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On Monday evening, the Washington Capitals sent shockwaves around the NHL universe. Two days before the NHL Trade Deadline, the Capitals decided to add more defensive depth to their club.
The Capitals acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues. Here are the trade details:
As @Real_ESPNLeBrun reported, it’s 2017 1st rder, cond’l 2018 2nd rder, Zach Sanford to STL for Kevin Shattenkirk. STL retains some salary.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 28, 2017
Some are wondering if it was a steep price to pay for a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent. The Capitals surrendered two high draft picks and young forward prospect Zach Sanford.
UPDATED SHATTENKIRK TRADE
Official: Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley for Zach Sanford and Brad Malone, 2017 first-round pick and a conditional pick.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) February 28, 2017
Shattenkirk, 28, was in the trade rumor mill for well over a year. The Blues tried to re-sign him and keep him in the fold, and they even attempted to do a sign-and-trade deal with him, but he nixed that. The New Rochelle, NY native has 11 goals and 42 points in 61 games with the Blues this year. He has recorded 4 straight 40+ point seasons.
DID THE CAPITALS GIVE UP TOO MUCH?
With recent injuries to Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, there is no surprise that Capitals GM Brian MacLellan wanted to add some more insurance to the blueline.
Brian MacLellan has repeatedly said that the Capitals window to win the Cup is now. The Capitals will look a bit different next season, as they have plenty of tough decisions to make with many of their key players. While Shattenkirk will likely be a pure rental player for the Capitals, he will add some much-needed insurance to the back-end. Last week, Brian MacLellan said that he would also like to get a 3rd goalie, and was able to get goaltender Phoenix Copley back in the Capitals organization in this trade.
If the Capitals were to go to the Stanley Cup Final, the 1st and 2nd round picks that were surrendered to the St. Louis Blues would become late round picks. In regards to Zach Sanford, the jury is still out on him with his development as a player. The 22-year old recorded 2 goals and 3 points in 26 games with the Capitals this season.
Sanford is not considered to be the Capitals most highly touted prospect, but he has shown glimpses of good play in recent games. The Capitals prospect pool is not deep, but they are not thin either.
While the multiple pieces in this trade deal seems like a lot, it is a low-cost to pay for a team that is in win-now mode. The Capitals have gotten banged up on the blueline over the past few weeks, so it understandable that the club wants to add some insurance.
Shattenkirk is a reliable powerplay quarterback, which will only make the Capitals an even more dangerous team. Even though he will likely be a Capital for a few months, he will provide a needed scoring boost from the blueline. Shattenkirk is a quality puck moving defenseman that is able to push the puck up the ice quickly from the defensive zone.
The Capitals are one of the deepest clubs in the league right now, and they have only added to their depth. Brian MacLellan made a smart move, without subtracting any of the Capitals core pieces which are already in place. In addition, the Capitals likely prevented one of their main rivals from acquiring Shattenkirk. The Penguins and Rangers were two teams that were mentioned for his services, and that would have only hurt the Capitals if he ended up with either of those two clubs.
If the Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 2017, is sacrificing a couple of high picks and a prospect worth it? For any diehard Capitals fan that has experienced all of the previous failures, winning the Stanley Cup would be the most satisfying thing that could happen this spring.
By: George Foussekis