The St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals just completed their second huge trade within the past two years. This time one of the NHL’s best offensive defenseman is on the move to DC. It was widely reported that the St. Louis Blues were shopping the power play specialist for months now. Dating all the way back to last year’s trade deadline, it was also reported that there were multiple trades that were nixed by the pending unrestricted free agent after rejecting multiple extension offers. Just two days before the deadline, arguably the biggest trade of the season has just occurred. Let’s dig into it peice by peice and look at it from every angle; present and future.
Kevin Shattenkirk: Arguably one of the top three offensive defenseman in the league, Shattenkirk can help provide more offense to the 3rd best offense in the NHL. In 61 games played this season, Shattenkirk has 11 goals, 31 assists, and 42 points. His 42 points ranks 4th highest amoung NHL defensemen. Although, with the good comes the bad. Shattenkirk is ranked 247 out of 280 NHL defensemen in +/- rating at -11 on the season. Blues will retain 39% of Shattenkirk’s remaining contract. ($1.6 million)
Pheonix Copley: Copley was also apart of the most recent Blues-Caps trade that sent fan favorite, TJ Oshie to the capital city. Copley has split starts in the AHL season this year. He has posted a 2.31 goals against average, a 0.921 save percentage, and 15 wins in 25 starts.
To St. Louis:
2017 1st round pick
Conditional 2019 2nd round pick: If Shattenkirk re-signs in Washington OR plays 50 percent of Washington’s playoff games in 1st 2 rounds and Capitals advance to Eastern Conference Final, Blues get 2019 2nd round pick.
Conditional pick: Blues receive 7th round pick if Washington trades Shattenkirk on/before July 1st. If the return to Washington is a 4th round pick or better, Blues will get Washington’s pick 2 rounds later. (Example: If Washington trades Shattenkirk for a 3rd round pick on/before July 1st, Blues would get Capitals’ 5th round pick)
Zach Sanford: Sanford is a big 6’4, 200 pound center with a good set of hands and also brings a good two-way game to the ice. He may not be the flashy prospect most were hoping for, but Sanford will add even more size to a future forward core of giants (Sanford 6’4, Thompson 6’5, MacEachern 6’4, Musil 6’3). Looks to be a lock as a potential 3rd liner at the least, with potential to become a top 6 forward.
Brad Malone: Malone is an AHL vet that also has a decent amount of NHL games played in his career. Likely to have a bottom-6 role and provide veteran leadership for the Chicago Wolves.
How this trade effects the present: As I recently told ESPN 101’s own, Dan Bettlach last week, any team in the NHL that loses a player the caliber as Shattenkirk obviously has a decreased chance at winning the Cup. He ranked 2nd on the team in scoring at the time of the trade. Yes, it hurts the Blues, especially losing their quarterback on the powerplay, but on the bright side, there’s still time to improve defensively. As I stated earlier, Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s worst when it comes to +/-. Whoever the replacement may be, whether it’s Robert Bortuzzo or a potential rental defender, the Blues will be better defensively in their own zone. As for Washington, they are easily the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup now. That powerplay could potentially be historic during the playoffs. So many skilled players, Shattenkirk will fit in well with the Caps.
How this trade effects the future: Even though it will be a late pick, the 1st rounder now gives the Blues 2 picks in the top 30 and even in a weak draft class like this year, it’s a huge plus. Whether the Blues draft in the Capitals position, package it in a trade for a player, or package it with more picks/prospects to move up higher in the draft, this is the reason Shattenkirk was dealt; to gain much needed assets to give the franchise endless options in the future. Although it’s conditional, it seems likely the Capitals will reach the Conferece Finals this season, giving the Blues another 2nd round pick in 2019, giving them four 1st round picks and four 2nd round picks within the next three drafts. Just think, that’s 8 very solid prospects in the next 3 seasons. Zach Sanford is a tall two-way Center (although can also play wing) with good hands and shot. He seems like a safe prospect. You likely know what you’re going to get from him, even though there’s still potential to exceed expectations. For all we know, he could range anywhere from a Berglund type to a James Van Riemsdyk type. Also, let’s not forget that Copley was sent back to Washington, giving Ville Husso full time position as the starter for the Chicago Wolves. This is great news, both for the player and team. Husso is capable of catching fire and leading the Wolves to a very deep run in the playoffs like he did last year in the Finnish Elite League (Lost to Patrik Laine in the Finals). As for the Capitals, this is a pure rental trade unless Shattenkirk is extended. To early to tell the chances of him re-signing in DC but as of right now, all signs point to the New York native going home. Basically, if Washington doesn’t win the Cup and doesn’t re-sign Shattenkirk, St. Louis wins this trade by a landslide from a “future effect” outlook.
The Chicago Wolves should be just as happy as the Washingon Capitals because they just added a difference maker in Sanford, and a reliable vet in Malone. This sets them up for a deep playoff run which will be great experience for the young prospects such as Dunn, Blais, Sanford, MacEachern, Bleackley, and Husso. I personally would love to see a Agostino-Sanford-Blais line. Sanford is going to improve the powerplay, as well as the overall offense of the Wolves. If you haven’t watched this team play this season, I highly suggest you do. The rookies are beyond impressive and the team is very entertaining to watch. I’ll try to Periscope a game this weekend so everyone can get their first look at Sanford.
The Blues dealing Shattenkirk doesn’t necisarilly mean they’re throwing up the white flag on this season. In fact, that’s why Doug Armstrong made the trade two days before the deadline, in my opinion. To give him time to aqcuire a rental or two. A few names that could fit as a good replacement include Detroit’s Brendan Smith, New Jersey’s Kyle Quincey, Dallas’ Johnny Oduya, or Buffalo’s Cody Franson or Dmitry Kulikov, just to name a few. I wouldn’t be against adding a rental forward as well. After the injury to Fabbri, the Blues offensive depth seems questionable to hold up in a tough playoff series, particularly the 3rd line. Some rental forwards to keep an eye on include Arizona’s Radim Vrbata, Detroit’s Thomas Vanek, Dallas’ Jiri Hudlr, and Tampa’s Tyler Johnson. The Blues currently have $6.17 million in cap space after the Shattenkirk trade. Plenty to make in impactful trade or two. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of Jaskin ($1 million) or Yakupov ($2.5 million) is moved in a potential deal at the deadline. Good possibility the Blues lose one of them to Vegas in the expansion draft. Also, don’t count out the possibility of the Blues dealing the rights to Vladimir Sobotka. He is post season eligible, however, if he plays a game this season, he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Still would have value, in my opinion. Even though the biggest domino of the trade deadline has fallen, what’s next to fall? Lots of moves still to be made. We’re all in for a fun next 48 hours.
Thanks for reading. Tweet me @The_STG all of your thoughts on the trade and how/if I changed your mind on your original outlook of the trade. Also tweet me any comments and overall thoughts on the story. Respect the Note.