Washington Capitals: Capitals Acquire Kevin Shattenkirk in Trade

Jan 12, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) reacts during a NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Blues 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 12, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) reacts during a NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Blues 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Kevin Shattenkirk is a Washington Capital. More than ever, the Capitals are poised to make a run at the Stanley Cup.

Yes, what you’re seeing is true, its not Photoshop. Well, it is, but tonight we’ll see Kevin Shattenkirk officially wearing a Washington Capitals jersey.

Shattenkirk has been at the helm of NHL trade rumors all season long. It was almost certain he’d end up with a fringe-playoff team, looking for a No.1 defenseman.

The Boston Bruins? Makes sense. The New York Rangers? Yeah, okay, I can see it. The top-seeded Washington Capitals? Yeah right, no way.

Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals /

Washington Capitals

Au contraire. Capital’s GM, Brain MacLellan, made a HUGE splash in the trade market late Monday night. If you were asleep, you missed it. Don’t worry, Stars and Sticks has got you covered.

The best defenseman available on the market and arguably the best overall player, is now on the NHL’s best team.

MacLellan spoke earlier in the week on possibly adding a “fringe” defenseman, along with a third goalie. Instead, he went out and got himself a bonafide number one defenseman.

The details of the trade get into some murky, murky waters.

So, we were definitely wrong about Zach Sanford. He is NOT here to stay, in fact he’ll be off to St. Louis along with Brad Malone and a few picks in the next few days.

The NHL’s trade market has been booming as we inch closer to the official deadline. Of the many trades made this week that featured names like Ben Bishop and Martin Hanzal, Shattenkirk’s may have been the most surprising due to the low return.

The package for Shattenkirk (and goaltender Phoenix Copley) was a complicated one. However, it wasn’t nearly the return most would expect for an all-star caliber defenseman in his prime.

In exchange for Shattenkirk and Copley, the Washington Capitals are sending over Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, a first round pick in 2017, and a conditional second round pick in 2019.

That conditional pick is where things get reaaaalllll confusing. So, let’s break it down.

If Shattenkirk resigns with Washington when he is an unrestricted free agent this off-season, St. Louis gets the second round pick.

If the Capitals advance to this years Eastern Conference Finals AND Shattenkirk plays in 50% of the first two rounds, St. Louis gets the second round pick.

So if the Capitals pull a Capitals and choke hard in the playoffs, they’ll retain their second round pick. If it is in fact, however, our year, we’ll see that second round pick in 2019 being shipped off to St. Louis.

Doesn’t seem too complicated right? There’s more though… and it’s way to complicated to put here. We could probably spend a whole day writing about it, but instead you can read the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khursudyan’s thread on the very intricate details here.  

To make the cap situation work, the Blues will also be retaining 39% of Shattenkirk’s salary in the trade.

The Capitals have made it clear, they’re all in this season. Shattenkirk is essentially a rental, as many believe he’ll likely sign with his hometown New York Rangers this off-season.

This is the chance for the Capitals organization to audition for Shattenkirk’s talents. If the Washington Capitals cant in ally win their first Stanley Cup, thanks in major part to Shattenkirk, Washington may be able to win his heart.

How Shattenkirk effects the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup chances.

Last season, MacLellan said that his Capitals had a two year window to win the Stanley Cup. Well, this would be the second and subsequently last year of the window MacLellan set. If there was any player available to push the Capitals over the edge, it would be Kevin Shattenkirk.

There’s no debating that the Washington Capitals were Stanley Cup favorites before this trade. The Shattenkirk trade fills two of the tiny gaps management wanted to address in a big way.

Instead of trading for that third or fourth solid defenseman, who would have slotted right into that position, Shattenkirk comes in at No.1 or No.2 and pushes the rest down.

The Capitals solid defense was able to add one of the NHL’s best without taking anything that would effect the team currently. Sanford’s spot on the team was only temporary while Andre Burakovsky is out with a hand-injury and will likely be replaced with the just as reliable, Jakub Vrana.

In 61 games with St. Louis this season, Shattenkirk has 11 goals and 31 assist for 42 points. Shattenkirk is having a career year offensively, only 3 goals shy of his career high and 5 assists away from another career high in that stat.

His presence on the Capitals star-studded, high-power power-play will be a welcomed addition. His 124 power-play points since 2011 are the second-most of any defenseman. He’ll join the NHL’s 5th best power-play.

Not only are the Capitals acquiring a defenseman who makes them undoubtedly better than what was until now the best, they are also preventing key-contenders from getting any better. The Rangers and Penguins, two of the Capitals most fierce competitors in the Metropolitan Division, were also in the running for Shattenkirk.

The Capitals now put them miles ahead of competition that they were already significantly outpacing. The Rangers and Penguins couldn’t add that No.1 defenseman they needed and the Capitals added one they didn’t necessarily need.

Next: Capital's Oscar Awards

With Shattenkirk on the Capitals, it’s now or never. This year could actually be our year.