The St. Louis Blues may be playing like horse manure, but that doesn’t mean crazy town needs to set up shop in St. Louis just yet, so let’s cancel the dumb ideas. The current one floating around reads like this: trading Kevin Shattenkirk for Ben Bishop. What in the ass? Who thinks this stuff up? Crazy folks who are sipping cheap whiskey on a ledge without powdered donuts below to break their fall. Let me try to reason with them.
This helps the Blues in zero departments. Ben Bishop isn’t helping Tampa Bay at all at the moment, but he’ll come here and suddenly turn into Patrick Roy according to some hockey minds. Here’s what I hate hearing; Bishop will come home and suddenly click. As if the Arch had a “make a goalie great again” passage magic. Bishop may have seen Talladega Nights, but he’s been the opposite of the Magic Man this season in net down south.
Bishop is 11-11 on the season in 25 starts with a 2.78 goals against average and .905 save percentage. He missed nearly a month before returning on January 12th, and has put together a few solid performances in his brief time back, but nothing that screams, “I’m back bitches”. He allowed five goals to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday. I interrupt this message to inform you that the Coyotes are 14-26-6 on the season, which is good for seventh in the Pacific division. He’d come here and get lit up like a Christmas tree.
I get it: Bishop has stud in his DNA. In three seasons dating from 2013-2016, Bishop averaged 37 wins, a 2.21 GAA, and .920 save percentage. He accumulated 15 shutouts during that time, so he can handle himself in net. However, what he is doing this season post injury is worrisome. He only has three fully healthy seasons where he played in more than 60 games. He’s 30 years old, and would cost you players. Remember when I said bring back Brian Elliott, and people called me nuts. Trading Shattenkirk for Bishop would be six flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
I’ve made it no secret that I think the Blues should trade Shatty, but let’s be civil. He’s a free agent in this summer, and unless someone spikes the Las Vegas expansion team GM’s gin n’ tonic, the Blues aren’t losing Jori Lehtera or Jay Bouwmeester’s salary anytime soon. General Manager Doug Armstrong has backed himself into a corner, and he doesn’t have the bones to get equal value for or sign #22 to an extension. Shattenkirk is going to depart: whether it’s now or later is the missing detail.
Why trade him for Bishop though? The Blues have a goaltender in Jake Allen with a four year contract that starts next year. They have Pheonix Copley and Ville Husso waiting in the wings. Trading for Bishop would make the Ryan Miller acquisition almost look wise in comparison. Bishop wouldn’t help the Blues defensive woes in the neutral zone or help them be more aggressive in the dirty areas. It wouldn’t help the fact that Vladimir Tarasenko doesn’t have a center to match his talent. It wouldn’t help the Blues stop allowing so many goals.
Bishop isn’t having a much better season than Allen, and the Blues have tried three goalies in net over the past two games and gotten lit up by Washington and Winnipeg. What would Bishop improve? The answer is nothing.
The only thing the two players have in common is the fact that both are in walk years. Bishop, however, makes 5.9 million against the cap, while Shattenkirk makes 4.2 million. The money doesn’t even add up, so the Lightning would have to throw in a player. I doubt that player would be of much use to the Blues.
If the Blues are going to trade Shattenkirk, it should be for a center, because that is where the Blues lack serious depth. They could also collect prospects or acquire a decent draft pick and build another crop of talent Armstrong can mishandle. Acquiring a goaltender who is having a troublesome year as he steps over the 30 year plateau and carrying a steep price tag would be confounding or merely irrational.
It may be potentially damaging to bring back Elliott and put an extra layer of pressure on Allen. Elliott, though, wouldn’t cost you Shattenkirk. It would be point blank dumb to let Shattenkirk walk for an expensive goaltender in his walk year. Armstrong isn’t sipping everclear just yet.
Do me a favor, and put down the X-Box remote for a while. The Blues aren’t making any major roster moves, and if they are, it won’t be for a goaltender. A coach will go before a top player, and even that may be a week or two away.
I stand by the idea that Armstrong must get something for Shattenkirk, because letting a commodity like that walk in a year where the Blues are a fringe playoff team would be terrible mismanagement of assets. Trading him for something the team doesn’t need would be simply mind boggling.
Thanks for reading, and please find me more bourbon.