The Blues' best defenseman this year is Kevin Shattenkirk, hands down, but what makes him most valuable to the team is his power play potential. The power play, which is basically keeping the Blues afloat (relatively speaking) was anemic when he was injured at the start of the season. As Buffa points out, with him the Blues are in the NHL's top five as far as power plays go.
I realize that you have to give to get, especially in the land of NHL trades. The Blues aren't going to land a huge, earth shattering offensive piece by giving up Steve Ott, Ty Rattie, and a fifth rounder. But right now, with the Blues rumored to be chatting with the Bolts about Jonathan Drouin or whoever, we're getting some more Shatty trade rumors popping up. Factor in that he's a UFA next season, and you really have some discussion about if he's a deal at the deadline piece or if he continues the year in STL (Custance's piece is behind a paywall, so here's a recap from The Score).
Yes, the Blues are in a cap quandary, especially with Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester's contracts. Considering both the cap and the rumors around Drouin, I guess it makes sense for Shattenkirk, being a free agent soon, to be a focal point of trade conversation.
But would the Blues trade him instead of another over-salaried player? Could the Blues trade Bouwmeester? Demand wise, Shatty is obviously going to draw more interest. Would a team settle for Bouwmeester, though? Possibly.
Which player would you rather see dealt/replaced? Bouwmeester or Shattenkirk?