After all the speculation, all the rumors, and all they hype surrounding the Kevin Shattenkirk sweepstakes, it has come to an end to tonight in the worst possible way for Rangers fans. When the St. Louis Blues came into Madison Square Garden back on November 1st, I commented that it would be Shattenkirk’s last game in New York until February 28th, when the Washington Capitals came to town.
As it turns out, that remark ended up becoming reality, just not in the way much of the Blueshirt faithful would have hoped. The Washington Capitals, currently in first place in the Metropolitan Divison, Eastern Conference, and the entire National Hockey League, have pulled of a blockbuster trade for the St. Louis Blues defenseman:
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
While there are some details to be ironed out as of right now, the trade is shaping up to be a favorable one for the Capitals. A 1st Round Pick (which is likely going to be anywhere from the mid-20’s to #30) in this year’s draft, a conditional 2nd Round Pick in the 2018 draft, and forward Zach Sanford (2-1-3 in 26 NHL games this season, 11-5-16 in 25 AHL games) is a reasonable price to pay for the grand prize of the trade deadline. For comparison’s sake, that would be similar a “B” prospect like Adam Tambellini or Ryan Gropp in the Rangers’ system.
With Shattenkirk on board, the Capitals have firmly established themselves as the top competitor to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference playoffs. And with both the Penguins and Capitals engaging in something of an arms race to earn the right to represent the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference Finals, it becomes more prudent with each passing day for the Rangers to do everything in their to slide into the first Wild Card position and cross over to the Atlantic Divison side of the bracket.
So with Kevin Shattenkirk off the board, what can the Rangers do at this point? Brendan Smith is still an option, as are other mid-tier rentals like Buffalo’s Cody Franson. Jeff Gorton could look to bolster the forward corps with a veteran scorer like Shane Doan or Jarome Iginla, but that could only compound New York’s logjam of forwards. Time will tell what the Rangers do, but with less than two days to go until the deadline, and the major prize off the board, the team is running out of options.
Thoughts? Comments? A eulogy for the 2016-17 Rangers?