WASHINGTON — The Capitals shook up the hockey world late Monday night by making a blockbuster trade for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.
Shattenkirk, in the final season of a four-year contract, might be a rental, but he’s one of the league’s best defensemen and is having a stellar season, with 11 goals and 31 assists through 61 games. He’s just three points away from tying his career high for a season, and he’s already tied his career high in power play goals.
Neil Greenberg, of The Washington Post and co-host of “Crashing The Net” on 106.7 The Fan, says the trade symbolizes something big for the organization.
“Shattenkirk is one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL,” Greenberg told The Sports Junkies Tuesday morning. “He’s good in transition, he’s quick, he’s good with the puck, he’s really great on the power play. He was the second leading scorer on the Blues … This is the move a championship team makes. I think it was just as important for Washington to get him as it was to keep him from the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers, two teams that they’re gonna probably have to go through in the playoffs, two teams that also had interest.
“The Caps were the Cup favorites before the trade, and they have to be even more of a favorite now. Everything was going right for them, and they add a guy like Shattenkirk, and it’s pretty remarkable, but give credit to the organization for going all in.”
It seems the Capitals are referenced as a championship caliber team every year, but they constantly fail to live up to their incredibly lofty expectations. But this season, the front office has made it perfectly clear its going “all in,” as defenseman Karl Alzner told the Junkies later Tuesday morning.
Even Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told reporters on a conference call Tuesday morning that the only thing that qualify as success in the postseason this year is a championship.
Everybody seems to be in agreement: The Capitals are making a run for a title, and anything less would be a disappointment.