By now, I'm sure that you've heard why 29 teams NEED Kevin Shattenkirk, or at least why'd he'd fit in (enter respective city here) the best. The Bruins need a dynamic, puck moving, top two defenseman. and Kevin Shattenkirk is the perfect option.
The Bruins have a lackluster group of defense. Shocker, I know. The blueline is in need of a fix, which lacks a true compliment to Zdeno Chara. There is tremendous depth, with about eight different guys who can play any given night at a relatively high level. However, the Bruins yearn for a dependable defenseman who can play top two or top four minutes. Enter, Kevin Shattenkirk.
A member of the St. Louis Blues for his entire career, Shattenkirk's natural passing ability is nearly impossible to miss. He paints perfect passes, impeccably setting up teammates to score. He has the ability to catch defenses off guard with his unmistakable quickness and skating ability. Don't even get me started on a power play with him and Torey Krug together. I'm sorry, excuse the saliva that I just slathered all over my keyboard...
In the chart above, it is obvious that Shattenkirk is clearly playing a level far beyond that of his allotted playing time. Receiving second pairing time, Shattenkirk posts (borderline) first line individual production and has elite-level impact on possession.
Alright, alright. We get it, Cam. Kevin Shattenkirk is pretty darn good. So what's the price to acquire him?
Great question. The Blues are desperate for any form of offense, ranking 22 in the league in terms of goals for per game. The Bruins, on the other hand, sit comfortably in third place. However, mired in cap hell (thanks, Chiarelli), the Bruins are still, and will be for the foreseeable future, strapped to the cap. Therefore, management will likely struggle to re-sign Loui Eriksson. Especially considering the eye opening numbers that the Swedish forward has amassed this season (15 goals, 35 points), Eriksson will command a pretty penny in free agency. The Bruins and Blues play a similar style of hockey, one based upon physicality, grit, and outworking the opposing team. Eriksson will have little trouble transitioning to the Blues' philosophies and pace of play. The Bruins will more than likely be willing to part with Eriksson, especially if they are able to land the outstanding defenseman.
Assuming the Blues would wish for more than a rental, it is imperative that the Bruins add some flavor to the pot to further intrigue St. Louis. Alexander Khoklachev, an extremely talented prospect, has not tied his game together enough to earn a permanent job in Boston. Although his offensive game is up to the task, he lacks the necessary frame and defensive prowess to adequately compete with NHL players. Khoklachev only has nine career games of NHL experience, with zero points and a -4 rating. However, his game, especially offensively, is too advanced for the AHL. He tips toes past defenders like a ballerina and beats goaltenders with ease. In 26 games this season, Khoklachev has notched 31 points. In his career with the Providence Bruins, he has 131 points in 152 games. Not too bad, eh? It's safe to say that the 22 year old Russian has the offensive capabilities to compete in the NHL, and his playmaking abilities afford him a good deal of upside. If you're looking for a more in depth, check out Khoklachev's 25 under 25 profile.
The Bruins could throw in a late round pick to sweeten the pot. Late round picks don't have an overly high rate of success, but some great players have been picked after the fifth round. Pavel Datsyuk, Joe Pavelski, and God himself (aka Tom Brady) have all heard their named called in the later part of the event.
All included, the Bruins would have an influx of defensemen and a dearth of forwards. The Bruins would be borderline obligated to trade for a top six forward to replace Ericsson's offensive production. Magnus Paajarvi, a struggling young forward, has been shopped around by St. Louis management, and the Bruins would be wise to include him in the deal. He has good size and is a powerful skater. In return for his services, Zach Trotman or Joe Morrow could find themselves in with a note on their sweater.
Due to the loss of Eriksson, the Bruins could be taking a step backwards. Shattenkirk certainly makes every player that he's on ice with better, but the role that Don Sweeney would need to fill in the top six would be bordering on enormous. This could force the Bruins to shift their focus to next season because they may lack the goalscoring necessary to compete for a spot in the playoffs.
Would you trade for Kevin Shattenkirk?