With the trade deadline behind us, most of the writers here declared the Washington Capitals the unequivocal winners. Thanks to the trading of Kevin Shattenkirk, the Capitals have arguably the best defensive corps in the league. Let us break down the terms of the deal as well as the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with it.
Washington gets: Kevin Shattenkirk with the St. Louis Blues eating 39% of his cap hit and Phoenix Copley.
St. Louis gets: Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, a 2017 first round pick, and a conditional 2019 pick. Let TSN’s Bob McKenzie makes the terms understandable for you:
If Shattenkirk re-signs in WSH OR plays 50 per cent of WSH playoff games in 1st 2 rounds and Caps advance to third, STL gets 2019 2nd rder.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 28, 2017
Shattenkirk is a scoring, puck-moving defenseman, who can eat a ton of minutes when necessary. His primary purpose is as a big shot option on the power play. Back when the Caps power play was not clicking I wrote that a defenseman who was a real shot threat should have slotted into the quarterbacking position because it makes the Capitals power play less predictable: defenders would have to prepare for a shot as well as the Ovie Shot From the Ovie Spot. But Shattenkirk’s passing and shooting abilities amplify these options. A great example of this are these shot/passes to Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Vrana.
Jakub Vrana puts the Caps up 1-0 with his third goal of the season. What a pass by @shattdeuces who has assists in four-straight games. pic.twitter.com/3npLKIcuLT
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) March 12, 2017
Also from a managerial perspective, you know the Caps are absolutely going for broke. Brian MacLellan knows this is the second year of his declared two year window, and now there are no more excuses for not winning or getting past the second round.
There is only one really bad thing about this move: Nate Schmidt, Corsi monster and generally smiley guy, is bounced from the line up. Brooks Oprik becomes the teams sixth defenseman and is paired with Shattenkirk. Schmidt’s performance this season has been solid, and he’s been able to bring up Orpik’s play so far (along with sheltered minutes), and maybe Shattenkirk can do the same and this becomes a non-issue. However, in the playoffs, there is no such thing as safe minutes. Orpik has cost the Caps in the playoffs before.
The cap situation Washington will face this offseason is brutal. Adding Shattenkirk to the mix does not help. Per CapFriendly, the Caps will have 6 unrestricted free agents and 6 restricted free agents. This list includes TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, and Karl Alzner. There is no way to sign all of those players, and Shattenkirk puts even more pressure on management.