The Washington Capitals kept the hockey world up late Monday night by making a trade that brings Kevin Shattenkirk to the team. They are now considered to be the Stanley Cup favourite by many and it makes senses on paper. I do not think that they will win the Stanley cup, however.
Shattenkirk was considered to be the biggest guy on the market going into this year’s trade deadline and he is definitely a very good defencemen. The team that ends up usually winning the Stanley Cup is not the team who gets the big fish at this time of year, though. Looking back just one year, the Pittsburgh Penguins made one notable deal at the deadline for Justin Schultz. I think it is fair to say that Shattenkirk and Schultz cannot be compared. Pittsburgh makes most of their big deals in the summer, such as acquiring Phil Kessel.
The players that make the impact for teams after the deadline are usually the older, role players. Trading for someone who has playoff success in his career is the main option or getting someone who has just been around for a long time. Shattenkirk has played in the playoffs, but it has been with a team that has always struggled at that stage. Now he is going to another team that has continuously struggled in the post-season.
I also do not really see the Capitals being that much better by making this trade. They are already one of the strongest defensive teams in the league, and now they are just adding another body into the already crowded defence pool. They have the best goal differential in the NHL with a 74 differential. They are well on their way to winning their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy and I think they should have just left the team the way it was. Adding Shattenkirk could have a positive impact or it could just affect the chemistry that the team has.
If a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs had made this trade, it would make much more sense in my mind. They are a team that has been weak defensively and he would most certainly help them out. Brian Boyle is the kind of player that Stanley Cup contenders generally go after. He is a depth player who has great leadership qualities on and off the ice, according to former teammates, and he is a perfect depth player.
I am not saying that the Capitals should have gone after Boyle, since they already have pretty good depth down the middle, but a leader and depth player is usually what can make or break a team in the playoffs.
The Capitals are certainly a Stanley Cup contender and they arguably have the best team on paper, but in my opinion, they are going all in on a player who might not make a big of an impact as they are hoping for.