The chances of the St. Louis Blues moving Kevin Shattenkirk before the March 1 trade deadline appear to be fairly high, and could increase if the star defenseman is willing to sign a contract extension with his potentially-new team.
Shattenkirk, who turned 28 on Jan. 29, is in the final-year of a four-year, $17 million deal and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The Blues and Shattenkirk's camp have been unable to come to terms on a contract extension, resulting in increased speculation that a trade is on the horizon.
Several teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning, have expressed interest in Shattenkirk, and there is now the belief if he were to agree to an extension with the team that acquires him, it would help facilitate a move, and potentially heighten a return for the Blues.
"I've kind of been in the position where I've known that something could happen all year, so it really doesn't change my mentality too much," Shattenkirk told reporters earlier today, adding that his focus is on the Blues and that will only change if he's traded.
Shattenkirk indicated that hearing his name pop up in trade talks last summer around the NHL Draft, and at the start of this season, has helped him handle the speculation.
"At this point, we just have to wait and see what happens," he said.
In 50 games with the Blues so far this season, Shattenkirk has registered 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points.