(HockeyStL) - The hockey world has been buzzing with rumors for days, but the Blues have finally found closure regarding their hot commodity.
According to multiple reports, the Blues have traded Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Zach Sanford, Brad Malone and draft picks. Goaltender Pheonix Copley is also heading to Washington in the deal, which has been confirmed by the Blues.
Shattenkirk trade has other details but main parts I believe: 1st RD pick in 2017, 2nd RD pick in 2018 and Zach Ranford going to St. Louis— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 28, 2017
Sorry that should be Zach Sanford, my bad on the typo— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 28, 2017
Blues also retained some salary on Shattenkirk in the trade but it's less than 50 percent. Not sure yet of exact percentage.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 28, 2017
Copley, 25, appeared briefly with the Blues in January, but has spent the majority of his season in the minors. The Blues likely felt they could withstand his departure, as the team has other notable prospects at the position, including Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso.
As for the return for St. Louis, the first round pick in the 2017 draft is probably the most significant element of the deal. There are also several conditional picks involved in the trade, one of which would be a second round selection for the Blues in 2019 should the Capitals either resign Shattenkirk or reach this year's Eastern Conference Finals with Shattenkirk playing 50% of the first two rounds.
If that sounds confusing, that's because it is. The other conditions only get more complicated, but you're welcome to scroll through this Twitter thread from Elliotte Friedman, in which he attempts to clear things up.
As for the players heading the Blues' way, Sanford and Malone seem underwhelming compared to the top notch prospects or NHL-caliber contributors Blues fans hoped for. Sanford, a second round pick for Washington back in 2013, has scored two goals with one assist in 26 games this season. A left-handed shooting center, Sanford has bounced between the minors and the Capitals roster in his first season of NHL action. Malone, 27, is a fringe NHL forward and has not played in an NHL game this season.
The deal has been long awaited in hockey circles, as the Blues looked to extract some value out of Shattenkirk, the business asset. Shattenkirk has had leverage over the Blues as the team has sought to deal him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent following this season. Though Shattenkirk had no ability to veto trades that involved him, teams desiring his services have also attempted to secure a contract extension with the new team before the deal is agreed upon–those decisions, of course, have been well within Shattenkirk's rights to refuse.
As the potential return for the Blues would have been far greater if their trade partner could have signed Shattenkirk long-term, this had been a sticking point in previous negotiations, most notably between the Blues and the Lightning. Shattenkirk, however, was under no obligation to sign, and preferred waiting until the summer for his UFA status. He is rumored to be interested in joining the New York Rangers at that time, and it's possible based on the tone of reports out of this process that he would not have accepted an extension with any other organization.
That the Blues' return for Shattenkirk did not include any touted prospects from the Capitals is a reflection of Shattenkirk's status a rental with Washington. Another source of frustration for Blues fans is the fact that the first round pick from Washington is likely to occur late in the round, as Shattenkirk will only improve the title chances for a potent Capitals attack.
The more success Washington enjoys this season and into the playoffs, the less valuable the Blues' draft pick from this trade becomes. Thus is the price of doing business up against the pressure of the trade deadline.
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