The biggest fish available at the 2017 NHL trade deadline finally got moved.
The St. Louis Blues moved on from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk Monday night, trading him to the Washington Capitals, with a first round pick this year, a conditional second round pick next year, and forward prospect Zach Sanford going back. The Capitals also received goalie Pheonix Copley.
The Capitals are getting one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the NHL, at least for the next few months. Rumors swirled on Monday that the Capitals and the Penguins were in a bidding war for Shattenkirk to lock down a defenseman for a playoff run. Pittsburgh, however, didn’t want to pay the high price.
Shattenkirk, 28, will hit free agency July 1 as the best available player on the market. In that sense, trading for Shattenkirk is a bit of a risk for the Capitals, but his pedigree as an impact defenseman is undeniable.
The right-hander put up at least 40 points in five of his seven seasons in St. Louis. Shattenkirk had 11 goals and 42 points before his deadline trade, meaning he’s headed toward a career-best season. His 124 power play points since 2011 are the second-most of any NHL defenseman behind Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson, and he leads all defensemen in the category this season.
As a New York native, it’s been assumed for a long time that Shattenkirk would prefer playing for a team on the East Coast. This trade seems to meet that goal, and could influence whether he decides to re-sign with his new team.
Going back for St. Louis is a pair of draft picks and Sanford, who’s no small piece. The 22-year-old forward has 16 points in 25 games with the Hershey Bears, the Capitals AHL affiliate. The Blues will also retain 50 percent or less of Shattenkirk’s salary, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.