If you're a fan of the Colorado Avalanche, you probably remember February 19, 2011. That night, the Avalanche sent forward Chris Stewart and rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for defenseman Erik Johnson, forward Jay McClement, and the Blues' 2011 first round selection (used to select top defensive prospect Duncan Siemens).
This trade shook the NHL world, as Johnson was a former first overall selection and Shattenkirk and Stewart were two highly regarded young players. It was the first major step towards Colorado rebuilding their roster from small, fast defense into one that currently ranks as one of the largest in the NHL.
These two teams meet at Pepsi Center for the first time this season, and is the first time that Shattenkirk and Stewart will play in Denver wearing a Blues uniform. Shattenkirk is enjoying a sensational year for St. Louis, as his team-leading 12 assists is a big reason the Blues are only one point out of the Central Division lead. Stewart, on the other hand, has struggled with only three goals in 21 games played for the Blues. He has yet to display the offensive explosiveness that St. Louis thought they were acquiring last spring.
This reunion game has lost some of its luster, as Adrian Dater of the Denver Post confirms that Erik Johnson will not be ready to play on Friday night due to a pulled groin. It does, however, ensure that new rookie sensation defenseman Stefan Elliott will play in this contest. Elliott (2nd round, 2009) has scored two goals and an assist in his first three NHL games and has been a catalyst for the scuffling Avalanche. His imminent arrival in the NHL was a major factor in Colorado's decision to include Shattenkirk in that trade with Johnson and so far he has shown to be a potential impact player on the blue line.
Former Avalanche goalie Brian Elliott has been the best netminder in the game this year - he still has yet to allow more than two goals in a start -- but he gets the night off in favor of Jaroslav Halak. Semyon Varlamov was been very good the past week for Colorado and will get another start in net.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT.