While I was watching the Blues storm the Devils from the far reaches of the 300 sections of the Scottrade, I had an interesting twitter conversation. For those of you who enjoy hockey, if you don't have a twitter you should think about getting one. I fancy myself to be a well educated hockey fan who has mature and well thought out opinions. That being said, Blues twitter is full of people who I can bounce ideas off of and make my rethink or solidify my own opinions. Last night it was with GT's own King Donut.
There have been rumblings and rumors abound that the Blues are looking to move offensive minded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Even Shatty seemed confused that he wasn't dealt during the NHL draft. Shattenkirk is a key to our powerplay, and plays well from the point. He is one of the leagues best offensive defenseman. That being said, we all seem to overlook how often he forgets to play defense or gives the puck away when passing it through the slot from behind his own net. Shattenkirk is looking to get paid once he becomes a free agent after this season. With the current salary cap, and the looming possibility of a flat cap, the chances of him returning seems very slim. It's easy as a fan to say keep him and let him play out and hope he comes back. Shatty is one of the universally loved players on this team. Things aren't as easy for GM Doug Armstrong. He has to look towards the future and keep his team competing for the cup for years to come.
Prior to this season I understood it might be a move that had to be made, but I didn't like the look of our team without him. We had just lost Backes, Brouwer, and Elliott. The further we move into this season, the more comfortable I am becoming with it. Two players in particular have made it much easier to stomach. Robert Bortuzzo and Brad Hunt. Bortuzzo played well in his time this season when Edmundson was injured. Now with big Bob out injured, the Blues have turned to a player I didn't even know.
Brad Hunt has 4 points in 4 games. That is a very small sample size, as King Donut was quick to point out. He is a career AHLer, who has never stuck with a big league club. That being said, his previous stint was with the Oilers, who have been notoriously bad at developing talent. When he left the AHL on his call up, he was leading the entire league, not just defensemen, in points. In only 4 games, he has more goals that Parayko, Bortuzzo, Gunnarsson, and Edmundson combined. Those four defenders have played in a combined 83 games compared to Hunt's 4. The total shock of Parayko's scoring aside, Hunt still has more total points than Edmundson, Bortuzzo, and Gunnarsson. He even has started getting time on the powerplay, where he notched an assist on last night's Tarasenko PP goal. His only goal with the team also came on the powerplay. From the eye test, his points have been mostly due to his play and not dumb luck. You might recall players like Rattie getting goals that bounced off his ass while he wasn't looking last season.
I am not saying that Hunt is as good as Shattenkirk. Shatty has the second most points on the team, behind only Tarasenko. I also think it's absurd to expect Hunt to maintain a point per game ratio overtime. This entire post might be moot when Hitch begins putting him in the pressbox or back to the Wolves for no apparent reason. I am saying Hunt allows me to take a sigh of relief when thinking about the possibility of losing #22 to a trade. Hunt was a player who I didn't even know was in our farm system. He will also be a free agent after this season, but would likely require less money to re-sign even if he had a stellar season. Right now we are only paying him $600,000 for the season.
How do you feel about his emergence, and how does he make you feel about the possibility of losing Shattenkirk? Answer below.