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Re-Visiting A Blues – Avalanche Trade Over Three Years Later

Shattenkirk and Stewart - USATSI_69

A little under three and a half years ago, the St. Louis Blues completed a trade that saw the 1st overall pick from the 2006 NHL Draft, Erik Johnson, shipped to the Colorado Avalanche, just two and a half seasons into his NHL career.

At the time it was viewed as a shock for the Blues to give up the immensely talented, 6’4” defenseman so early in his career, especially with Alex Pietrangelo now in the mix to partner with him for the future.

Instead, the Blues decided that an offensive upgrade was needed, and on February 19, 2011, Johnson was traded to the Avalanche for a combination of picks and young players. It’s time to take a look back on the deal, and assess the outcome.

The Trade:

The Colorado Avalanche acquire Erik Johnson, Jay McClement, and a 2011 or 2012 conditional 1st round pick (2011 #11- Duncan Siemens) from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart, and a 2011 or 2012 conditional 2nd round pick (2011 #32 Ty Rattie).

The Breakdown:

Erik Johnson: Johnson was the biggest chip dealt in this trade, and up until last season, it looked like he was on his way to becoming a bust. Over his first two and a half seasons with the Avalanche, Johnson only managed to total seven goals and 40 points in 126 games, a major step back from the production he was accustomed to during his first two and a half years in the league when he scored 20 goals and 91 points in 203 games with the Blues. Part of the regression was due to injury, with also confidence and a decreased puck possession role playing a part. However, this past season under new head coach Patrick Roy, Johnson appeared to return to his old self, tallying nine goals and 39 points in 80 games. On top of the offensive production, Johnson also led the team in minutes (23:00 per game) and was second, behind Jan Hejda, in blocked shots (130).

Johnson signed a four-year, $15 million contract with the Avalanche that started in the 2012-13 season that will see him stay with the team until he becomes a UFA in 2016.

Jay McClement: Best known for his abilities to win face-offs and kill penalties, McClement was brought in to Colorado to do just that. During the 2011-12 season (his only full season with the team), McClement stabilized the teams PK unit, finishing 12th in the league, killing 83 per cent of penalties (up from 30th in the league killing only 76.1 per cent the previous year).

McClement left via free agency to the Toronto Maple Leafs after the 2011-12 season.

Duncan Siemens: The Blues 2011 1st round pick, which eventually became Siemens, has yet to factor into this trade. With zero games of NHL experience it’s hard to judge what the Avalanche have in him. The 20-year old Siemens spent last season in the AHL, totaling one goal and four points in 46 games.

Siemens has two years left on his entry level contract and will become a RFA in 2017.

Kevin Shattenkirk: Shattenkirk burst into the NHL with the Avalanche in the 2010-11 season, scoring seven goals and 26 points as a rookie in 46 games before his trade to the Blues. As a member of St. Louis, he continued his impressive offensive performance, playing another 26 games while collecting two more goals and 17 more points to bring his totals to nine goals and 43 points in 72 games for the year. The next season, Shattenkirk matched those numbers exactly, this time in 81 games. The lockout shortened season saw him total five goals and 23 points in 48 games, with last year bringing in 10 goals and 45 points in 81 games. The point being made here is that Shattenkirk’s offensive contribution is about as steady as it comes. Bringing in roughly 45 points a year certainly helped the Blues immediately deal with Johnson’s departure.

Shattenkirk signed a four-year, $17 million deal with the Blues that started during the 2013-14 season and continues until he becomes a UFA in 2017.

Chris Stewart: Coming off a season which saw Stewart score 28 goals and 64 points in 77 games the year before the trade, the then 22-year old power forward was viewed as the biggest piece coming back to the Blues in the trade. After collecting 13 goals and 30 points in 36 games during the 2010-11 season before coming to the Blues, Stewart added 15 more goals and 23 more points in 26 games to bring his totals to 28 goals and 53 points in 62 games for the year. During those two seasons Stewart established himself as one of the better young, scoring power forwards in the NHL, however, that wasn’t the story over the next three seasons. During the next three years with the team, Stewart managed to only collect 48 goals and 92 points in 185 games.

Stewart was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, along with Jaroslav Halak, Williams Carrier, a 2015 1st round pick and a 2016 3rd round pick in exchange for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott. Miller left in free agency for the Vancouver Canucks this offseason, leaving only Steve Ott as the remaining player acquired for Stewart and the other pieces.

Ty Rattie: As a 20-year old, Rattie spent most of his first professional season in the AHL last year (totaling 31 goals and 48 points in 72 games) and played in two NHL games. Despite his lack of NHL experience, all signs point to a promising scoring career for Rattie. He dominated the WHL for his final two years with the Portland Winterhawks, scoring 105 goals and 231 points in 131 games during the regular season and 39 goals and 69 points in 42 playoff games. If it wasn’t for a log-jam at forward, Rattie would be all but guaranteed a spot on the Blues next season. However, with the talent they already have up front and the ability to send Rattie down, don’t be surprised to see him back in the AHL.

Rattie has two years remaining on his entry level deal before becoming a RFA in 2016.

The Winner:

St. Louis, by a small margin.

Three years later, the trade has proved to be a useful one for both sides. Colorado got their all-around number one defenseman that they had been searching for in Johnson (after some less than impressive seasons), and the Blues got an excellent puck mover in Shattenkirk, along with a top notch offensive prospect in Rattie. If Siemens progresses into a legitimate NHL defenseman, this trade may be a little more even, but as it stands St. Louis is the winner in my eyes (even after losing Stewart for almost nothing). On top of the obvious fact that the Blues won because they got both Rattie and Shattenkirk, another major reason I list them as the winners is because it allowed Pietrangelo to blossom into one of the best defenseman in the NHL once Johnson was gone. Who knows, had he stayed it may have stunted Pietrangelo’s development.

Both teams are in a good position heading forward and this trade certainly helped that.

Written by Greg Stamper, who can be found on twitter @g_stamp91

29 Comments

  1. Henrybemis

    August 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Nice article. Id like to see more of these types.

    Btw it’s margin not margarine. Ha! Good for a laugh

    • Greg Stamper

      August 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Haha oh man do I feel silly. When I wrote this yesterday I was just coming back from a four day camp-out with friends. My head was REALLY not all there. Thanks for pointing that out though and I’m glad you like it!

  2. BluesWON

    August 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    This has been one of the worst trade in history of the NHL, I’m surprised Mike Milbury wasn’t the Avs GM. Shattenkirk was already better than Johnson, yet Colorado gave up a 30 goal scorer, a Very good top 2/3 Dmen and Ty Rattie who will more than likely become a dangerous NHL scorer in the next 2-3 years

  3. Mark Easson

    August 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    I had made the edit for that but apparently I didn’t click re-publish button.

    Plan is to have more of these type of posts in the future.

  4. Brad

    August 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Great breakdown of the trade. I remember when I heard about this trade, I was shocked. What was Colorado thinking? I still believe Colorado would be a better team had they not made the trade, but it could of ended up a lot worse. Stewart was looking like the next Keith Tkachuk at the time of this trade. While Shattenkirk looked to have more promise than Johnson. The only upside I see from this trade is if the Avalanche would of kept both Stewart and Shattenkirk in their lineup in 2011, their record would of been a lot better, then they wouldn’t of been able to draft Landeskog who is looking like the best player from that entire draft.

  5. Aaron

    August 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Nice article! Would also enjoy more of these in the mix.

    Thanks!

  6. Erik

    August 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    At the time of the trade it looked like a win for St.Louis, however the opposite is true. While Shattenkirk brings offence, he’s awful in his own zone and is extremely sheltered while Johnson is an all around Dman that can be put in all situations while putting up 35-40 points. As it stands now Rattie is the better prospect than Siemens, but Johnson is a much greater player then Shattenkirk.

  7. Niels Lachmann

    August 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Great piece – how about the Phaneuf trade next? just kidding. And btw, the site is even more of a pleasure to check since you started contributing:-)

    • Greg Stamper

      August 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Here is the review for that, Calgary lost, even though people hate Dion lol.

      And thank you! That means a lot. It’s much easier to do when you know people are appreciating your work!

  8. Zach

    August 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Awesome! I agree, more of these articles! Perhaps one on the Rick Nash trade?

  9. Matt

    August 6, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Interesting breakdown of a trade and looking back at it a few years later. The value seemed good when you don’t include what the draft picks turned into, but once the names for the second and first rounders were factored in it becomes more in favour of the blues. Would this then suggest that the blues scouting were the winners here, how different would the trade looked had the Avs drafted a more impact full player? A lot of ifs but those were just my initial thoughts after reading, really like these kind o article hope you have more in the future!

  10. Donavin

    August 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Love the post, hope they keep coming. One thing about this trade was that Colorado was dealing from a position of strength. They had a few offensive Dmen in the system, so one was expendable. And while it’s still early Tyson Barrie looks to be the real deal and, while to a smaller extent, you could make the argument like EJ could have blocked Petro, Shattenkirk could have stunted Barrie. I still think both teams got what they needed though.

    Keep it up

  11. puddy

    August 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    The big winner of this trade…the Buffalo Sabres! Buffalo got Chris Stewart AND a first round pick AND a 3rd round pick AND a good prospect in Carrier AND they also flipped Halak for a solid goalie with upside in Neuvirth. And Buffalo could have also gotten another first rounder from the Blues if Ryan Miller would have stayed in St. Louis. Not a bad return for a free agent goalie and a winger that takes a lot of needless penalties.

  12. Macht

    August 6, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I don`t think it`s really fair to judge any aspect of a trade based on how the draft picks turned out (not saying that was really the case here, but it was still considered). That comes down to the team`s drafting ability, not anything to do with value one side received from the other. Draft picks should be considered as having a general value based on how high it is; not what the draft pick actually turned into.

    That said, I think St. Louis won the trade then, and I think they still won it now, even though Stewart didn`t develop into the force it looked he would.

  13. Chris

    August 7, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Totally agree Macht.

    If Dallas had traded their 2009 1st round 8th overall pick for Colorado’s 2nd round 33rd overall pick straight up, Dallas would have looked like donkeys….until it turned out that the 8th pick was Scott Glennie and the 33rd pick was Ryan O’Reilly.

    it’s like the Leafs Kessel deal. People act like the Leafs traded Seguin and Hamilton…they didn’t. They traded draft picks. five more wins in either year and those players could very easily have been Nino Neidereiter and Duncan Seimans which would have made the trade laughably lopsided in favour of the Leafs. In the end both teams got high end value but ironically it was the Bruins who were the only team to actually trade Tyler Seguin.

    It’s one thing to gamble with a draft pick and quite another to knowingly trade a high end piece away. The Tuukka Rask deal…now that’s a donkey move.

  14. Jdub

    August 7, 2014 at 4:01 am

    @BluesWon, I think that’s a tad hyperbolic. As an Avs fan I was stunned by this trade and thought it would set their rebuilding back by several years. But now, I’m more inclined to think both sides benefited equally. Erik Johnson is a legitimate number 1 defenseman and if Duncan Siemens pans out, he will take over for Jan Hejda as a physical shutdown defenseman. Another bonus that’s not mentioned in the article is that the Avs were able to get rid of Stewart, who’s an absolute cancer in the dressing room. While I think the Blues got more in return, it’s not even close to lopsided. It’s not even the worst trade made by the Avs, who traded Chris Drury in his prime.

  15. Shane

    August 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Nice article. I like the responses too. How about the Seguin trade next?

  16. Greg Stamper

    August 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    @Macht and @Chris You both raise a very good point and I totally agree with what you guys are saying, but, in this world that is the way they are judged.

    I was going to use the Kessel trade as an example as well, people always rip it apart for who the picks turned out to be, and while that isn’t really fair, it’s reality.

    I 100% agree with your point of view guys, and hey, personally I’d make that Kessel trade all over again (for the picks not for the players).

    Too bad that isn’t how trades are actually valued.

  17. IMOyourOPINIONstank

    August 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Stewart a cancer in the dressing room? Hmmmm never seemed to be a problem in STL’s

  18. Greg Stamper

    August 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    @Shane It is too soon for a review of the Seguin trade, still got to wait a couple years to see how the younger players pan out. Although, it is one I’d really like to do eventually (I think Boston did pretty darn good for what its worth).

  19. Mark Easson

    August 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    We’ll definitely be doing more of these types of posts in the future.

    As part of the analysis that involves trades, we may look to break it down a bit when it comes to draft picks. First look at the deal with just the pick rounds (ie, Johnson, McClement and a 1st for Stewart, Shattenkirk and a 2nd), then after look at what the picks may have turned out to be in the end (ie. Seimens and Rattie).

  20. Jdub

    August 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @IMOyourOpinionstank. I can’t really speak to his reputation in St. Louis, but the Avs beat writer’s have bashed him repeatedly for his behavior, attitude and that he was wasn’t really a team guy. It could be conjecture, but I think the fact that a guy of his combination of talent, size and toughness has been traded twice says something about him.

  21. IMOyourOPINIONstank

    August 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    @Jdub I’d say the reason for him getting moved around so much is the fact that he has so much potential but unused potential at that. He has a lot of tanlet going to waste.

  22. Jdub

    August 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Fair enough. I’m just going on what the Denver media has written. I think the Avs gave up on him when he broke his hand in fight that he didn’t start. And I think that’s how he got the bad teammate rap.

  23. Jdub

    August 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Stupid phone. I meant a fight he didn’t need to start.

  24. Chris

    August 7, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I still find it funny that people rip the Kessel deal. Was it a bad estimation of where the Leafs would finish? Yes. Was it a bad trade? No. Both teams got a lot out of it. Phil Kessel is a perennial top 10 scorer and arguably one of the top 3 right wingers in the NHL. At the time he was 21 years old and had just put up 36 goals. What would the price be for a similar player now like Ryan Johanson who got 33 goals as a 22 year old last year?

    Tyler Seguin is one of the best young centres in the game (now that he actually plays centre) and Dougie Hamilton is one of the better young d men in the game as well. Jared Knight is a middle of the road AHL player who wouldn’t even be in the Leafs top prospect group and probably won’t make the NHL.

    A bad trade is when you trade something of value and do not get good value in return. In the Kessel deal both teams got good value.

    Examples of bad trades? here are 5

    1. Rask for Raycroft. Raycroft was a bust and Rask won a cup and a Vezina and is currently one of the best goalies in the NHL.

    2. Gomez and Tom Pyatt for McDonagh, Chris Higgins, Doug Janik and Pavel Valentenko. Obviously the key pieces in this deal were Gomez and McDonagh. Gomez was a complete bust and Ryan McDonagh is currently one of the best defencemen in the NHL.

    3. a 1st, 2nd and 4th for Vesa Toskala (those picks turned into Logan Couture) and as it was at the draft there was no question as to where those picks were. At that point Toskala was simply a backup and had never proven himself as a starter and the Leafs held the 13th overall pick. Even if the Sharks didn’t trade up they would have got Eller at 13.

    4. Islanders trade a 1st, 2nd and Matt Moulson for Thomas Vanek who was flipped for a former 2nd round pick who is an average prospect at best.

    5. Flyers trade Eric Meloche and Patrick Sharp to Chicago for Matt Ellison and a 2006 third-round pick (Ryan White).

  25. Steve Francis

    August 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I’m still tickled Blues ending up with Shatty who is better then EJ,and Rattie has top 6 scoring ability. EJ isn’t same since shredding his knee in 2008. Blues should have realized there is a reason why you don’t take a defenseman or goalie with the 1st overall pick no matter how talented they are, both take longer to develop, always grab a forward and that forward was Toews.

  26. Jimmy

    August 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Even though it has already been stated a bunch of times, still wanted to take the time to give you props on the article. For all the analysis and proclamations given to trades at the time they’re made, I rarely come across articles like this that revisit things years later. And it’s easy to forget the more minor pieces involved when it didn’t involve your team.

    You kept a nice separation between objectively presenting the facts and your opinion offered at the end, which is also appreciated.

    Glad to know there will be more of these, I look forward to reading them.

    Cheers

  27. medkit

    August 15, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Shattenkirk is a smidge better than EJ. That’s pretty much what it comes down to at this point since the Blues misused/misdealt Stewart..