Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SPORTS
For a while, we’ve been discussing the potential for the Leafs to make a substantial move in trade or free agency as they soon find themselves in the thick of the “build” portion of their plan to contend. They have the cap space to do something big, and earlier this week I wrote about whether that might manifest as a run at Kevin Shattenkirk. Rebuilds come at you fast.
Shattenkirk will understandably continue to be the focal point of trade deadline and free agency rumours, as he’s perhaps the only one worth giving a damn about in a relatively weak class. And if he’s moved prior to the deadline, there’s a strong possibility a contract extension (likely on the shorter side) is worked out beforehand. Is that something that might interest the Leafs? It’s tough to say. But Shattenkirk seems warm to the idea.
“You look back historically, (the Blues) didn’t get anything for Brouwer, he left. They didn’t get anything for David Backes, he left as a free agent…Many out there believe the best way to maximize the return is by trading him, and then Shattenkirk signing an extension. So where might he want to go to do that? Again, he’s giving up free agency to do that if he’s traded between now and March 1st. And I know that Toronto is on the list. I’m not saying Toronto is location number one on the list, but it’s among the eastern conference cities that he would enjoy playing in.”
Now, I usually take anything Dreger says that’s Leafs-related with a major grain of salt, especially under this new front office and Lou’s cone of silence. But this information likely would be coming from the Blues/Shattenkirk side of things anyway. And he seems quite confident about it.
There’ll be more written here at this site about what Shattenkirk can bring to the Leafs, but the quick rundown is that he’s a top pairing right-handed defenceman that drives play and produces at the level of Nazem Kadri. I can’t see any reason why Lou wouldn’t at least pick up the phone, especially if these rumours have substance.