After parts of seven seasons in St. Louis, the Blues traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals Monday.
The Blues announced they will acquire Zach Sanford as well as a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional second-round pick. The Blues also picked up forward Brad Malone from Washington in exchange for goaltender Pheonix Copley.
Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post provided his instant reaction to the trade:
Shattenkirk has been among the NHL's most consistent and productive offensive blueliners since breaking into the league with the Colorado Avalanche in 2010-11, but stagnant contract talks forced St. Louis' hand.
The New Rochelle, New York, native is in the final year of his contract at $5.2 million, according to Spotrac.com, and he is in line for a significant raise.
Per Matt Larkin of the Hockey News, Shattenkirk figures to receive a deal comparable to or greater than the one Keith Yandle got last offseason from the Florida Panthers:
Shattenkirk has been the subject of trade talks since during the 2015-16 campaign due to his contract situation, and Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reported on June 21 that the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers were among the teams interested in potentially acquiring him.
The 28-year-old rearguard registered a career-high 14 goals to go along with 44 points last season, but he suffered through some defensive struggles with a career-worst minus-14 rating.
That trend continued during the playoffs, as he put up 11 points in 20 games, but was also a minus-8.
While the poor plus-minus has been an issue again this season with the disappointing Blues, Shattenkirk is producing in a big way with 11 goals and 31 assists in 61 games.
Shattenkirk's greatest value is as a puck-mover and point producer as he has never tallied less than 43 points in a non-lockout season during his NHL career.
Defensemen of his caliber come at a premium in the NHL since scoring is so difficult. Having a blueliner who can join the rush and put the puck in the back of the net is a huge advantage, and Shattenkirk is among the best in that regard.
The Capitals bolstered their playoff and Stanley Cup contending chances significantly with the trade, while St. Louis did well to pick up assets for a player it was unlikely to re-sign. Sanford, 22, has played 26 games in the NHL while totaling three points.
Washington currently leads the NHL with 89 points but postseason disappointments have become common with this organization. The team took a risk since a contract extension with Shattenkirk isn't guaranteed, it should prove to be a smart deal since he adds a different dimension to the defense corps.
If he is able to help bring home a Stanley Cup, it will all be worth it.