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Kevin Shattenkirk moving on from trade rumors

Defenseman glad to remain with Blues heading into final year of contract

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk understood that the last time he walked out of the locker room at Scottrade Center in May could have been his final time as a member of the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues spend to the NHL salary cap ceiling, and with one year remaining on a four-year contract with an average annual value of $4.25 million, Shattenkirk's name was heard often this offseason as a potential trade candidate, especially at the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo.

But Shattenkirk, who was on the ice when the Blues opened training camp Friday, said that through all the rumors, he hoped to remain in the spot that's been near and dear to his heart.

"When I walked out of the locker room, I had a feeling that I might be [traded], and then a few weeks later, it looked a little uncertain," Shattenkirk said. "In all the dialogue that I had over the summer, there was always a chance that I would be back here. I think that was something that I always had to hang on to and keep in my mind. It was something that when I really thought about it, it was never something that I would have been disappointed to be back where I am right now.

"This is where I'm home. This is where I feel most comfortable is in this locker room with these guys playing in this system. If I had to go somewhere else for another year, it would be an adjustment."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm1: Shattenkirk's one-timer evens game at 1

Shattenkirk, 27, has played the past five-plus seasons with the Blues after being acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche in 2011. He had an NHL career-high 14 goals and finished with 44 points in 72 regular-season games last season.

Shattenkirk drew interest from multiple teams at the draft, according to Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. Shattenkirk couldn't help but be glued to his television in case his name was announced in a trade by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. All the talk was that the Blues could not afford to keep Shattenkirk beyond this season and that they'd try to get value for him instead of allowing him to leave as an unrestricted free agent.

"It was one of those years. In years past watching the draft, you see whenever Gary walks up to the stage to announce a trade, you kind of just wait to hear who it's going to be," Shattenkirk said. "This year was a little more nerve-wracking. It was a time where I think it was a big focus. For me, it was a new experience to kind of have to go through that, but in that respect, nothing happened and it was a day that once it was over, I got to put it behind me."

Shattenkirk, who has 55 goals and 187 assists in 410 regular-season games, isn't the first player to hear his name offered as trade bait only to have nothing happen. Some players take it personally, some don't. Shattenkirk chose to go with the latter because he understands in a cap-related sport, the business side of things can be unavoidable at times.

"I think that was something that when we talked at the end of last year, that is part of this job, is that it is a business," Shattenkirk said. "I think I learned that very early on in my career when I got traded here. It's the situation that the salary cap brings for the League. It's what keeps parity in this League. It's what forces GM's to have to make tough decisions. That's just the tough part about the NHL, is that you find yourself getting comfortable fitting very well with the team. Sometimes you push yourself out of it and the circumstances don't allow it to continue on."

Shattenkirk knew his spot on the Blues was validated, at least for the upcoming season, when Armstrong called to inform him he would be an alternate captain for the first time in his NHL career.

"It was huge," Shattenkirk said. "It was one of those things where you get the phone call, you see Doug Armstrong on your phone and you're wondering. It was just that kind of summer. For him to announce that and tell me that, it was almost validation from him that I would be back here and really just important that they thought of me that way."

Video: BOS@STL: Shattenkirk's backhands it home late in 3rd

Now that Shattenkirk is part of the leadership group, perhaps St. Louis could sign him to a contract extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season.

"You have to. The situation could change at any moment," Shattenkirk said. "A trade, an injury, something like that can obviously open up a new situation here. As negative as it was this summer about go, go, go, you have to now think there's a possibility of that now changing and that's something I never lose sight of.

"[St. Louis is] a place that's embraced me and I couldn't be happier about that. That's something you can't lose sight of. Not many places are going to be as great than the one you're in. The grass isn't always as greener. It's a cliché, but it kind of fits in this sense. Don't just leave to leave, make sure that it's a good fit for you. St. Louis has been a great fit ever since I stepped foot here."

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