been a lot made about the drill that injured Steen and McDonald. Let’s just get this straight…
This was more of a game than a “battle drill.”
Did it have battling elements in the drill? Yes it did, which isn’t uncommon for any NHL team. The Blues incorporate battling elements into their practice plan almost every day. A better description here would be to call it a competitive drill where the object is to score.
Usually “battle drills” are played along the boards not in the middle of the ice as was the case this time.
It was unfortunate to see two of the Blues top players go down with injury but to flat out blame it on the drill is slightly excessive.
The only issue I had is the timing of it. The players had been on the ice for over an hour and you could argue it was time to get off. I’m not a huge proponent of these drills in the middle of the season but with several days between games the coaching staff felt there would be some benefit.
As one player told me, if you watched our recent games it’s clear our battle level could be turned up a notch.
Again these weren’t gladiators battling it out in the coliseum trying to kill one another.
More to come,
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