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Exploring A Trade For Kevin Shattenkirk, Who Would Reportedly 'Love To Play In Detroit'

By: Will Burchfield

It's no secret that the Red Wings are in need of a legitimate No. 1 defenseman and it's equally evident that the Blues could deal Kevin Shattenkirk before the March 1 trade deadline.

That's led to some experts connecting the two parties, most notably TSN's Darren Dreger who told Buffalo's WGR 550 on Friday, "I think Detroit is as likely a possibility for that trade-and-extend as any team out there and I believe that Shattenkirk would love to play in Detroit."

It's believed the Blues are open to trading Shattenkirk, one of the premier offensive defenseman in the game, to avoid potentially losing him for nothing as a free agent this summer. That's exactly what happened in regard to both David Backes and Troy Brouwer last summer, and surely the Blues would like to avoid that scenario again.

"You look back historically, they didn't get anything for Brouwer – he left. They didn't get anything for David Backes – he left," Dreger told TSN 1050 in Toronto. "(GM) Doug Armstrong has some work to do. You just can't allow pending unrestricted free agents to continue to walk without any level of return. And so many out there believe that the best way to maximize the return is by trading him and then Shattenkirk signing an extension."

For the Wings to pursue a trade for Shattenkirk, they'd have to know he'd be willing to stick around long term. Dreger believes the blueliner would give Detroit that consideration.

"There's probably eight or 10 teams that would be on the list if he was asked to sit down and put pen to paper," he told TSN 1050.

Shattenkirk, 27, is the offensive presence the Red Wings lack on the blue line. He ranks tenth among NHL defensemen since the 2011-12 season in both goals (57) and points (231), not to mention second in power play points (122) -- another area of need for the Wings.

GM Ken Holland has been in pursuit of a top-flight, puck-moving defenseman in recent years, but to no avail.

"I know the conversations he's had over the past couple three years trying to land an NHL defenseman, a Top-4 guy," Dreger said, via WGR 550. "He hasn't been able to do that. So he's still in the market there."

Part of the reason he's been foiled, of course, is the asking price for players of Shattenkirk's ilk. It typically starts with a rising star - say, Dylan Larkin or Anthony Mantha - which has been an immediate deal-breaker for an organization already thin on prospects.

For a Shattenkirk trade-and-extend to work, the Wings would also have to find a way to unload payroll. Shattenkirk is due for a raise over his $4.25 million annual salary and would need serious financial incentive to sign a contract extension and forego his shot at unrestricted free agency. Judging by the market for elite defensemen, think somewhere in the range of $6.5-$7 million per year.

Shattenkirk to the Wings is a nice idea in theory, but probably a long shot in reality. It would cost too much to acquire him and too much to keep him around -- and that's assuming Detroit could squeeze him under the salary cap in the first place.

Then again, Dreger thinks the Wings' standard of success at Joe Louis Arena could embolden Holland to make a big move.

"There's something special about The Joe," he said, via WGR 550. "They're closing the doors and they're heading to a luxury facility for next season, but they're looking around that dressing room now. They're looking at this second half of the season, and they're staring at all of the names on the wall, and feeling the greatness that...has has called it home over the years. That's motivating.

"One thing I know for certain – this team is not going down without a fight, nor is Kenny Holland going to let them go down without a fight."

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