(Reuters) - The Washington Capitals made a huge statement in their pursuit of a first Stanley Cup by adding highly prized defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

Washington sent a 2017 first-round pick, a conditional second-round pick, rookie forward Zach Sanford and journeyman forward Brad Malone in exchange for Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley.

Shattenkirk, 28, led the Blues with 31 assists and ranked second on the team with 42 points. He will be a free agent after the season.

"We are excited to welcome Kevin to our organization,” Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement.


"We felt it was important to acquire another defenseman to strengthen and add depth to our blue line. Kevin is a skilled, puck-moving defenseman who we think will help our team at even strength and on the power play.”

In seven NHL seasons (471 games), Shattenkirk has 66 goals and 218 assists.

The NHL-leading Capitals, who already allow the fewest goals in the league, are hoping the addition of Shattenkirk will help them end a string of playoff failures, including last season when they won the Presidents’ Trophy only to fall to Pittsburgh in the second round.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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