Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan held a conference call Tuesday morning. A lot has happened in Caps nation over the last 13 hours. The biggest news of all? Washington acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk and Pheonix Copley from the Blues in exchange for Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, a 2017 first round pick, and a conditional pick.
GMBM opened the call by saying if there was one guy out there that he was going to pursue to make the team better, it was Shattenkirk. One big factor in landing Shattenkirk was the injury to Matt Niskanen. While there is no setback for Niskanen, it did create a sense of urgency to get to the deal done. Niskanen might play tonight against the Rangers.
The Penguins were also considering landing Shattenkirk, in addition to other teams. MacLellan said the acquisition wasn’t about keeping other teams from getting him, but rather that he’s a good fit for this team.
“He’s a good player. One of the top PP guys in the league, offensive defenseman, breakout passes.. those are his strengths,” MacLellan said.
MacLellan isn’t sure if Shattenkirk will be just a rental for the remainder of this season. He seemed open to the possibility of re-signing him but acknowledged that the Caps have a lot of top free agents.
When you bring in any player, you have to make sure he not only fits the team on the ice, but off the ice as well. MacLellan did his homework and talked with T.J. Oshie and Brooks Orpik to get an idea of what kind of teammate Shattenkirk is. Orpik played with him on the Olympics in 2014 for Team USA while Oshie was teammates with him on the Blues.
Shaaaaaattttini!!!!!!! Welcome to D.C. buddy. Excited to be back together!!! @shattdeuces
— TJ Oshie (@TJOshie77) February 28, 2017
When asked about what would be a successful playoffs for the Capitals, MacLellan had a short but simple answer: “Winning a championship”.
As far as Shattenkirk’s role on the team, the Capitals have 20 games to figure that out before the playoffs begin. MacLellan said he would let the coaches use these games to find where he’ll fit and make a decision.
The Capitals recalled Jakub Vrana and Riley Barber from Hershey this morning. MacLellan said that Vrana will play tonight. Even with Sanford gone, the Capitals GM is still comfortable with the depth moving forward.
Caps GM on moving Sanford – “The plan from the beginning was to have Sanford and Vrana to see what we could use.” #RocktheRed
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 28, 2017
“It’s tough to give up someone like that (Sanford). They (the Blues) pretty much insisted from day one that it was him in the trade. We spent a lot of time developing him.. he’s a good player, a good person. We tried to steer away from him but Blues insisted.”
MacLellan said he felt comfortable with organizational depth to trade a 1st-rd pick, but said it’s up to him to maybe get a pick or two back
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) February 28, 2017
MacLellan doesn’t expect the Caps to be more active ahead of the trade deadline, which ends at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, since the team has minimal cap space.
GMBM concluded the conference call saying Shattenkirk will arrive later today in New York. He will miss the morning skate but he is expected to be in the lineup for tonight’s game.
By Michael Marzzacco