The St. Louis Blues finally found a home for Kevin Shattenkirk, trading the defenceman and goalie Phoenix Copley to the Washington Capitals on Monday in exchange for Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, a first-round pick for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and a few conditional picks.
It’s a big price to pay for Shattenkirk, but Shattenkirk is a big piece of the puzzle and was arguably the biggest name available ahead of tomorrow’s trade deadline.
“We felt it was important to acquire another defenceman to strengthen and add depth to our blue line,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday night. “Kevin is a skilled, puck moving defenseman who we think will help our team at even strength and on the power play.”
Shattenkirk is in the final year of a four-year contract worth $17 million. The Blues will retain 39 percent of his salary and associated bonuses.
Shattenkirk will become an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, which is where the conditional picks come into play.
If the Capitals are able to sign him or if they advance to the Eastern Conference Final and Shattenkirk plays in at least half the games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Blues will receive Washington’s second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
But wait, there’s more.
If the Capitals trade Shattenkirk before he hits free agency, the Blues will receive the next available seventh-round pick. If the Capitals, in their hypothetical trading of the defenceman, snag a draft pick that is a fourth-rounder or better, St. Louis will receive Washington’s next available pick two rounds later than the earlier pick received by the Capitals in their trading of Shattenkirk.
Got all that?
The main point here is that Washington receives an upgrade on defence for a mess of possibilities, but it could all be worth it if they can land hockey’s ultimate prize for a change. They believe that Shattenkirk gives their top four a significant boost and they’re right, especially after they snagged him away from a divisional rival like the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Rangers.
As recently as Sunday, the blueliner’s destination was a mystery and multiple teams were in the hunt. The issue was that Shattenkirk was refusing to sign an extension with a prospected team, which may or may not impact how the Capitals operate going forward. If he proves prickly when it comes to signing on in Washington, the Blues stand to benefit a fair bit on this deal.