Erik Johnson: St. Louis Blues Deal Away Top D-Man To Colorado Avalanche

Michael WagenknechtContributor IFebruary 19, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 11: Erik Johnson #6 of the St. Louis Blues moves the puck up the ice against the Minnesota Wild at the Scottrade Center on February 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Wild won 5-4 in a shootout.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The St. Louis Blues pulled off the most shocking trade of the season last night, shipping top overall pick Erik Johnson to Colorado. The deal also included Jay McClement and a conditional first round pick for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and a conditional second round pick.

Johnson was the Blues and the NHL’s top pick in the 2006 draft and looked to be well on his way to being the Blues cornerstone defenseman of the future until that little golfing accident came along.

Since then EJ’s confidence in himself has lacked in games and his mistakes have been more frequent then one would expect. EJ has the skills to be a top flight defender and has offensive potential, but his lack of focus sometimes is what made him a liability to this team.

Jay McClement was the Blues stalwart PK man since the departure of Ryan Johnson. His solid two way play would put him into the Selke talk if it wasn’t all about the points and more about the play. Colorado is getting a defensive forward who won’t make himself look silly.

Coming back the Blues way is noted Blues killer Chris Stewart. Stewart was the Ave’s top point scorer last season with 64 points and was well on his way to leading the team again. A broken hand suffered in a fight against Minnesota put a damper on his season though.

Leading up to that fight Stewart had 11 goals and 14 assists, since his return on January 14th he has two goals and three assists. The Blues hope he is just finding his legs again and will put up some large numbers.

Stewart is in the mold of David Backes, a big physical forward who crashes the net and has no problem dropping the gloves. He has that rare ability of size and soft hands which enable him to put the puck in the net more often than expected.

Kevin Shattenkirk was Colorado’s first round pick in the 2007 draft and has had a standout year so far. He is second in rookie defensemen scoring with 26 points and has more goals then EJ this season, seven to five.

Shattenkirk is another young mobile defenseman being added to an already stocked stable in the Blues system.

Fans on both sides feel like they have been robbed in this deal which only makes it look more and more like a win for both teams. The Blues needed offensive and dealt from a position of strength in the defense, while Colorado had a plethora of scoring and needed that big young blue liner to anchor their defense.

It may take a few years to know who won this trade bu we won’t have to wait long to see what it will look like as the Blues and Aves play on Tuesday night in St. Louis.