Dreger targets potential UFA destinations for Shattenkirk

(Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)

Kevin Shattenkirk should have no shortage of suitors as an unrestricted free agent defenseman this summer, and his name came up during a Friday morning discussion with NHL Insider Darren Dreger on Toronto’s TSN 1050.

Dreger was asked if the Leafs might have Shattenkirk on their radar, and if they’d be of the mindset to give him a seven-year, $49 million contract.

“That’s the big question, is the money,” considered Dreger. “You’re bang-on in terms of what it’s likely going to take. 7X7 seems to be the popular figure.

“He’s a New York guy, and the rumor around Kevin Shattenkirk as a pending unrestricted free agent is that he has always preferred to play – not in the U.S., not a slight against the Canadian teams – but on the Eastern seaboard. So Boston makes some sense. Maybe Philadelphia. What are the New York Rangers going to do. The Rangers are definitely in the market for a Top 4 defenseman as well. Lots of teams looking for defense.

“So I’m not suggesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t or shouldn’t be in the running for Shattenkirk, but he’s going to have lots of options.”

Shattenkirk is wrapping up his four-year, $17 million pact this season.

Dreger addressed the Shattenkirk situation during a late-December appearance on NBCSN as well, noting: “Ken Hitchcock has nothing but high praise for Shattenkirk and everything that he brings both offensively and defensively – the leadership.”

The problem, of course, is the salary cap. It’ll be difficult for the Blues to find a way to keep Shattenkirk around and still give him anything close to what he will be able to get on the open market.

In the meantime, though, Dreger sees the Blues keeping the talented defenseman for a playoff run.

“It makes sense that St. Louis holds on to Shattenkirk as an ‘own rental,’” said Dreger. “That’s the term where you hold onto a pending unrestricted free agent player through the trade deadline. Obviously you use him into the playoffs as deep as you can get, and then you have to let him go as an unrestricted free agent.”

Source: TSN 1050, NBCSN

For reference: Covering the Insiders

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