Since deciding they would need to deal veteran defenseman Kevin Shattnkirk rather than risk losing him for nothing as a free agent, the St. Louis Blues worked hard to find a team with whom the blue liner would agree to a long term extension and thus be able to extract top value from their asset via trade. Deals evidently fell through with Edmonton and Tampa Bay, however, due to Shattenkirk’s preference to test unrestricted free agency. Ultimately the Blues caved and marketed Shattenkirk as a rental, agreeing to send him to Washington for a fair return, though likely not as high a price as they originally hoped to secure.
But according to Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post, the idea of Shattenkirk representing only a rental may be a bit premature. The scribe notes that both sides would be open to the blue liner remaining with the Capitals beyond the 2016-17 postseason. However, as Khurshudyan also points out, the team has several other potential free agents that would likely take priority over re-signing Shattenkirk, who may be more of a luxury to the Caps than a vital cog. With $51MM already committed to the 2017-18 salary cap, it’s far more likely the team will focus their limited resources on bringing back potential UFA’s T.J. Oshie and Karl Alzner, while also working out an long-term extension with talented center Evgeny Kuznetsov. Those deals would easily eat up most of the Capitals available space, leaving it nearly impossible for them to also fit Shattenkirk in under the cap barring a surprising trade to clear salary elsewhere.
More from the Metro:
- The New York Rangers, another team believed to have been interested in the aforementioned Shattenkirk, instead opted to shop in the second tier market, coming away with the solid, if unspectacular Brendan Smith at the deadline. It’s unclear whether the Blueshirts have enough talent to seriously contend for a Stanley Cup in a conference that includes the Capitals, Penguins and Blue Jackets, any one of whom has a decent shot to come out of the East. But one prominent former player thinks the team’s speed, skill and depth is enough to launch the Rangers into Stanley Cup contention. Justin Terranova of the New York Post spoke with former Blueshirts team captain Dave Maloney, and the MSG analyst contends the team is a far cry better than the one that flamed out in round one of last season’s playoffs and is good enough to win it all in 2017. He cites the changes made in how the team plays in their own end as a major difference between this year’s Rangers and last season’s edition. Maloney also adds that bringing in Smith addressed a team need and that while the blue liner hasn’t lived up to his billing as a former first-round pick, his size, mobility and familiarity with Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan, former teammates of his at the University of Wisconsin, make him a strong fit on the team’s back end. It remains to be seen whether the Rangers defense corps is good enough to slow down teams like Washington and Pittsburgh come playoff time, even after the addition of Smith.
- While deadline day disappointed many given the lack of high profile deals, anyone who needs a refresher that often times less significant swaps turn out to ultimately have more impact than the blockbusters need look no further than Pittsburgh’s Justin Schultz. The defenseman entered the league with high expectations after a stellar college career, but Schultz struggled in three-plus seasons with Edmonton before a deadline deal to Pittsburgh just one year ago helped resurrect his career. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that the 26-year-old blue liner last night broke the 40-point plateau for the first time and may now be well on his way to scoring a lucrative multiyear extension as a restricted free agent this summer. Twelve months ago, in search of some skill and depth on the blue line, the Penguins shipped a third-round pick to Edmonton for Schultz and the former Wisconsin Badger ended up playing a significant role in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup championship. Now with 10 goals and 41 points on the season, he is among the league’s top offensive threats from the back end and may be in line for a huge raise over the $1.4MM salary he currently makes. Not bad for a relatively inconsequential trade deadline acquisition one year ago.