This will neither come as a surprise nor will I be the first or last person to say it. But, make no mistake: the Washington Capitals are all-in for hockey’s biggest prize. And if that wasn’t clear before, acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk cemented it. The Capitals have scored the third-highest goals in the league, allowed the fewest, and sit atop the entire NHL. Yet, they moved to add arguably the best player available before the trade deadline while giving up significant future assets.
Why? Because their window to win is currently open and it may be the widest it’s ever been. Or, will be in the near future.
For the most part, the Capitals have been a force in the Eastern Conference since the arrival of Alex Ovechkin. That being said, they’ve yet to win a Stanley Cup. And they know that window may begin closing sooner than later. If you have a team as talented as this one, with one of the most prolific scorers the league has ever seen, the organization would be doing itself and its fanbase a disservice to not move all of their chips in.
As NBC Sports noted, this time last season Capitals GM, Brian MacLellan said, “We’re going for it this year, we’re going for it next year and then after that we’re evaluating where we’re at. We’re going to have some decisions to make as far as veteran players, and our young guys are going to be due for some pay raises.”
Last year they won the Presidents Trophy and will likely do so again this year. Last year the team was bounced in the second round of the playoffs, something they’re hoping to avoid this year. Shattenkirk brings a solid offensive game from the back end. He’s fifth among defenseman with 42 points in 62 games this season. He’s been a standout with the St. Louis Blues for most of his career and has played in 47 career playoff games.
Every spring, the team that wins Lord Stanley’s Cup typically has a few common traits. Experience, skill, health, and balance all come to mind. This team is a force, and that won’t change when the playoffs roll around. The only question remaining is whether or not they can exercise their own demons and overcome the pressure and expectations to win it all.