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Colorado-St. Louis Late Night Swap

by Dewayne Hankins / Los Angeles Kings
Late into the night on February 18 -- still 10 days away from the NHL imposed trade deadline -- the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche made, arguably, the biggest swap of the season thus far. It looks like this:

Colorado Gets:
D Erik Johnson
F Jay McClement
2011 1st Round Pick
St. Louis Gets:
D Kevin Shattenkirk
F Chris Stewart
2011 2nd Round Pick

The picks are conditional and will be used in the 2011 Entry Draft unless the Blues have a top-10 selection, in which case St. Louis can opt to transfer its 2012 first-rounder instead. If that happens, the Avs will send their second-round pick to St. Louis in 2012 instead of 2011.

I simply am not the type to pontificate how this might affect either team, but I will say that it's just far too early in the careers of these players (with the exception of McClement) to know how this will end up for the parties involved. Johnson is still young by blue line standards and despite a breakout season for Stewart last season, he hasn't hit that extra gear quite yet this season.

More interesting is that the Blues traded their captain (Eric Brewer) and a former No. 1 overall pick (Johnson) -- two players that log huge minutes on St. Louis' blue line -- in less than 24 hours. Who takes those minutes over?

As for Colorado it seems pretty clear that they are giving up on the season after making this trade tonight and trading Craig Anderson the other day, a netminder who's having a tough year after a breakout season last year. In giving up Shattenkirk and Stewart, they are still betting that Johnson will develop into the next Chris Pronger as he was projected to do so when the Blues made him the first overall pick in 2006.
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