Updates on the Canadiens and Blues – September 17, 2016
Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu becomes the subject of trade speculation, plus the latest on Kevin Shattenkirk.
THE SCORE: Craig Hagerman cites a report from Francois Gagnon of RDS in which Montreal Canadiens general manager Michel Bergevin said he’s fielding offers for 23-year-old defenseman Nathan Beaulieu. While Bergevin said he’s not shopping Beaulieau, he adds that it’s his job to listen and analyze any offers from other clubs that could improve the Canadiens. Beaulieu had 19 points last season and one year remaining (at $1 million) on his contract.
TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie was asked about the possibility of Beaulieu being packaged in a deal that could land the Canadiens a No. 2 defenseman. He said he doesn’t know if such blueliners are currently available, noting trades involving a top-pairing rearguard rarely take place before training camp.
McKenzie added he wouldn’t be surprised if Beaulieu got dealt. He also said he had no knowledge of the Canadiens shopping Beaulieu for a scoring forward and then signing unrestricted free agent Kris Russell to replace him.
NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford also commented on the Beaulieu trade rumors, noting the young blueliner is a good skater and puck mover who can man the point on the power play. He speculates the Habs could want a left wing in return for Beaulieu as they’re thin at that position. Halford also suggests promising Habs defenseman Mikhail Sergachev could make the leap to the NHL this season as a potential replacement for Beaulieu.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin also said he wasn’t shopping P.K. Subban earlier this year and we all saw how that turned out. Like McKenzie, I wouldn’t be surprised if Beaulieu gets dealt at some point this season. However, Bergevin must ensure he’s not creating one problem while addressing another.
If Sergachev is NHL ready, then Halford’s suggestion of moving Beaulieu for a left wing makes sense. I doubt the Habs can land a No.2 defenseman solely for Beaulieu. They’ll have to add something else in that deal. Also, the Canadiens have limited cap space (only $855K) so Bergevin can’t afford to take on much salary.
STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Jeremy Rutherford cast doubt on the prospect of the St. Louis Blues trading Kevin Shattenkirk for a forward if Vladimir Sobotka doesn’t return to their lineup. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of Shattenkirk being dealt for a forward if GM Doug Armstrong feels his club lacks sufficient depth up front. Rutherford feels that question will be answered during training camp. He also said he hasn’t heard that Shattenkirk’s fitness was a factor last season.
TSN’S Darren Dreger (via Chris Nichols of Today’s Slapshot) recently said he still feels Shattenkirk is a trade target but doesn’t know if there’s anything brewing that would be considered “a front-burner scenario.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Armstrong gets a good offer for Shattenkirk, the blueliner could be traded this year. However, it remains to be seen when, or if, he gets that offer. The Shattenkirk speculation has died down in recent weeks but it won’t entirely go away. Several clubs, including the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins, would love to land him. Much depends upon the Blues performance, as well as Shattenkirk’s play, over the course of this season.