So, while everyone was sleeping, the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues decided to pull a mega-deal stunner. The Avs shipped off 2 young assets in Chris Stewart & Kevin Shattenkirk, and a 2nd-round pick, to the Blues for former #1 overall pick Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a 1st-rounder in either 2011 or 2012. I must say, my first reaction was WOW. Not so much because the Blues were parting with their best young defensemen, but because the Blues went out and completely revamped their roster in a span of about 12 hours (including the deal that sent Erik Brewer to the Lightning for defensive prospect Brook Beukeboom). And if you look at it from both teams’ perspectives, you understand why they did this: St. Louis is horrific at scoring goals (2nd to last in the Western Conference) and the Avalanche don’t know how to play a lick of defense (last in the NHL in goals against average).
After analyzing the trade a bit more, I like what St. Louis did here just a bit better than Colorado. Erik Johnson, though still just 22 and already a good player, is far from a great player, and perhaps, will never get there. He’s not yet turned into that Chris Pronger-type player they had envisioned when they took him #1 overall in the 2006 draft. With Stewart and Shattenkirk, you have a guy in Stewart who projects to score upwards of 70 points a season, and a rookie in Shattenkirk who is 2nd in the league right now in points for rookie defensemen, and is on pace to finish with 46 points at the end of the season, leading me to believe he’s only going to get better with time. I just feel like the Avs should’ve done better with this deal; they get Johnson, yes, but McClement is a third-liner for them probably and not much more. They must hope to do very well with that first-rounder that the Blues surrendered. The Note now has 2 more young, rising players to help continue to build their foundation with, including the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, T.J. Oshie, and Vladimir Taransenko. In the early stages after this mega-deal, it looks like St. Louis came away smelling like a rose.