Avs make surprise late nighter with Blues: My take
Former first round pick Eric Johnson is headed to Denver
In a surprising late night trade that was quite shocking to wake up to the Avs have traded former first round picks Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk plus a conditional second round pick to St. Louis for former first pick overall Eric Johnson, and Jay McClement plus a conditional first round pick.
The two conditional picks are interesting, if St. Louis finishes in the bottom 10 this year they will have the option to keep their pick this year, however they will give up a first next year risking a worse year and a better pick going Colorado's way. Depending on what St. Louis does with the pick, the Avs second will either be this year if the first is this year, or next year if St. Louis decides to keep it.
My thoughts on both players the Avs give up was a bit shocking, but then I thought about it. Chris Stewart hasn't been playing up to standards and seems to have gotten back into the mentality that made most people think he was a complete bust. He is a high risk for the Avs to lose, but right now was just not cutting it. Plus if everyone thinks about it, once the Avs get healthy, they have both Peter Mueller and Thomas Fleischmann to fill in top forward lines. There would have not been room for at least one winger. For a while people thought Stewart was a bust, even playing a few seasons in the AHL before finally realizing he had to play hard if he wanted to make it. Then he suffered the bad wrist injury and it's been nothing but the old Stewart since, scoring only one goal since his injury.
The Blues also get an offense heavy Shattenkirk who is having a decent season so far, but far from stellar. Kevin is a minus-8 in the last two games. His defensive play is terrible and his only upside is offense. The Avs are chalked full of offensive D-men and I like this trade because they need a player who will play more D than offense.
Some might wonder why the Avs did this and only see the two promising players, and all though they are both promising players it is a high risk high reward type of trade. The big risk reward is Stewart's laziness that is showing up now, and Shattenkirk's non-existent defense.
This trade is definite high risk high reward for the Blues, and a part of me hopes it busts for them. However, until Kevin and Chris play to their full potential, I see this trade as a winner for the Avs. Eric Johnson is a number 1 defensemen with the potential for being one of the best. The Avs desperately needed a guy who would stay home and be a big body ala Ryan O'Byrne who they picked up from Montreal earlier this season. Ryan has been stellar on a not so stellar defense, and now with Johnson, the Avs get another guy who is big and can be a shutdown sort of guy for them.
The big deal for me is the Avs got a first rounder out of the deal. That adds one more risk reward with the Blues being able to choose what they do. They could decide to keep the first this year if it's a top ten pick, but next year could be an even worse year and lead to a better pick. Do I smell a top 5 pick like Boston got in the Phil Kessel deal?
Overall, I am excited to see what Johnson can bring tonight in San Jose.