NEW YORK—The NHL-leading Capitals are officially all in.
On Monday night, the team swooped in and snagged the biggest prize available at the trade deadline, acquiring defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley from the Blues in exchange for a 2017 first round pick, prospect Zach Sanford, minor leaguer Brad Malone and conditional pick(s).
The Blues will also retain 39-percent of Shattenkirk’s 4.25 million salary.
Shattenkirk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
In 61 games with the Blues this season, the puck-moving 28-year-old has racked up 11 goals and 31 assists, good for third (tied) and seventh among defensemen, respectively. He also gives the Caps a third right-handed shot on the blue line, joining Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.
The team hopes to have Shattenkirk in the lineup against the Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
“We are excited to welcome Kevin to our organization,” Caps General Manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “We felt it was important to acquire another defenseman to strengthen and add depth to our blue line. Kevin is a skilled, puck moving defenseman who we think will help our team at even strength and on the power play.”
Here’s a breakdown of the conditional pick(s):
- Should the Caps re-sign Shattenkirk to contract that includes the 2017-18 season or should the Caps advance to the third round of this year’s playoffs and Shattenkirk plays in at least 50.0-perceent of the playoff games in the first two rounds, then the Blues will receive the Caps’ second round draft pick in 2019.
- If the Caps trade Shattenkirk on or before July 1, then the Blues receive the Caps’ own next available seventh round draft pick. But if the Caps receive a draft pick in return for Shattenkirk that is a fourth round pick or earlier, then in lieu of the Caps’ next available seventh round draft pick, the Blues get the Caps’ own next available draft pick two rounds later than the earliest draft pick received by the Caps in exchange for Shattenkirk. (For example, if the Caps trade Shattenkirk for a 3rd round draft pick, then the Blues the Caps’ own next available 5th round pick.)
In a sit down interview session last week, MacLellan told reporters that he felt this year’s team was the most complete of the Alex Ovechkin Era. But the general manager also said he felt a responsibility to give Ovi and Co. everything they needed to make a deep run this spring.
“I have to do my job,” MacLellan said. “I have to pursue anything that I think could…make us better. And when we get down to the nitty-gritty, you either say yes or no. And it’s going to be based on what effect it’s going to have on our team.”
The effect, on paper at least, is huge considering Shattenkirk’s ability to make an impact at both ends of the ice.
Shattenkirk is averaging about 20 minutes a game this season but he’s played 22-plus minutes in recent years. He’s also a force on the power play. In fact, he’s tied for second among all defensemen in power play goals (7) and is tied for third in power play assists (20).
The Capitals now have eight NHL defensemen on the roster—and a ninth, Tom Gilbert, in Hershey. Shattenkirk’s arrival will push a regular contributor out of the lineup altogether while relegating another to emergency duty.
Copley, meantime, returns to the Capitals. He was dealt to St. Louis two years ago in the Troy Brouwer for T.J. Oshie swap.
“We are also pleased to welcome Pheonix back to the organization,” MacLellan said. “We feel his addition solidifies our goaltending tandem in Hershey.”
The lone player on the Caps’ roster going the other way—Sanford—opened the season on the Caps’ roster but struggled to produce and was eventually sent to the Bears for some seasoning. The rookie worked his way back to the bigs, however, and was currently enjoying his best stretch in the NHL, having recorded his first two NHL goals earlier this month.
MacLellan is expected to speak to reporters Tuesday morning.
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