Shattenkirk to Caps Strengthens Cup Run; First Look Against NYR Tonight

Opinion Piece by Chris Cleveland

Kevin Shattenkirk to the Caps means it really is Stanley Cup or bust this year. As the trade deadline winds down, the Washington Capitals shocked us all and made what could be the trade that puts them over the top and finally brings the Cup home to DC. The Caps sent their 2017 first round pick, 2018 second round pick, and Zack Sanford to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk.

I know Shattenkirk very well. Actually I am a huge Blackhawks fan as well and they had to deal with Shattenkirk constantly. The guy is a darn good defenseman and has one of the best slap shots I have ever seen. He drove me crazy with the number of goals he has scored on the Hawks and I am super happy he is now with the Caps. Another really appealing thing about him is his ability to create plays and set up his teammates. The part I really like about him though is his age. He is only 27 and can really provide a major boost to the Caps blue line–something that has been lacking in the playoffs . The Mike Weber experiment last year which was a complete failure. This; however, is going to be a totally different story.  As one of the best D in the league, Shattenkirk is going to be one of the key pieces of the Caps cup run this year.

sanford-called-upEven though we did give up a lot for him, like Zach Sanford,  it is going to be worth it in the end if we bring home the Stanley Cup this year. My final reason for liking Shattenkirk is he is a magician on the power play. He has scored so many power play goals against the Hawks from so many different angles and he loves the one timer from the point too. I also don’t think the Caps are done trading yet. I could really see us trading off Stan Galiev and Nate Schdmit together for a depth forward who has won a Cup before. You know, someone like Patrick Sharp? Here is my best guess at what the Caps D pairs will be from as we head to the final run for the Cup:

Carlson Alzner

Niskanen Shattenkirk

Orpik Orlv

Thoughts?? Are you more hopeful now about the Caps getting all the way to the finals this year? Think we need more change?


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Waivers, Laich, and Beagle

The Washington Capitals announced on Saturday that they were placing Brooks Laich, the only player that has been with the team as long as Alexander Ovechkin, on waivers. With the return of center Jay Beagle seemingly around the corner, the Caps are finding they need to free up some room on the team salary cap. If another team picks up Brooks they also pick up the balance of  his $4.5 million contract.

  • The salary cap—the maximum amount a team can spend on player salaries—is a complex calculation of the percentage of earned revenue that is further complicated when adjusting for the value of the Canadian dollar and the Canadian TV market.
  • Roster movement also requires constant adjustment to ensure that the teams stay above the minimum ($52.8 million) and that they don’t bump too close to the maximum or “hard cap” of $71.4 million

Although Laich has been healthy this season, in 59 games he only has one goal and six assists as he centers the fourth line. He hasn’t scored since November 5th against the Boston Bruins. In the past five games Brooks has demonstrated the drive to succeed that he is known for with three shots on goal, two in one game. Despite his efforts and the hopes of Caps fans that this season would be his breakout season, the numbers prove otherwise.

 What‘s the Waivers Thing?

Article 13 of the Collective Barging Agreement (CBA) includes the rules that regulate how a player is moved from the NHL to minor league affiliates. As part of the process a player is first offered to other teams in the NHL before being sent down. Teams have 24 hours to claim a player and if he is not claimed by another team, his team can send him to the minors. Note that a team does not HAVE to send an unclaimed player to the minors. If they don’t sent him send him down after 30 days, he must remain in the NHL.

What About Jay Beagle?

Jay Beagle sustained a hand injury on 30 December 2015 and has been out since. He began working out with the trainers before team practice and joined the team for practice 20 February and was cleared for contact three days later. In the team interviews Saturday he indicated that he was close to returning, perhaps this weekend but certainly this week. He said he is feeling stronger. To bring Jay off of the injured reserve list though means that Washington will need to make room for his salary.

Moving Forward

From a salary cap perspective, in this case, if Brooks isn’t picked up and the Caps decide to send him to Hershey to play with the Bears, the Capitals would free up $950,000. It would give them the ability to acquire a player for whatever gap they believe they have. Add in a little John Carlson on the Long-term injured reserve list for a few weeks, also gives them a bit of freedom on the salary cap, according to Chuck Gormley of CSN. Right now it’s a roster movement game to open the door for the return of Jay Beagle or the acquisition of a new player. And then when Carly is ready, the legal minds at the Caps will have to sort it all out again. Let us not forget additionally after the trade deadline there is not roster limit to how many players a team can carry.