A Glance at the Blues/Avalanche Trade
February 22, 2011 Leave a comment
The Blues sent 22-year old defenseman and former #1 overall pick Erik Johnson, defenseman Jay McClement and a first-round draft pick to the Avalanche for winger Chris Stewart, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and a second-round draft pick (ESPN News link).
Johnson was long considered an important piece to the development of a young Blues team and still is considered one of the best young defenseman in the game. He was even apart of the 2010 United States hockey team that won the silver in the Winter Olympics. After being the top pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and completing a strong rookie campaign in which he posted 33 points, Johnson was involved in an off-season golf cart incident that eventually cost him his 2008-09 season. He came back strong the following year, increasing his point total to 39 and posting a +/- rating of +1, but still hadn’t reached his full potential that talent evaluators believed he could.
McClement, another former first-round selection, is a strong blue line presence that can body up against many of the top forwards in the NHL.
In the deal, though the Blues traded away a young defenseman, Shattenkirk comes to the Blues fifth among rookie defenseman in scoring. With Shattenkirk under control and the addition of the draft rights to Brock Beukeboom, son of former NHL enforcer Jeff that the Blues acquired for defenseman and former team captain Eric Brewer, the Blues feel they have plenty left in the stables at the blue line to part with Johnson.
However, the Blues have long been looking to add wingers to piece together with their strong play at center. In the Blues mind, in order to accomplish this feat, they had to trade from their biggest strength, which is the defense. In Chris Stewart, another first round draft pick, the team believes they have found a player that can enhance their play on the wings.
Though he’s been battling injuries this season, Stewart has managed to post 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 37 games. In his first game with the Blues, Stewart added two goals while playing along side the likes of center Andy McDonald on the power play. However, the Blues feel confident in the depth along the wings now that David Perron is fully healthy and their very pleased with the progression of Matt D’Agostini. Along with power house centers David Backes and Alexander Steen, the Blues offense has the developing talent needed to compete at a high level in the NHL.