The Washington Capitals have acquired Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues.
Shattenkirk was by far the top asset on the board heading into Wednesday’s NHL Trade Deadline, and this deal will leave general managers across the league filled with envy.
The Capitals sent the team’s 2017 1st-round pick, forwards Zach Sanford and Brad Malone and conditional picks in exchange for the 28-year-old defenseman and goalie prospect Pheonix Copley. Copley was sent to St. Louis in the teams’ trade involving T.J. Oshie a few summers ago but will return to the Washington organization (most likely to serve as Braden Holtby’s backup next season in case Philipp Grubauer is selected in the expansion draft). The Blues also will retain 39 percent of Shattenkirk’s salary.
The conditions surrounding the picks are quite complicated. Here are the details, according to hockey analyst Elliotte Friedman:
Conditions on Picks in Shattenkirk Trade
- If the Capitals re-sign Shattenkirk OR advance to the Eastern Conference Final AND Shattenkirk plays in 50 percent of the games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Blues receive Washington’s 2019 2nd-round pick
- If Washington trades Shattenkirk on or before July 1, the Blues receive a 7th-round draft pick, UNLESS the Capitals receive a 4th-round pick or better, in which case…
- …Instead of a 7th-round pick, the Blues receive the Capitals’ next available pick two rounds later than the highest pick received by the Capitals. For example, if the Capitals receive a 4th-round pick in exchange for Shattenkirk on/before July 1, the Blues would receive a 6th-round pick. If the Capitals receive a 3rd-round pick, the Blues receive the Capitals’ 5th-round pick
Essentially, these conditions are in place to make sure that St. Louis continues to benefit from the trade as Washington benefits. It’s extra insurance on the deal, especially since the Blues traded him as a rental and did not receive as much as they would have had Shattenkirk agreed to sign an extension with another club.
For example, he shot down a deal that would have sent him to Tampa Bay because he turned down a seven-year, $42 million contract extension offered by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman. It has been well reported that Shattenkirk intends to hit free agency regardless of his trade deadline destination, which is what forced St. Louis to give him up as a rental in the end.
Even if Washington ends up having to give up a 2nd and a 3rd in addition to the 2017 1st, this trade is a hands-down steal for the playoff-bound club.
Putting it simply, Shattenkirk is a premier puck-moving defenseman every NHL roster wants to feature. It is mighty impressive that the Washington Capitals were able to process a move of this magnitude, especially under the noses of many other interested teams.
Washington is considered by many to be one of the NHL’s most complete teams at this point. The Caps sit at the top of the league standings with 89 points and 21 games remaining. They are once again considered one of the Stanley Cup favorites headed into the final stretch of the regular-season.
Shattenkirk currently sits fourth among defensemen in points with 42 and third among defensemen in power-play points with 20 through 62 games. His transition game will be a welcomed addition to the Capitals’ system.
It is likely Shattenkirk will be the highest-priced free agent this summer. However, the Capitals are clearly going for it this year, and this is a small price to pay for someone as gifted as Kevin Shattenkirk.
The cherry on top is that the acquisition also prevents teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, two Metropolitan Division heavyweights, from bolstering their respective lineups with the biggest rental prize on the market.
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