Kevin Shattenkirk’s brief stint with the Washington Capitals has now officially come to an end. Considered the biggest trade deadline target in February, Shattenkirk was also the top free agent defenseman this summer and cashed in, reportedly signing a four-year deal worth $26 million with the New York Rangers.
Shattenkirk 4 years x $6.65— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 1, 2017
After trying to shore up the defense with minor trades the last two years with Tim Gleason and Mike Weber, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan decided to swing for the fences last season by acquiring the top blue line target in a trade deadline deal. In February, he traded for Shattenkirk, 28, and goalie prospect Pheonix Copley in exchange for Zach Sanford, Brad Malone, a first-round pick and conditional picks.
That’s a steep price to pay for a player whose career in Washington consisted of only 32 total regular season and playoffs games. But, as someone expected to be highly sought-after as a free agent, Shattenkirk was always expected to be a rental player.
Shattenkirk brought defensive depth and shot balance to the team’s defense as a right-handed shot, but seemed to struggle adjusting to his new team. Despite being one of the top pending free agents, he played on Washington’s third pair alongside Brooks Orpik. He is now just the latest example of a trade deadline acquisition to struggle with the late-season transition to a new team. Judging from his new contract, however, his postseason performance with the Caps did not affect his stock across the rest of the league. Now he heads to New York with a raise and a much bigger role.