Ranking The St. Louis Blues - No. 9

 

This is the next in a series of stories ranking the 24 most important players on the 2011-12 St. Louis Blues.

 

In the 2011 Calder Trophy voting for the NHL's rookie of the year, Kevin Shattenkirk finished with in 10th place. He received no first-place votes. He received no second-place votes. He didn't even get a third-place vote. He did get three for fourth and nine for fifth. That's a fucking travesty.

If you look at 2010-11 rookie scoring in the NHL, Shattenkirk was easily the most underrated rookie in the league.

His nine goals and 34 assists gave him 43 points on the season - tied for sixth best among rookies. He was the highest scoring rookie defenseman. His 34 assists were most among all rookies - and he did it in 72 games, 10 less than Jeff Skinner who led rookies in scoring with 63 points. He doesn't turn 23 until January and plays one of the most demanding positions for young players in the NHL.

In the combined 72 games in Colorado and St. Louis, Shattenkirk averaged 19 minutes, 50 seconds of ice time a night. That's impressive and puts him in the top two defensive pairings. He plays a ton on the power play and very little on the penalty kill. That may change; it doesn't have to change for him to be a huge contributor for this franchise.

The Erik Johnson trade to Colorado could go down as one of the most important in franchise history. Chris Stewart is the kind of goal scorer you build a roster around. But somehow the Blues were able to acquire Shattenkirk as well. Maybe the Avalanche thought they really were getting a Selke Award-worthy forward in Jay McClement (that idea really worked, eh?). Or maybe they don't like young, cheap, talented defensemen and all the baggage that comes along. Like one of the best-named Twitter accounts in hockey.

So if you don't follow players on Twitter (ladies, David Backes just joined last week), you may not know that your screen name might be a little creative. His is named Shattdeuces (part of his name, his No. 22 and it kind of sounds like a poop joke). I've tried to work that term into everyday conversation as much as possible.

"I was driving home on the interstate and the cars in front of me stopped suddenly. I almost shattdeuces."

"Honey, can you check the baby's diaper? It's your turn, I cleaned up shattdeuces this morning."

"That toilet is backed up like I just shattdeuces."

"After that big meal I just didn't feel comfortable until I shattdeuces."

It's a game the whole family can play.

Shattenkirk looked  like he got stronger and adapted more to the speed of the game as the season progressed after the trade. He just has that look of a star in the making. He could probably work on his positioning and defensive instinct. And if he can develop his shot a little more, the Blues might have a real threat from the point on the power play for the first time since those guys named Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger were still in uniform. Having that hard and accurate shot at the blueline makes playing with the man advantage so much easier. If he can do it, it's the goalies who will be thinking about shattdeuces. 

Hey, we've reached single digits. Ready to keep going? Keep reading.

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