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Report: Kevin Shattenkirk signs with the New York Rangers

Report: Kevin Shattenkirk signs with the New York Rangers

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. 

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.

[RELATED: JUSTIN WILLIAMS IS RETURNING TO THE HURRICANES]

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.

[RELATED: YOUR GUIDE TO ALL THINGS FREE AGENCY FOR THE CAPS]

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Capitals Draft Tracker

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: 

6th round, 186th overall: 

7th round, 217th overall: 

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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

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USA TODAY Sports

GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

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