Tonight long-frustrated Colorado Avalanche fans got to relive the disastrous Erik Johnson trade tonight as the St. Louis Blues visited Denver.
That was the deal that helped propel the Blues toward perennial contention while keeping the once-mighty Avalanche back in the Western Conference pack.
Back on Feb, 19, 2011, the Blues sent Johnson, checking center Jay McClement and a first-round pick in the ‘11 draft for Kevin Shattenkirk, Chris Stewart and Colorado's 2nd-round pick on that draft.
Wow. The injury-plagued Johnson has just one point in 11 games this season with the Avalanche. He is currently sidelined by a head injury. McClement exited as a free agent and relocated to Toronto, where his penalty-killing skills are greatly appreciated.
Meanwhile Shattenkirk has emerged as one of the NHL’s most productive offensive defensemen. He leads in the NHL in scoring at his position with 14 points in 16 games this season.
After struggling through much of last season, Stewart worked himself into top physical condition for this lockout-shortened season. He has six goals and added six assists in 16 games.
The long view is not better. In 106 games with the Avalanche, Johnson has produced 37 points and a minus-11 rating.
In 123 Blues games, Shattenkirk has produced 74 points and a plus-29 rating. Stewart has 65 points (including 36 goals) in 121 games with the Note.
As for the draft pick swap, we’ll see how much it benefits Colorado. The Avalanche used their pick to select rangy defenseman Duncan Siemens, who appears to offer a nice mix of size and toughness. He could eventually join a strong young defensive corps that could include Stefan Elliott and Tyson Barrie.
The Blues used their pick to take forward Ty Rattie, a prolific (but undersized) Western Hockey League scorer who showed well during the recent World Junior Championships.
Which player will have the better NHL career? Normally we’d bet on the rangy defenseman, but the new NHL does give smallish forward an opportunity to excel.
We’re guessing this deal won’t look much better for Colorado in five years than it does today.