By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Not only did Chris Stewart thrive in his new surroundings, Kevin Shattenkirk created his own buzz since being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche. Shattenkirk led all rookie defensemen in points (43) this season and gives the Blues another promising young d-man heading into the future. He's very excited about being here and the prospects of what lies ahead:
Instead of sulking about getting traded as a rookie, wondering why the Avs would give up on you, you made the most of your new challenge. How important was that and were you more appreciative in the fact the Blues wanted you?
You have to look at it as the Blues wanted me. Just in talking to Mr. (Doug) Armstrong, he made it clear that he wanted me to be a part of the trade, and he wouldn't have done it otherwise. That just gives me a lot of confidence coming in. ... I don't think you can look at it as a team not wanting you. That's just the way the business works these days. You can't really hold grudges.
Could you have come into a more better situation and has your abbreviated time here been better than you thought it would be?
I don't think I could have been more fortunate with the situations that I've come into. A young team in Colorado and an injury there allowed me to get called up. Getting traded here, it's kind of the same situation with a lot of young D and spots to fight for. ... It's not like I (went) to the Red Wings or the Blackhawks where they have their defense locked up. It's definitely a great opportunity for me to succeed.
How can you take this solid play down the stretch here and bring it with you into training camp next season?
It's just a matter of confidence and everyone knowing that we can do it. I think that's a key part coming to training camp. Obviously you have that month there to kind of get everything out of the way, get the cobwebs out. I think it's going to be great for us the way we've gelled over the last month.
Most likely, the current roster will not be in tact. Would you like most, if not everyone, to stay on?
You look at the locker room, and you hope no one's gone. With the group of guys we have here now, we have a great team. I think when we come back next year, we're definitely going to be a team that everyone might be underestimating, but soon after the first month or so, they're going to be watching out for us.
What does it say about the character of this locker room that the team is taking these so-called 'meaningless' games seriously?
Having that type of character and that type of drive down the stretch here is going to be big for us down the line and in the next one, two years. It's something that teams win championships on. It's going to be pretty important for us.
As well as you guys played here down the stretch, how can you bridge that gap between a non-playoff team to being on the inside?
It starts with our leaders and I think we have a great group of guys leading our team. They're going to do whatever it takes this summer obviously to get everyone ready. Just the chemistry we have together, the great friendships is something that keeps you together over the summer, keeps everyone motivated and knowing your teammates are doing whatever they can to get ready for next season and you have to pull your way here, too. Down the line here, the next week or so, I'm sure we'll address that as a team. It's going to be fun to see.