The Toronto Maple Leafs might not acquire him at the trade deadline, but Kevin Shattenkirk would reportedly be open to playing with the Leafs and potentially signing a long-term deal.
With the NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching, you can bank on the trade rumours heating up around St. Louis Blues defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. Although it sounds like nothing is imminent, teams will be calling about the 28-year-old soon to be unrestricted free agent.
The issue for teams trying to acquire Shattenkirk, however, is that unless they’re located on the East Coast, he will likely only be a rental player for that team. In other words, it’s extremely likely that the New York native will hit the open market on July 1.
It remains unknown as to which East Coast teams he would prefer to play for, but Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos shared some insight on the situation Saturday night when he said he believes there are 12 teams Shattenkirk would sign with long-term.
Of those 12 teams, Kypreos believes two of them are Canadian teams, which are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Here’s what Kypreos had to say:
"“Everybody believes he’s going to be the top UFA available. The foregone conclusion is that he will get traded. Last year Doug Armstrong made the decision to not trade David Backes or Troy Brouwer and go for it. The suspicion is that he will not go down that path.Now, short-term, he could trade him anywhere, including any Canadian city. But there’s a belief out there that he would not be traded to a Canadian team because there was really no chance on a long-term deal moving forward. I don’t hear that’s the case. I think on his wish list of long-term deals, he’s got about 12 teams. I’m told two of them are Canadian teams. I think it’s safe to say that he doesn’t envision himself being an Edmonton Oiler or a Calgary Flame, but the feeling is Toronto and Montreal.”– Nick Kypreos, Sportsnet’s Saturday Headlines, February 11th, 2017"
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By now you’ve likely read through numerous reasons as to why Shattenkirk would be a great fit with the Maple Leafs, so I won’t bore you by reiterating them, but I think we can agree that Toronto is unlikely to trade for him at the deadline.
Unless he comes at an affordable cost, which is highly unlikely, the Leafs are better off waiting to pursue him on July 1 when they can make a long-term offer and, most importantly, keep their current assets.
St. Louis is in a tough spot with Shattenkirk. The Blues have won four consecutive games and seem to be turning things around. Do the Blues stay the course and hope for another deep playoff run? Or do they get something for Shattenkirk and hope their roster is deep enough for them to endure his departure?
There are a lot of question marks surrounding Shattenkirk’s future, but it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs are at least be an option he will consider this summer.