Early thoughts - and praise - for Capitals landing Kevin Shattenkirk
Jaws dropped around the hockey world when news broke that the Washington Capitals landed Kevin Shattenkirk in a blockbuster trade. Heads were then scratched as people tried to make sense of the “conditions” of a conditional second-rounder involved in the move.
With a little time for the smoke to clear and with the assets revealed, here are some scattered thoughts.
PHT will likely cover more of the fallout on Tuesday and beyond, though, so stay tuned.
Brian MacLellan deserves consideration as a top GM
Judging an executive can be really tricky; while a GM of the Year award is easy to justify, it’s also easy to mock. Even the best managers inherit a roster (aside from MacLellan’s predecessor George McPhee, who will build one in Vegas), so you have to credit some successes to the guy who came before.
And, yes, McPhee helped put together a core that includes Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom.
Even so, MacLellan evokes Stan Bowman in masterfully adding tremendous electrons to a fantastic nucleus.
He added Matt Niskanen (and, admittedly, flubbed it with Brooks Orpik) to beef up a defense to help the shrewd hiring of Barry Trotz as head coach. Trotz seems like he’s ending what was a busy procession of shaky bench bosses.
MacLellan really nailed it the next summer, trading for T.J. Oshie and signing Justin Williams to a bargain deal. A year later, the Capitals added a fantastic third-line center option in Lars Eller via a smart trade.
And now this. It’s not clear where Kevin Shattenkirk will fit in the Capitals’ lineup, but either way, he boosts an already formidable group.
Let’s lightning round some other thoughts.
- The Capitals now have a ridiculous group of right-handed shot defensemen. Shattenkirk joins John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, with Tom Gilbert providing some depth support. (It also makes for a blueline heavy on America.)
- Circling back to the MacLellan praise: the price for Shattenkirk really wasn’t that different than what Martin Hanzal cost the Minnesota Wild, was it?
John Chayka looks at return for Kevin Shattenkirk and must be smiling from ear to ear.— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) February 28, 2017
- OK, let’s be honest ... a lot this circles back to congratulating MacLellan. Let’s not forget that in landing Shattenkirk, he also keeps the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and other contenders from getting a dangerous defenseman.
- Scroll down this Japers Rink post for a wide variety of details cementing how strong an addition Shattenkirk really is. There’s a reason PHT argued against trading Shattenkirk during the off-season.
- People get to rehash this moment.
- Scottie Upshall joked about all the one-timers Shattenkirk is primed to set up for Alex Ovechkin ... but he has a point.
- It’s difficult to imagine the Capitals re-signing Shattenkirk, putting continued emphasis on the talk of Washington being in the last season of a “two-year window” to make their greatest push for a Stanley Cup. At the same time, there aren’t a lot of problem contracts beyond Orpik’s in Washington, so the plus side is that MacLellan can also show how he might be Bowman-like in making the right calls in who to bring back. Make no mistake about it, getting Shattenkirk is about now, not later.
- Oh yeah the Capitals also got a nice sneaky bonus in landing Pheonix Copley, who better have the nickname “typo.”
Best team in NHL got best d-man available (& No. 3 goalie) for 1st-round pick in weak draft, Sanford, Malone and confusing conditional pick.— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) February 28, 2017
All things considered, it’s no surprise that the Capitals are excited.
There’s at least a chance Shattenkirk might be able to suit up for Washington as soon as Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but either way, this sure looks like a slam dunk.