Blues GM says Shattenkirk trade to Capitals didn’t have to happen

St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong tells HC at Noon if they were fighting for the top 2 or 3 spots in the league, they wouldn't have made the Kevin Shattenkirk trade, but needed to make the best of their situation.

No player received more attention prior to the NHL trade deadline than Kevin Shattenkirk. It seemed like it wasn’t a matter of if the pending unrestricted free agent would be moved but when it would happen.

Doug Armstrong wound up sending the blueliner to the Washington Capitals but the St. Louis Blues general manager told Hockey Central at Noon it was a move that didn’t necessarily need to happen.

“We know Kevin Shattenkirk’s a very good player and if we were fighting with the top two or three teams in the league and were a favourite to win the Cup I don’t think you make that trade,” Armstrong said Thursday. “Quite honestly, one of the things is when a player has informed us he wasn’t coming back—it wasn’t an economic situation, it was just a desire to have a different role on a team—it made it a little bit easier too to make that trade. … With that information you make the best trade you can when it’s there and then that’s what we did.”

 
Doug Armstrong sees his Blues playing a more complete team game under Yeo
March 23 2017

The Blues were 31-25-5, four points behind the Predators for third in the Central, when they made the move. They lost their first two games without Shattenkirk but have gone 8-1-0 since and have leapfrogged Nashville in the standings.

Armstrong attributes much of his team’s recent success to how the players have adjusted under new head coach Mike Yeo after Ken Hitchcock was fired at the beginning of February.

He also credits Alex Pietrangelo on his improved play and growing leadership role. In the 11 games since Shattenkirk was dealt, Pietrangelo has eight points, a plus-7 rating, and just two penalty minutes while averaging 26:51 of ice time.

“His game since the coaching change, and really since the trade of Shattenkirk, he’s taken a bigger role on our power play and it really feels to me he has evolved into the guy that everyone’s looking for to lead our group,” Armstrong said.

The Blues host the Vancouver Canucks Thursday on Sportsnet Pacific beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.