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Is Kevin Shattenkirk's High Price Tag Scaring Away Potential Suitors?

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The trade everyone expected at the draft failed to materialize.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Let's start with the basic facts that we know originate from non-garbage sources. Detroit was told that it would take Dylan Larkin to complete any deal for Shattenkirk, and Edmonton came calling with Jordan Eberle or RNH and was refused, and told to return with Taylor Hall. This made Blues fans collectively gasp angrily while tearing their hair out, and the Facebook geniuses at Blue Note Lounge claimed this was all a part of Armstrong's plan to acquire Stamkos and Malkin in a megadeal.

Armstrong refused to move Shattenkirk for Eberle or RNH, and even went a step further by telling the press that he had not yet seen an offer that would make him consider trading Shattenkirk. Other GM's (Edmonton, Detroit, and Boston) took to the press to moan about the steep asking prices of 'top-tier' defenseman.

There's a couple of things in play here, and I think I know what Army might be up to besides frustrating an entire fanbase with oddball asset management. I'm not a huge Armstrong fan, but he might be doing the right thing here.

Take a good look at the teams that have kicked the tires on Shattenkirk. It's something of a short list. Arizona, Detroit, and Edmonton were involved in early trade discussions with the Blues.

Armstrong made a few things clear in his communication with the press. He wanted a deal for Shattenkirk but he knew that was basically impossible to achieve. He knew that any team who wanted to trade him would want a contract extension signed as the deal was being finished before they moved any big assets, and preferably, they wanted Shattenkirk moved out of the conference.

Passing on RNH or Eberle is painful. I won't deny how frustrating that is at this moment, but that deal has probably been on the table for years. It's probably not new. Asking for Hall shows what the premium price is for breaking the conference requirement.

Shattenkirk probably doesn't want to sign long term in Edmonton. This isn't a knock against Edmonton, it's just that the Oilers usually finish in the top five trade locations filed under 'aw hell no' in no-trade clauses. Besides, all signs seem to point to Kevin wanting to go out to the east coast, so the plethora of New York teams appear to be the focus. Armstrong seems to be leaking details of these inflated prices for Shattenkirk in an attempt to drive up the return for his hot commodity. Kinda-sorta makes sense if you bash your head against the nearest concrete wall for twenty minutes.

Another thing to consider is the Blues potential interest in signing key free agent Kyle Okposo. If St.Louis could charm the 60-point winger away from higher paychecks elsewhere, the Blues could take Shattenkirk's return in a different direction. Maybe they could comfortably deal him for a first rounder in 2017. Maybe they could add a slew of prospects and a starting defenseman. Maybe it doesn't matter because Okposo, Statsny, Tarasenko, Fabbri, Steen, and Schwartz would be a solid top six.

That being said, there's a few things that genuinely worry me. Buffalo picking up Kulikov from the Panthers is a problem. Dmitry is not nearly as good, but that move could be evidence of the Sabres removing themselves from the sweepstakes. Boston's GM complaining to the press about prices could signal the same thing, and the Bruins are desperate for blueline help. If Cam Fowler goes to a New York team, then it might be time to really panic - especially when you consider that Armstrong burned bridges with other suitors by asking them to throw in their firstborns.

Maybe Armstrong decided before the draft that Shattenkirk doesn't have to move at all. The Blues are, arguably, closer to a championship window than they've been in nearly two decades, so why settle for a meager return? Set the bar high, expect no one to jump over it, and break out the scotch if Edmonton caves and sends Taylor Hall for a rental. Worst thing that could happen is that you let him walk away for nothing like Backes during a season when he could help you win playoff games.

I think I speak for most Blues fans when I say that the damn Band-Aid needs to be ripped off already. Losing a solid defenseman hurts, and just waiting around, absentmindedly checking Twitter, expecting the shoe to drop at any time is awful.

If there is a silver lining around this dark cloud of questionable Armstrong logic, it's that he seems to be keyed in on the right kind of players. Larkin and Hall would make this lineup scary. Pittsburgh's front office strategy of hoarding as much offensive talent as humanly possible brought them a Cup. It's a plan worth emulating.